Supermac Gave Wright His Chance!

Last updated : 11 November 2009 By Footy Mad - Editor

Malcolm Macdonald: "Derek (who has been at Newcastle 25 years) was an apprentice at Arsenal in '76, and they felt he wasn't going to make it.

"He went to York, where he got a nasty injury which stopped him playing on a regular basis.

"He went off to Sheffield University, and I became manager of Fulham, some four years after first having met him.

"I hadn't been there very long when my physio John Clinkard said he was leaving for Everton.

"I was never one for wanting to hold people back if they wanted to further their careers, and I said, 'All the best'.

"I phoned Fred Street at Arsenal, who I'd got to know extremely well.

He said, 'You won't believe this – just a moment ago I put the phone down having spoken to an apprentice who you were at Arsenal with.

"He's just finished a three-year intensive course, and passed with flying colours'.

"I said there was a job at Fulham for him, and later that afternoon he walked in, having got the train from Sheffield.

"He started the next day. That told me how keen he was, and that's one quality you need to do the job. It's absolutely vital the job's done the right way.

"I had reduced the playing staff that much to get the costs down that we registered Derek as a player, and he often turned out for the reserves.

"If anyone got injured, he would run across for his bag, and then run on again to treat him!

"He's a tremendous physio because he understood football and footballers.

"A physio is like an agony aunt or confidant to players, and, as a manager, I learned never to ask a phyiso too many questions. Derek was hugely popular at Fulham."