Edward Gordon Dundas Wright, often known as Gordon or simply EGD, was born in Englefield Green near Staines in Surrey to an Irish father who was a clergyman in the Church of England. The calling of the ministry took the Wright family to Pencoyd near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire in Gordon’s younger years, then later to Sussex and North Ferriby. As a teenager he attended the South Eastern College in Ramsgate, Kent (renamed St Lawrence College in 1906) where he played cricket, rugby and football and won several track and field competitions. Wright was a regular in the College first team until the end of 1902, in January 1903 he started playing for Worthing in the West Sussex Senior League. In October 1903 he began three years of studies at Queens College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a football blue by Cambridge University and won college long jump competitions. He also continued to play for both Worthing and Surrey-based team Reigate Priory during breaks in his studies, as well as representing Sussex in County matches. Gordon’s pace and goalscoring threat were attracting attention across the game, especially when playing in high profile matches for his University, and he was regarded as Cambridge’s finest player by the spring of 1904.
In September 1905, during the final year of his studies, Wright signed amateur forms for Southern League side Portsmouth and made his debut against Northampton in October 1905. Further appearances in early November against Brentford and December against Brighton drew his time in Pompey’s colours to a rapid close. At the end of December 1905 it was reported that Wright had agreed to join Hull City, a change precipitated by his father’s ministry at North Ferriby and Gordon’s subsequent appointment as school master at Hymers College in Hull, where he taught Natural History and Science. This was a considerable catch for Hull City as they completed their first season in the Football League, Wright was widely acknowledged to be the finest outside left in the English game and had just been selected to play an international trial game designed to assess players’ prospects for international honours – a trial that bore fruit for Gordon, as described later. Although his allegiance was pledged to Hull City, as an amateur player Wright was at liberty to also play for other sides, notably renowned London-based amateur side Corinthian Casuals. He made his debut for the Casuals in January 1905 and joined their Easter 1906 tour of Europe, Summer 1906 tour of the United States and 1907 tour of South Africa.
Wright made his City debut in April 1906, an event that put 3,000 on City’s usual gate for home matches, new fans that saw the England outside left score a debut goal. He returned to the City side in late September 1906 after his summer tour with Corinthians and played in the majority of games in the 1906/07 season, with his able deputy Ned Neve filling in when Wright was not available due to his various other footballing and teaching exploits. Captain of the City side, Wright contributed seven goals that season including braces against Burton United in November and Glossop in February. He scored far less frequently during the remaining years of his time at Hull City, preferring to create goals from the wing rather than cut inside.
Wright continued to serve City duing the 1907/08 and 1908/09 seasons, displaying the familiar pattern of joining the side in late September, ending his season during mid-April and being ably supported by reserve outside left Ned Neve when Wright was not available. Wright was a vital supply line for City’s forwards and was a key factor in the Tigers flirting with promotion to the First Division.
In March 1909 Wright announced that would be attending the Royal School of Mines, part of the University of London, in order to retrain as a mining engineer and his time with Hull City would come to an end – a collection to present him with a commemorative watch was even commenced. In the summer he announced that he would continue to play for the Tigers whenever possible and also pledged to assist Southern League side Leyton when the occasion arose – he played just once for Leyton in October 1909 against New Brompton, two days after playing for City. Gordon’s studies in London, plus an injury sustained in South Africa, meant that he was absent from the City side between March and November 1910 and his first team appearances became increasingly sporadic as the new decade progressed. In the summer of 1913 Wright decided to return to South Africa and take work as a mining engineer, drawing a close to his association with Hull City, a club where his presence in the team was responsible for much success in its early years after formation.
Wright spent several years in South Africa and continued to play local football during the 1910s. He briefly performed military service in 1917 in South Africa before returning to his mining work. Between 1926 and 1930 Wright worked in Brazil, performing survey work for the Sao Paulo Railway company, then in the 1940s he had a short spell working in the United States. In the mid-1940s he returned to live in South Africa and died in Johannesburg in June 1947.
Wright’s international trial match in January 1906 led to him being selected to play for the England senior side in March 1906 against Wales, a match that England won 1-0 at Cardiff Arms Park. As a consequence Wright is Hull City’s only ever full England international, although it should be noted that this cap was awarded prior to Gordon making his City debut.
Subsequently Wright played regularly for the England Amateur side for five years, making his debut in a December 1907 6-1 win over Ireland and going on to win 20 amateur caps. His last appearance for England Amateurs came in November 1912, when he scored his fourth and final England goal against Belgium – his previous three goals had come against France in May 1909, Germany in April 1911 and Netherlands in March 1912. Wright twice represented the England amateur football side in the Olympics. In the 1908 London Olympics he was part of the squad but did not play, in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics he made one appearance against Finland and won a gold medal. Gordon also toured South Africa in 1910 with an English FA squad but his tour was cut short after one game due to injury.
Date/Place of Birth: 3 October 1884, Englefield Green
Hull City First Game: 7 April 1906, West Bromwich Albion H (Division Two), 21 years, 186 days old
Hull City Final Game: 26 April 1913, Leicester Fosse H (Division Two), 28 years, 205 days old
Worthing (1903-1905), Cambridge University (1903-1905), Reigate Priory (1903-1904), Corinthian Casuals (1905-1907), Portsmouth (1905), Hull City (1905-1913), Leyton (1909)
Hull City Record
Career: 168 apps, 14 goalsGordon Wright