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Sir Bob's tribute to Peter Wright

October 25, 2012 1:18 PM

Peter Wright, and his brother John, were talented sportsmen who excelled in football and cricket respectively. I first knew them when, as young men living with their parents in Nayland Road, Mile End, I was living a few doors away with my parents. Local lads like me all looked up to them.

The brothers were former pupils at Myland Primary School, a decade or more ahead of my time. When I first became aware of Peter Wright he was already starring for Colchester United. People in Mile End were mightily proud of "our" Peter. He was good enough to play in the top flight of English football but chose to stay with his home town club.

I have fond memories of Peter as a very fast left winger - a part-time professional while working with Paxmans. He could turn a defender inside out. Not bad for someone whose eyesight was too poor for him to do National Service! He wore contact lenses for football, and I remember an occasion when he lost one during the game. There were no substitutes in those days. The decision was taken that it was best he did not return to the pitch so for the second half the U's played with just ten players.

Memorably, I can recall a photograph of a diving Peter Wright heading a goal at Chesterfield against a young keeper called Gordon Banks who later starred in England's 1966 World Cup winning side.

Peter also played a key role in the 2-2 FA Cup draw against the mighty Arsenal at Layer Road, and the successful promotion season of the early 1960s when half the side hailed from Colchester and district.

It came as no surprise when Peter was voted as Colchester United's "player of the century". He served his home town with pride and distinction. I make no apology for saying he was a childhood hero of mine.

I am delighted that, at my suggestion, Peter Wright was chosen to perform the official start of the new Community Stadium which has been built in Mile End not that far from where he grew up. I was also pleased when he, along with fellow Colchester football legend Bobby Hunt, officially unveiled the "Layer Road end penalty spot" and area of pitch which I have installed outside my offices.

We can all be proud of Peter Wright as a Colcestrian and what he did with an association with Colchester United spanning 60 years. He will be missed.