So, Danny Wright’s gone. It’ll be interesting to see if he could have played the transfer a little more craftily.
The nature of his decision is transparent. Moving from a club which has been in the play-offs for the last three years to one which averaged an attendance of 1,179 last season, below the division’s average, and a lowest home crowd of less than 600, could only be motivated by money, but I’m not saying that in any judgemental sense.
Okay, he’ll clearly have been offered more by Forest Green’s eco-millionaire owner than we could give him, but I don’t begrudge a player who only turned professional when he moved to Cambridge three years ago the opportunity to cut a decent deal for himself.
When I say the move’s motivated by money, I mean the money which again will influence the Conference title race. Crawley and Fleetwood were artificially boosted way beyond their natural place in the scheme of things by an injection of external cash – a tactic which tends to lead to instant gratification followed by a hideous, often permanent collapse.
This season the pattern changed slightly as no club rose on the back of a sugar daddy, although the two promoted sides, Mansfield and Newport, both have extremely wealthy individuals behind them and spent heavily last Summer. At least their sort of investment appears a little more sustainable: their fanbases are surely large enough to make their spending a gamble rather than long-term suicide.
Now Forest Green are threatening to throw money at promotion. That’s something which worries me more than the departure of Wright. It’s the third season in a row that our top scorer has left us, but more importantly it’s the third season in a row when he’s moved sideways. After Andy Mangan went to Fleetwood and Jake Speight moved closer to home at Mansfield, might Wright be the third top scorer in a row we’ve lost to the side which went on to win the title?
I’m a little surprised Wright has jumped sideways so soon though. Forest Green might be promising further investment in their squad, but they are a Conference club. Surely Wright’s goalscoring and barnstorming style this season has caught the eye of clubs higher up the pyramid? Maybe Forest Green made him a take-it-or-leave-it offer and set him a deadline, but I thought Wright would hold on for a bit and see if offers came from a higher league.
So good luck to Wright. He served Wrexham well and has made a move which he thinks is the best one for him. I can’t help thinking that if he’d held on he might have had a better option, but if he’s spear-heading the new Crawley next season his judgement might have proven to be more astute than I’m giving him credit for.