It’s been a busy Christmas for Aussie international defender Bailey Wright, whose family have decamped from the warmth of Victoria to the cold, wind and rain of Lancashire!
If you were to choose between the sunshine of Australia and the wet, cold grey Lancashire skies over Christmas it might not be too difficult a choice, however, your choice might not be the same one as Bailey Wright and his family!
The North End No.6 has been joined by a large group of the Wright clan for the festive holidays and he admits that they play a huge part in everything he does, even though for much of the year they are half way around the world.
Speaking to The One And Only just before Christmas the 23-year-old said that being with his relations at this time of year was very important to him, although he would have liked them to see some snow rather than rain!
“A lot of the motivation for where I am is family, so I am in a fortunate position now and so are my family, that they can come over and we can all spend Christmas together,” he told the matchday programme at the Springfields training complex.
“I obviously can’t get back there for Christmas any more, but I am lucky enough to have them come over here.
“They are more than half the reason I do what I do and I have had the opportunity to do what I do, so to spend this time of year with them is pretty special.
“I have had a few quiet Christmases. This is a busy period for us as players and staff and we are used to that and I wouldn’t change it, but when the family come over, they get to experience it and get to see what life is like over here, what a cold Christmas is like, what life is like in England and there’s a lot of things to experience. I have a few of my nieces and nephews over with sisters, their partners and parents and some of them are here for the first time experiencing it. They get to see what football is like here and what my life is like here.
“It is nice, because family is one of the most important things.
“I love the look of snow the first hour it settles, but after that it just turns into a nightmare and looks horrible. For the kids and my family who are here, they would have loved to have experienced a white Christmas, but they are just happy with a cold Christmas and happy to be here.
“Snow would be nice, but I know what a nightmare that can be for football and everything else!”
As we start a new year there are new hopes and aspirations for the international centre half, who made his 150th career appearance on Monday, and he reflects on 2015 as an important year, both professionally and personally.
“The Club has taken massive steps in the direction it has wanted to take for the past few seasons. It was a memorable year for us last year,” he continued. “Going up; the way we did it, Wembley was a special moment and now life in the Championship has been progressing well.
“The more we get into the league we are getting stronger and stronger; there are a lot of positives we can take and hopefully there is only one way we can go and we hope that is to climb that table that little bit more. On a personal level it has been a good year for me, both at international and club level and that is something I want to keep tasting and experiencing, but improving as well.
“It has been a crazy year. To get up the way we did it was the best way possible. Losing on the last day of the season hurt us, but if I could turn back time I would do it again.
“I got engaged as well a few weeks ago and I didn’t know that would happen, whilst at international level things have been going pretty well and I have played a lot more games than I thought I would have. There are plenty of things to be proud of, but you can only be proud of them if you continue to do well.
“I remember when I was offered a contract at the Club for the first time and I first came over and it was all a mystery. When I first came over people were always asking me ‘when are you going to move back’ and I always hoped that I wouldn’t. Then every time I went back to Australia they kept asking when I was coming back to live and I told them that I hope I didn’t have to.
“Now I have been here seven years, made 150 appearances for the Club, have some real ups and a few little downs, but that is part of football.
“My first three or four months here I couldn’t play and I found myself playing for the fans’ team! But it was all good fun, I was loving life over here, having the opportunity to live my dream and now those seven years have gone so quickly, but at the same time it still feels like yesterday that I moved over and my life changed.”
You can read a lot more from Bailey, plus interviews with Marnick Vermijl, Chris Humphrey, Greg Cunningham and Neil Kilkenny in our first edition of The One And Only in 2016. We also have 13 pages of content about the visitors and much, much more crammed into the 84 pages of perfect bound content – on sale for just £3 from the morning of the game from the Club’s retail store or inside and outside the ground on matchday.