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Wright: An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

Returning to Pompey a simple choice for new academy recruitment chief

6 February 2018

Dave Wright hoped to become a first team player for Pompey after progressing through the youth set-up.

Unfortunately, injury wrecked his chance of becoming a professional footballer, although he later returned to Fratton Park in a coaching role.

Wright has since made a name for himself in the world of academy football, including during a successful six years at Stoke.

But the chance to return to his hometown club to concentrate on the recruitment of young players was an opportunity that he found impossible to turn down.

“I’m over the moon to be back here,” said Wright. “It’s something that I didn’t think would ever happen, so I’m delighted.

“Sitting down with Mark Catlin, Mark Kelly, Kenny Jackett and hearing messages from the owners about their long-term vision for the club, it was too good an offer to refuse.

“Stoke had just got into the Premier League when I arrived there and, like here, they wanted to focus on youth development.

“Out of nowhere they decided they wanted to be a Category One club, so there was an awful lot of work to do in a short space of time.

"There aren’t many clubs that could have dragged me away from what I was doing, but I have an affinity with Pompey."

Dave Wright

“But we achieved that and managed to keep hold of that status a few years further down the line.

“I then went to the other side and became an academy auditor, going round to other clubs and being part of the categorisation process, overseeing their youth set-ups.

“I’ve now seen nearly every academy structure in the country and how they all operate at different levels, which was really interesting.

“I was based from home for that job, so there was nothing really keeping my family in Stoke and we decided to relocate back to the south, where we’re originally from.

“The club knew I was back in the area and following the departure of Mikey Harris, things moved on from there.

“They had decided that there was already plenty of experience on the coaching side and instead someone with a different skillset was required.

“Mark Kelly wanted to be freed up to do more coaching, but to do that he needed someone on the operational side.

“Getting the recruitment structure sorted is something the owners and management team are looking to do thoroughly, so I was approached and it went from there.

“I must say that there aren’t many clubs that could have dragged me away from what I was doing, but I have an affinity with Pompey and know what can be achieved here.”

Wright is confident that the Blues can hold their own in a competitive market when looking to recruit local players.

He said: “Pompey have been a victim of financial problems in the past and other predatory clubs have come into the area.

“They’ve had it all their own way for quite some time now, so it’s time that we started to fight back.”

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