Bernie Wright



By 1972 the wheels were coming off Harry Catterick's glory team of the 1960s. Catterick himself was in ill-health, the team were under-performing and nobody could score goals. In February of that year we played Walsall in the FA Cup. We won 2-1 but the Midlander's centre-forward caught the eye of someone at Goodison and - so the story goes - with Catterick in hospital, trainer Harry Cooke signed the player.

Step forward our saviour Bernie Wright. There was only one problem. He was dreadful.
He played 7 games that season (plus one as sub) and scored a solitary goal. He managed one more goal the next season in 3 more starts.
But it wasn't just his total lack of ability that captured the imagination - there was also his appearance and personality. He was quite simply a very large scary-looking nutter with big hair.

He frightened not only his opponents but his team-mates and managerial staff as well.
There are loads of stories about him. A brave diving header against Sheffield Utd saw him kicked in the head. He brushed himself off and got on with the game but Eddie Colquhoun, the offending centre-half, had to go off with a broken toe. On being told that he'd been dropped for a game, he chased coach Stewart Imlach around the training ground whilst Catterick locked himself in his car. He turned up drunk for training just before Christmas 1972 and then disappeared until just before the new year. This last misdemeanour was one too many and after only 11 months at the club he had his contract terminated.

He ended up back at Walsall before bizarrely, in later life, qualifying as a referee. Y
ou couldn't make it up.

The stats:

  
 League
Total
  
Starts
Subs
Gls
Starts
Subs
Gls
1971-72
7
1
1
7
1
1
1972-73
3
0
1
3
0
1
 Total
10
1
2
10
1
2