Arsenal legends: Then and Now - #1 Ian Edward Wright

Wright enjoyed success with London clubs Crystal Palace and Arsenal, spending six years with the former and seven years with the latter. With Arsenal he has lifted the Premier League title, both major domestic trophies, and the European Cup Winners Cup.
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    In September 1991 he was signed for Arsenal by George Graham for a club record £2.5 million, won the Golden Boot in his first season by scoring 29 league goals (31 in all competitions) for Palace (5) and Arsenal.

Wright went on to 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.

   The 1994-95 season was a turbulent one for Arsenal, as they recorded their lowest Premier League finish of 12th position. In February 1995, George Graham was sacked after it was discovered he had accepted illegal payments for players. These difficulties did not affect Wright, however, as the striker scored over 25 goals.

    Wright’s Arsenal career faltered somewhat under the management of Bruce Rioch. Despite forging an impressive strike partnership at the start of the 1995/96 season with Dennis Bergkamp, Wright did not get on with the new manager and handed in a transfer request, which he later retracted. Although not playing every game, he still managed 15 Premier League goals as the club finished fifth.

   By the time Arsène Wenger had arrived at Arsenal in September 1996, Wright was nearly 33. Despite his age, he continued to score regularly (being the second highest Premier League scorer in 1996–97 with 23 goals), and on 13 September 1997 he broke Cliff Bastin's Arsenal goalscoring record with a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers (a record since surpassed by Thierry Henry in October 2005).

   Post-Arsenal, the remainder of Wright’s career was fairly nomadic. After scoring nine goals in his first season for West Ham, he struggled to get into the team the following season and had spells at Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley before retiring in the summer of 2000 aged 37.

  In March 2007, Wright was appointed Director of football Strategy of Isthmian League team, Ashford Town, and him taking his place on the board of directors, following his purchase of a stake in the club.


   On 18 May 2012 Wright was named as a part-time first team coach at Milton Keynes Dons. He left the role in 2013


  After his retirement from football, Wright has become something of a celebrity. He is a regular pundit for England matches on Match Of The Day, where he has gained popularity for his straight-forward talking style and unerring patriotism.


    Wright’s professional career spanned 15 years, during which he made 526 appearances scoring 313 goals. In 2000 he was given an MBE for Services to Football. He has a Premier League winners medal, two FA cups, a League Cup and a Cup Winners Cup. Any follower of English football during the nineties will remember him for his explosive pace, cheeky and petulant attitude, dogged determination and, above all, his steely composure in front of goal.

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