Goalkeeper Richard Wright has left League One side Preston North End just six days after signing on the dotted line at Deepdale, without having made a single appearance for the side. Wright had agreed to join Preston in May after being released by Ipswich Town, but after moving to Lancashire last week, the 34-year-old found living without his young family too difficult to overcome.
Former Arsenal custodian Wright had looked to be an excellent signing for Preston, with club chairman Peter Risdale saying “Richard’s qualities and extensive top-level experience will add a vital ingredient to our squad. He has won major honours at the top level and represented his country. That sort of knowledge and will to win will be an excellent addition to a squad that is starting to take shape nicely.”
Unfortunately, the former England international, who won 2 caps for his country at the turn of the century, failed to settle in his new surroundings, and unable to uproot his family, decided to leave before the season began to give Preston manager Graham Westley plenty of time to find a replacement.
Wright has played just three league games in the last two seasons, and after leaving Preston, his career is once more shrouded in doubt. The goalkeeper was released by hometown club Ipswich in May, and could be forced to drop through the English divisions to find a suitably-located club.
Recognising the potential reaction to his decision, Wright told Preston’s official website: “It might seem somewhat dramatic, but I have only been away from my home in East Anglia for a few days and I know already that I simply cannot live that far away from my family. I have children settled in school, so moving isn’t an option. I think it is only fair to be honest now rather than down the line when the club may not be able to solve the problem that I am creating.”
Thankfully for Richard, Lilywhites chief Westley was understanding of the situation: “It takes a brave man to be honest in a difficult situation like this. Richard thought that he could handle the separations from his family, but he has found it too much. “He is a good man and I wish him well on behalf of all at PNE.”
Westley has since announced that he has resurrected talks with other goalkeepers who had interested Preston prior to Wright’s signing. German stopper Thorsten Stuckmann, Preston’s Player of the Year in 2011-12, is currently the only goalkeeper on the club’s books.