Ian Wright Profile
|Born||Nov 03, 1963|
From player to pundit, Ian Wright has enjoyed a storied career in English.
Ian Wright is a former professional footballer, who spent most of his career at Arsenal. He is currently a pundit for both the BBC and ITV.
Wright's sons Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips are both professional soccer players.
A difficult beginning in South East London
Wright didn't have an easy upbringing in South East London as his father wasn't around from a young age. This meant that Wright was brought up by his mother, Nesta, and an abusive stepfather.
Wright didn't have an easy entry into professional football either. He had trials at Southend United and Brighton & Hove Albion but these didn't work out, forcing him to return to playing amateur and non-league football.
Wright's life reached a low when he was living in poverty with his pregnant wife. During this time, he spent two weeks in prison for failing to pay fines for driving without insurance or tax.
Throughout his football career, he has referred to his former primary school teacher Sydney Pigden as "the first positive male figure that I had in my life." Wright dedicated his 2016 autobiography " A Life in Football" to Pidgen, highlighting just how much he was impacted by him.
Ian Wright joins Crystal Palace
Until the age of 21, Wright was playing Sunday League football for Ten-em-Bee.
In 1985, he signed a contract with semi-professional side Greenwich Borough, earning himself Â£30 a week. After playing just several matches for Borough, Wright was spotted by a Crystal Palace scout and was invited for a trial. Having impressed Palace manager Steve Coppell, Wright signed his first professional contract in August 1985.
In his first season in professional football, Wright certainly made an impact as his nine goals saw him finish as Palace's second top scorer. The following season, Mark Bright joined the team and the duo quickly established a formidable strike partnership. In the 1988/89 campaign, it was their goals that saw Palace earn promotion to the First Division via the play-offs. Wright scored 24 times in the league that season and 33 in both league and cup games.
In his inaugural First Division campaign, he cracked his shinbone, which didn't enable him to play to the best of his ability. He recovered in time for the 1990 FA Cup final against Manchester United, where he came on as a second half substitute and scored the goal that took the game to extra-time. The game finished 3-3 and went to a replay, which Palace lost 1-0.
In the 1990/91 season, Wright was picked for the England team and also reached 100 goals for Palace. He helped Palace finish in their highest-ever league position of third as well as win the Full Members Cup.
During his six seasons with Crystal Palace, Wright became the club's record post-war goalscorer with 117 goals in 253 appearances. Due to his phenomenal achievements with the club, he was named their "Player of the Century" and voted into their Centenary XI.
Swapping the South for the North
His stellar performances for Palace saw him make the move from South to North London as he joined reigning champions Arsenal for a then club record fee of £2.5million in 1991.
Wright scored in his first game for the Gunners and netted a hat-trick in his league debut against Southampton. In his first season at Highbury, Wright finished as the league's top scorer with 29 goals (24 for Arsenal, five for Palace) and went on to be the Gunners' top scorer for six straight seasons. He was a key player in the side's successes during the 1990s, helping the side assert its dominance on English football. He won an FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993 and reached the European Cup Winners' Cup final the following season. However, Wright missed the game due to suspension as Arsenal beat Parma 1-0.
The next few years were tough for both Arsenal and Wright. On the pitch, the team struggled due to the dismissal of manager George Graham and the team could only manage a 12th place finish in the 1994/95 campaign. Bruce Rioch replaced Graham on a permanent basis and this didn't work out for Wright, who handed in a transfer request which he later rescinded.
However, the arrival of Dennis Bergkamp brought some joy for Wright. Although the pair only played together for a short period of time, the duo did have a productive partnership as they guided Arsenal to a fifth-place finish in the league, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
Arsene Wenger's arrival brought about great change at Arsenal as he revolutionised how English football worked. Despite being 33, Wright regularly found the back of the net and was the second highest Premier League scorer in the 1996/97 campaign with 23 goals. He was also a record breaker as he netted against 17 of Arsenal's 19 league opponents.
In the 1997/98 season, he became the club's highest goalscorer with 178 goals when scoring a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers. He currently sits second in that list behind Thierry Henry. His final goal for the club came on January 6, 1998, in a League Cup quarter-final. A hamstring injury affected his final season for the Gunners, although this didn't stop him from winning his first Premier League title in 1997/98 when the Gunners completed a league and cup double.
During his 288 appearances, Wright scored 185 goals including 11 hat-tricks. In a 2008 poll of fans, Wright was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Arsenal players.
Wright retired in 2000 after two years of club hopping. He left Arsenal and moved to West Ham United before going to Nottingham Forest, then Celtic and finally Burnley, who he helped reach the First Division.
He ended his club career with 313 goals in all competitions.
Ian Wright and the England National Team
Wright's international career lasted eight years, during which he featured in just 33 matches for England and scored only nine goals. However, he only started 17 times, highlighting a lack of opportunity.
During the seven seasons that followed the 1990 World Cup, Wright never scored fewer than 23 goals for his clubs but despite these goalscoring feats, his maximum number of consecutive starts in an England shirt was never more than three.
Wright spent the majority of his international career as the man who wasn't selected. He played in a very talented squad and had to fight for his place against the likes of Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer.
Ian Wright's post-playing career
Post retirement, Wright briefly coached at Milton Keynes Dons but left the job within a year.
After that, he started to work in TV on shows including Top of the Pops, Friends Like These and Live from Studio Five. Over the course of 17 years, Wright presented a total of 13 shows and made guest appearances on the likes of Top Gear and I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.
After he retired from professional football, Wright appeared as a pundit on BBC Sport's International Match of the Day and was a pundit for the 2002 World Cup, Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. However, he quit in 2008, saying the programme had used him as a "comedy jester".
In 2013, he joined BT Sport as a studio analyst, focusing on the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
Since 2014, he has worked on ITV as a pundit for all England matches, regularly appearing alongside Lee Dixon.
In 2017, he left his BT role to allow him to appear more regularly on Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2, as well as co-host the BBC's 606 football phone in show. Wright also now co-hosts 5live Sport. Alongside Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer, he is now one of the BBC's main pundits for their live match coverage.
Ian Wright's personal life
Wright has a very football orientated family and has eight children (four sons and four daughters). With his first girlfriend Sharon Phillips, Wright has two children Shaun (whom he adopted) and Bradley. Both have gone on to have very successful soccer careers.
Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, Wright was awarded an MBE for his services to football.
Ian Wright's net worth
According to Celebritynetworth.com, Ian Wright has a net worth of around $20million. As a pundit it is estimated that he earns over £200,000 per year.
As an Arsenal player, Wright is believed to have earned around £1,500 per week.