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Ian Wright, MBE (born November 3, 1963, Woolwich, England) is a former professional footballer, who is now a successful television and radio personality.

Football career

Ian Wright came to professional football relatively late. After rejections from Millwall and Brighton, he played for amateur and non-league teams whilst working as a labourer and plasterer, culminating at Greenwich Borough, where he was spotted by Palace scout Peter Prentice; and he signed professional terms for Crystal Palace in 1985 at the age of 22.

At Crystal Palace, he scored twice after coming on as a substitute in the 1990 FA Cup final against Manchester United, having only recently recovered from a broken leg. The eventual score was 3-3, but Palace lost the replay 1-0.

In all, 'Satch' (as he became nicknamed, after Louis Armstrong's nickname) spent six seasons at the Eagles, forming a deadly strike partnership with Mark Bright.

He signed for Arsenal in 1991 for £2.5m, which was at the time a club record fee. He scored on his debut against Leicester City in a League Cup tie, and then scored a hat-trick on his League debut against Southampton. He won the Golden Boot in his first season and went on be the club's top scorer for six seasons in a row. He played a major part in the club's success during the 1990s - winning an FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993. He scored both in the final and the final replay. Wright helped the club to the 1994 Cup Winners' Cup final (although Arsenal won that match, against Parma, Wright was suspended for it).

Wright scored in every round but the final of Arsenal's 1995 Cup Winners' Cup campaign, but the arrival of Bruce Rioch heralded a bleaker time; the two did not get on and eventually Wright handed in a transfer request (which he later retracted). However, the arrival of Dennis Bergkamp heralded a brief but fruitful striking partnership.

By the time Arsène Wenger had arrived at Arsenal in September 1996, Wright was nearly 33. Despite his age, he continued to score regularly, and on September 13, 1997 he broke Cliff Bastin's Arsenal goalscoring record with a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers (a record was surpassed by Thierry Henry in October 2005). A couple of months later he suffered a bad hamstring injury which ruled him out of the club's run-in to a League and Cup Double; Wright was named as a substitute in the cup final against Newcastle United but did not play.

In the summer of 1998, Wright moved to West Ham United; he spent nine months at the Hammers without reaching the same form he had at Arsenal. He had subsequent short spells at Nottingham Forest, Celtic, and Burnley before retiring in 2000.

Wright made his England debut while still a Palace player, in 1991, although he did not make it into the squad for Euro 92. Wright's form for England was never as fruitful as it was for Arsenal, though he scored a crucial goal against Poland in a qualifier for the 1994 World Cup, but Graham Taylor's England still failed to qualify. Wright was only a fringe player under Terry Venables, but was recalled by Glenn Hoddle and his goals helped England win the 1997 Tournoi de France and qualify for the 1998 World Cup; however, he missed the finals with a recurrence of the hamstring injury which had ruled him out of Arsenal's double win.

 

Media career

Since his retirement from football, he has become a popular media personality, appearing on Match of the Day, where his passionate English patriotism and slightly eccentric and over-the-top style of match analysis (most notably, when covering all games played in Japan during the 2002 World Cup, he wore a kimono in the studio) has gained him equal amounts of praise and derision. He is also a popular presenter having had his own chat show, Friday Night's All Wright, which began in 1998 while Wright was still playing and was noted mainly for the inclusion of a cage of Tottenham Hotspur fans (traditionally, Arsenal and Tottenham are hated rivals). Since then, he has gone on to present programmes such as The National Lottery Wright Around the World , Friends Like These, radio show Wright & Bright (with his former team-mate Mark Bright), An Audience with Lennox Lewis, and Guinness World Records. His most recent appearance as host was for BBC's What Kids Really Think. He is currently a team captain on BBC game show, They Think It's All Over.

 

Miscellaneous

Wright is also the patron of the African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust. He was awarded the MBE in 2000 for services to football.

Both Wright's stepson and son are professional footballers; Shaun Wright-Phillips is a player for Chelsea and the England national team, while Bradley Wright-Phillips currently plays for Manchester City. His son Brett Wright-Phillips is an up and coming figure in the Man City youth ranks.

Wright has five children Shaun, Bradley, Brett, Stacey and a girl Bobby-Lee.

 

Record as a player

 

Teams

(as professional)

  • Crystal Palace (1985 to 1991)
  • Arsenal (signed for £2.5m in September 1991)
  • West Ham (Free, 13 July 1998)
  • Nottingham Forest (on loan, 1999)
  • Celtic (Free, 1999)
  • Burnley (Free, February 2000)
 

Honours

 

Crystal Palace

  • FA Cup runner up (1990)
  • ZDS Cup winner (1991)
 

Arsenal

  • Golden Boot (leading scorer in top division) (1991/1992) and (1992/1993)
  • FA Cup winner (1993), 1998)
  • Cup Winners' Cup Winner (1994) Runner Up (1995)
  • League Cup winner (1993)
  • League Championship (1998)
  • Wright is Arsenal's second highest goalscorer, with 185 goals in all competitions; he held the top goalscorer record from September 13, 1997 until October 18, 2005, when Thierry Henry surpassed his total. Wright presented Henry with a commemorative trophy on October 22, 2005.
 

England

  • 33 caps, 9 goals
  • Debut February 6, 1991 vs Cameroon at Wembley
  • Last cap November 18, 1998 vs Czech Republic at Wembley

Comments

bradley wright-phillips plays for southampton

 

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