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Name Ian Wright
Gender Male
Nationality UK
Ethnic English
Job English Footballer
Desc From the Hackney Marshes to Highbury Wright’s story is the stuff of fairytales. An all-round, out and out striker Wright scored every type of goal, famously breaking Cliff Bastin’s Gunners record despite spending his first seven years at Crystal Palace. Only Thierry Henry has more in the famed red and white

Affiliation

|:——————|:———————-| | Org | England National Team | | Club as Player | Arsenal FC | | | Crystal Palace |

Relationship

Son Shaun Wright-Phillips
Grandson D’Margio Wright-Phillips

2015 08 20 Retrieve

[Ian Wright on Thierry Henry] A footballing monster in respects of ability. He (had) everything

2018 01 06 Retrieve

[Ian Wright talks about Egypt and Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah] I’m not saying he’s as good as who I’m going to say. He reminds me of Messi, the scampering way he plays. He gives me a Messi vibe. He’s short, his style. He’s got a Messi vibe

2018 12 22 Retrieve

[Jose Mourinho was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] We all know Manchester United have quality players. Cardiff could not get close enough to them. That is the Manchester United I expect to see. You expect that attitude and effort. They have the players to do it and they should have been doing it. It is an unbelievable start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and with the games coming up it could be a good run for Manchester United

2019 06 13 Retrieve

[Ian Wright talks about how he first started as a professional at Crystal Palace, relatively late for a footballer at 21 years of age] I remember incidents when I’d go down for dinner, and I’d get teased for ordering sirloin steak and sauté potatoes and stuff like that. There’d be comments like ‘Do you have steak at home, you don’t even know how to spell sauté potatoes?’. This would be from guys calling me ‘a 20-minute player’. I remember those times. It was really intimidating to the point I stopped coming down

[One specific person, however, started to notice. And it is a person that Wright credits with changing his entire outlook on football, and even life: his manager] Steve Coppell came up to me and asked ‘Why are you not coming down?’. He explained to me why you cannot let people dictate your life to you, and make you feel you have to act differently. ‘What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t like you any more than they do already?’ He was the one that made me realise I want to face that problem. That was the kind of person he was. He always spoke to me in a way where he was telling me something, to do something right

[He is joyously comfortable in himself, and he credits people like Steve Coppell for that] You’ve got to remember, I came in straight off the building site, straight into Steve. He was somebody that obviously recognised I might be able to do something, and he was somebody that was always very strict with me. It was what I needed

He also told me ‘If you don’t know, just ask. Whatever company you’re in, if there’s something you don’t understand, ask’. He gave me that kind of wisdom.

That was the kind of person he was. And I recognised that really early. He was really honest with me. He said to me, when I was having all the problems at Palace early days, ‘Listen, things will change, and you are going to be a big part of what happens here. There are going to be people that will not be here, and you’ll see how easier it will be for you. Like I’m saying to you, trust yourself’

And you know, I was there ‘What are you talking about man?’ But obviously next season, Mark Bright came in with the rest of the guys and made me a component in the team and all of a sudden you see what he’s been saying

[There was a time when he felt restrained on a football pitch, too. That, however, was one reason why he came into the professional game so late] I felt confident to a certain extent, I was playing Sunday morning football and I was doing OK, but every time I went for trials, 12 to 17, [Leyton] Orient and all these places, Charlton [Athletic], I didn’t get into them. My confidence was low. The only football trial I ever got through was Palace. Once I got there, I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to do my thing, I’m going to play how I play’. And I remember, after, the first trial, Steve Coppell spoke to me – because I was trying things; skill; shots from ridiculous distances; scoring goals; going past people – and he said ‘Never change the way you approach a football match’

Coppell always told me ‘They don’t want to lose the ball and have to chase back towards their own goal because people will roast them, so they’re blaming you for not protecting them. It’s natural. Don’t worry about it, but don’t change the way you play. Have confidence in what you do, because what you do is what a lot of people out there can’t do’. He gave me the confidence to make me feel I was the only person out there who could do what I could do

And remember I was going into the professional game, so I’d start a game and it wouldn’t work out so well, then I’d come on for 20 minutes and do well, so they’d say I was a ‘20-minute player’. Of course I had major doubts, thinking ‘This isn’t going to work out’. Remember, when I signed for Palace, it was only for three months. Steve Coppell wanted to sign me for more, but Ron Noades, he genuinely couldn’t afford it to the point where he had to wait to see if it was going to happen for me. Steve Coppell always said it was going to be fine. I wasn’t used to it at all, somebody having total faith in me like my teacher Mr Pidgen, somebody that you don’t want to let down

[He believes Coppell’s influence goes even deeper] He was always hard with me but fair. If I for instance started to get above my station in training, he’d always pull me back, and he’d do it in front of people. It was something I could easily accept, because it was someone who saw me from inception. So he’s the one who moulded me, out of everyone, the one who made me what I am, my work ethic, how I treated people, how I treated trialists

So when people like John Salako came in, he was a nightmare some of the time, shooting and not crossing, then you’d have a go at him, Steve Coppell would be saying: ‘Don’t you remember what was happening to you. Don’t pass that on’. So we made sure we took him in. Steve Coppell changed everything about how I am as a man today

[Dein then helped changed what Wright was as a player, and took another leap of faith in him] David Dein was the one that got that extra 250 over the line. He showed faith in me, right from the start. I remember David Dein saying to me: ‘You are going to be magnificent here. The fans are going to love you, you are exactly what we need’

He used to come in and see us all before a game started, shake everyone’s hand, and would say to me ‘There’s a goal in you’. And he’d say it to me every time, with a smile. He’s somebody I now speak to every day. We text. Any problems I’ve had, I could phone David Dein at two or three in the morning, and he’ll answer the phone. Problems I’ve had in the last five or six years, without David Dein I wouldn’t be where I am today. When you see what David Dein is doing now with the prison system, trying to give people a chance, that’s his whole life. He’s got an MBE, he should be knighted

[It was because of Dein’s intervention that Wright got to learn from two very different managerial and paternal influences: Graham and Wenger] The way Arsene Wenger was, we’re talking about someone who was up there with the very best. He got it down to the fine detail, to the point where he spoke about where your toe should go down in your boot, to play better. He took it to a scientific place, whereas George Graham was very much mental, and carrot and stick

It was like being on a chain gang. ‘You work because if you do, that is what will happen, then you’ll get this’. I remember with George Graham, my league debut at Southampton, I scored a hat-trick. I’m not sure how many Arsenal players on their league debut scored a hat-trick. All he said to me was ‘Well done, good game’. I remember afterwards, the lads, I’d only been around them a week, so they all came over, ‘Brilliant’, ‘Well done’ but ‘Don’t expect anything from him!’

He was that kind of father figure in your life, where you could never please him, but all he’d need to do was look at you and smile, and you’d feel like a million dollars. That’s what some dads are like, and then when you get older you realise why they were doing what they were doing

Whereas Arsene Wenger just wanted to pass on wisdom. He’d talk to you the way your granddad would speak to you in respect of giving you wisdom. You just wanted to please him. Giving you a responsibility about what you do. Two different things, and I needed them both

[He also feels young players in modern football need this kind of greater guidance now, precisely because the game has changed so much from what Wright came into. It actually makes the issue all the more relevant] With the modern player, from the age of eight or nine, they’re in academies, they have all the football kit, they have this regimented way about them, everything is perfect … but if things start going a little bit awry, they’re looking around ‘What’s going wrong here, what’s happening? This isn’t the perfect world, this isn’t right, this isn’t how it’s meant to be’

I think that the modern-day footballer, because everything is given to him, especially if you’re an elite player in the academy, your hardship is going to come when you start playing for a top team, and you get criticism, and people are going at you. ‘Why isn’t this happening for me? Why’s it like this? Why am I getting so much abuse?’ It’s more difficult for them because of the way they’ve been brought through. They’ve been guarded and shielded from the real world, until they get out there, and all of a sudden social media is in your face like you never believe. It’s something you have to deal with there and then, and that’s why you see some of them struggle to deal with it

When they get in touch with me, I tell them exactly what I think. I make sure they know I love them so much, but I’m going to let them know ‘You’re not doing this, you’re not doing that, and the reason is it’s in training, are you doing this, are you doing that, what you doing late at night, are you getting rest?’ I say all that stuff. The lessons have been invaluable

2019 10 31 Retrieve

[When asked on who will outlive the other at the Emirates. Would it be Mesut Ozil or Unai Emery] Well hopefully Ozil. He’s already said he doesn’t want to leave. For me, hopefully it’s Ozil

I’m very disappointed to see that [Ozil not in the squad] because I don’t think that Arsenal, when you look at Arsenal’s creative stats, they’re not up there. They’re actually not creating as much and they’re conceding more shots on target. So that says to me you need somebody who’s creative to be playing there

Mesut Ozil is that guy, I don’t know what’s going on with him and Unai Emery, but for me I think this could be the problem for Unai in the end if Arsenal continue to do what they’re doing. They’re waiting for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Pepe, like the other day, to save them. The fact is he should be playing