Alan Wright (left-back) 2006
Born: Ashton-under-Lyne, 28 September 1971
Alan Wright was a diminutive left-back who made one appearance on loan for Leeds United in 2006. He is credited with being the shortest player in Premier League history at just 5ft 4in tall and was reported once to have strained a knee stretching to reach the accelerator pedal in his new Ferrari.
Wright was given his start by Third Division Blackpool, whom he joined as a trainee after attracting interest for his displays with England Schoolboys. He made his first team debut for the Seasiders towards the end of the 1987/88 season and played sixteen times the following season when the club narrowly avoided relegation by gaining seven points from their final three matches.
They were not so fortunate the following campaign when they were relegated to Division Four. However, they flourished in the lower division and Wright missed just one match during 1990/91, featuring in the Play Off final at the end of the campaign when the Seasiders lost out on penalties to Torquay United.
On 25 October 1991, Wright signed for Blackburn Rovers in a £500,000 deal that set a record not only for Blackpool but also any Fourth Division club.
He was part of new manager Kenny Dalglish's money-fuelled revival of the Ewood Park club, which saw them regain a place in the top flight at the end of the 1991/92 season. Wright made 33 appearances for his new club, and his form earned him two Under-21 caps for England.
He lost his place when England international Graeme Le Saux was signed from Chelsea in March 1993 and Wright departed Blackburn just weeks before they won the Premier League title in 1995, signing for Aston Villa for £1m on 10 March.
Wright: "I suppose you could say I was the start of what was to follow at Blackburn… It was a great journey for everyone involved. It was fantastic to see the development of the club. The last 12 to 16 months was not a particularly good time for me… I wasn't playing regularly and I knew for my career I had to leave."
Wright enjoyed his best years at Villa Park, making 260 appearances over the next eight seasons and winning a League Cup winners medal in March 1996 when Villa beat Leeds 3-0 at Wembley.
Wright was involved in the second goal; his awkward cross put Lucas Radebe under pressure and the South African hurried his clearance, a scissors kick flying straight to Ian Taylor, who volleyed home first time.
A month later, Wright was called up by England for their full international against Croatia, though he didn't make it onto the pitch and never got another opportunity.
He was in the Villa side beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in the FA Cup final in 2000.
Wright lost his first team place when young J Lloyd Samuel was promoted from the youth side and he left for Middlesbrough on a free transfer in August 2003. He struggled to make an impact on Teesside, appearing just twice before switching to Sheffield United in January 2004 after a successful spell on loan.
Blades manager Neil Warnock was delighted to secure his signature: "Alan was my main target in the summer and I wasn't surprised when Rangers came in for him… Alan is one of the best defensive left-backs I've ever worked with."
Wright remained at Bramall Lane for three years, though a lot of time was spent out on loan. After a month at Derby, he joined Leeds for a month on 10 October 2006, becoming the first signing of caretaker manager John Carver, who said, "Alan comes with a wealth of experience… He's got a good left foot, he's got good energy, and he's tenacious. He will attack and go forward."
United had recently released Danny Pugh and Dan Harding, leaving Stephen Crainey as their only recognised left-back; they desperately needed some cover in their battle against relegation.
Wright's only game for United was at Elland Road against Stoke City four days after he arrived at the club, a contest which ended in a disastrous 4-0 reverse and sent Leeds into the bottom three. The full-back sustained a calf injury in the match and he never appeared again for the club, though there were other reasons for his lack of action, as he later recalled.
"I only had one game at Leeds during my loan spell, but that was mainly due to the fact that there was a change of manager soon after I went there… John Carver was the acting manager… He got the sack and Dennis Wise took over, and I wasn't involved for the rest of the games while I was at Elland Road."
After leaving Leeds, Wright had further loan spells with Cardiff City, Doncaster Rovers and Nottingham Forest, where he conceded an own goal in the League One Play Off semi final against Yeovil Town in 2007.
He was released by Sheffield United in May 2007 and moved to Cheltenham Town after failing to impress during a trial with Oldham. One of Wright's highlights while with the Robins was helping them to a momentous 2-1 victory over Leeds at Elland Road in March 2008.
Cheltenham were relegated from League One a year later and that summer Wright moved into the non-League game with Conference North club Fleetwood Town. He was released at the end of the 2010/11 campaign.
Blackpool supporters elected Wright into the club's Hall of Fame in April 2006.