The big interview: ‘It’s been a whirlwind last year’ – Colchester United’s David Wright
- Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd
David Wright will never forget the 2015-16 season.
He had ended the previous campaign coaching the under-14s at Ipswich, before moving along the A12 to take on a full-time post at Colchester United, taking on the dual-role of managing the U’s under-18s and also feeder club Maldon & Tiptree.
His season kicked off with Maldon & Tipree earning a low-key 2-1 win at Phoenix Sports, in a Ryman North clash.
But instead of bedding down with the Jammers and also the U’s under-18s for the rest of the season, Wright suddenly found himself thrust into the first-team environment as the No. 2 to Kevin Keen, when the latter was appointed to the hot seat, just four days before Christmas.
And now, less than four months later, Wright suddenly finds himself in the role of leading out the U’s first team, as caretaker manager, for today’s penultimate match of the season at promotion-chasing Barnsley.
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The U’s were officially relegated last weekend, following a 3-0 home defeat to Burton Albion, and Keen left the club on Tuesday, leaving Wright to take over until the end of the season.
Now the 35-year-old former Ipswich Town stalwart, who was also on the books of Crewe, Wigan, Crystal Palace and finally the U’s during a fine playing career, will be staying in charge for the next two weeks, to oversee the last two games, before considering his options over the summer.
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And Wright could certainly be a strong contender, if not the favourite, to take on the job on a permanent basis for what will be the Essex club’s first season back in the fourth tier for 18 years.
“It’s been a whirlwind last year for me, but I’ve really enjoyed it,” explained Wright.
Wright continued: “We’ll have to see whether it’s a job I want to do in the long run. We will have to see.
“But I’ve probably had the craziest year of all coaches.
“This time last year I was under-14s coach at Ipswich. I came in here full-time, did the Maldon project and worked with the under-21s, and then the assistant manager’s role, so personally it has been quite a crazy year for me.
“Now it’s a case of seeing these next two weeks out.
“I’ve told the players I’m not letting this season fizzle out. Yes, we have been relegated, but I’m not going to let it fizzle out. We want to go to Barnsley and perform.
“I believe you finish a season strongly and then bounce straight back into next year. It’s very important we do that.
“I’ll then take stock in the summer and see what happens.”
Wright was as surprised as anyone, when Keen left the club by mutual consent on Tuesday, after just 127 days in charge.
The U’s may have been relegated, to end a dismal season, but there was no suggestion that the 49-year-old was about to part company with the Essex outfit.
Indeed, he had been talking about his hopes and plans for the summer, and into next season, before Tuesday’s bombshell left the U’s in a state of limbo, once again.
“I’ve been really surprised with what has happened over the last 48 hours,” admitted Wright.
“I didn’t see it coming at all. I came in on Monday and Kevin (Keen) went across to watch the under-21s play at QPR.
“It was generally a normal week, and then on Tuesday the news broke, which is when I found out.
“It wasn’t something on his mind after the game on Saturday. I certainly never got that impression.
“In the end, Kevin just came in and told me he was leaving. It was as simple as that.”
Wright continued: “I’ll get the next two weeks out of the way, and then speak to Robbie (Cowling) to see what direction he wants to go in, and then see where I fit into that.”