Businessman Matthew Wright is bankrolling Tranent Juniors’ bid to get out of the bottom tier of the East Region set-up, but he revealed that it isn’t just a short-term fix as he aims to set in place a plan which will make the club stable for years.
After years of financial mismanagement, Tranent were on the verge of going bust only two years ago. The ship was steadied last year after players pledged to play without wages and now they are targeting the South Division title next term under new manager Gary Small.
Small left his post as assistant manager of this season’s South champions Haddington Athletic to take the reigns at Foresters Park in February and he has wasted little time in assembling his squad for next season, with seven new faces already contracted for the 2015/16 campaign, including midfielder Darren Smith from Musselburgh Athletic.
Wright, co-founder of local firm M-Pact building services, also sponsors Musselburgh and Dalkeith Thistle. He will end his association with the Olivebank men this summer, but has another year with Dalkeith. However, his future lies with Tranent. He has taken up the position as vice-chairman, with Colin Martin remaining as chairman at the club.
“I’m a local guy and to see the team suffer the way they have has been hard,” said Wright. “You always hear these stories about how successful and how big a club they were, and it’s hard to see when you along and see them on Saturday and there’s 15 to 20 people watching them. I just thought I’m going to get involved and I went along to a committee meeting and I was welcomed with open arms.
“The guys who have come into the committee recently have really picked the club up. The club was in an absolute shambles and probably a few days from not being there any longer.
“It’s okay me popping a bit of money in to try and strengthen the team, but it’s important that the club becomes self-sufficient for years to come.”
Wright has purchased a set of new strips and tracksuits for the junior side, but he may extend his investment across the whole club as they venture towards becoming a community outfit.
He said: “I’m going to invest into the 19s, 21s and the amateurs, so we are trying to bring them all under one wing to make it more of a community club.
“The long-term goal is to help them all out and then bring it into the community club status and really push that on. It’s something that I’m quite naïve on, but there is a couple of guys there on the committee that are heavily involved in it and they are keeping us right with what we really need to be doing. It’s exciting times to be honest.”