Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Tommy took risk when he didn't follow Lomas to Millwall

Tommy Wright admitted that he was taking a gamble when he turned down the opportunity to join Steve Lomas at Millwall – despite being asked four times to follow his former international team-mate.

Now, however, he has hit the jackpot after being appointed as Lomas' successor at St Johnstone.

The pair had worked together at McDairmid Park for the last two-and-a-half years and Lomas had wanted their successful partnership to continue in London, but the move didn't interest Wright, even though he could have ended up unemployed.

"I'd have been happy to continue as a number two and Steve asked me four times to go to Millwall with him, but there were various reasons why I decided not to go," said Wright.

"I suppose I was taking a chance on whether I would get the job at St Johnstone and I could have been out of work, but you have to make decisions and make the right ones and I had decided that going to Millwall wasn't the right move for me.

"If a new manager had come in at St Johnstone he may not have wanted me, but I was still under contract and the kind of club they are and the kind of people who run the club, I think they would have done things in the right way.

"I don't need to find that out now as I have got the job and it's an exciting challenge for me."

Wright's first match in charge of the Saints will be a Europa League encounter in mid-July; the opponents will be known when the the draw is made in a fortnight.

He is hoping for a better outcome than a year ago when St Johnstone's interest in Europe ended after just one round as they suffered a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Turkish side Eskisehirspor.

"Europe was a good experience for us and one that the fans loved as well," said Wright.

"What we didn't enjoy was the result, but we have all learned from it and we will be better equipped this time around and hopefully get a wee bit of luck in the draw."

Wright's appointment throws his position in the Northern Ireland coaching set-up into doubt.

He has worked as goalkeeping coach since being brought on-board by Michael O'Neill – another of his ex-international colleagues – when he became Northern Ireland manager at the start of last year.

It remains to be seen if Wright is able to continue in the role.

"I will have to discuss that with Michael," said Wright.

"I have my own ideas about that and I speak to Michael over the course of the next few days to see what he thinks about the situation."

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