Ian Wright is a former professional footballer from England who now works as a commentator for 'BBC Sport' and 'ITV Sport.' Ian was born to Jamaican immigrant parents in Woolwich, London, England, and was reared by his mother, Nesta, and an abusive stepfather. He had a difficult childhood. He claimed that he had spent most of his youth "extremely angry." He was a passionate football fan who was unable to find a spot in any club. He was previously imprisoned for failing to pay a fine for driving without paying taxes or insurance. He made the decision to change his life while incarcerated. Greenwich Borough, a semi-professional team in Greenwich, signed him in 1985. His talent and hard work paid off, as he was hired by the 'Crystal Palace' football club in 1985. In September 1991, he gained a major break when he was offered a contract by 'Arsenal,' one of England's most prestigious clubs. In the 221 games he played for the club, he scored 128 goals. Later in his career, he represented 'West Ham United' and 'Celtic.' After retiring from sports in the early 2000s, he pursued a career in broadcast television. He was also honored with an MBE for his contributions to football. He has now become a well-known radio and television personality.

Childhood and Adolescence

Ian Edward Wright was born on November 3, 1963, in Woolwich, London, England, to Jamaican immigrants Nesta Wright and Herbert Maclean. Ian was the family's third and youngest child. He has two older brothers, Maurice and Nicky, with whom he grew up. He grew up in the Woolwich neighborhood of southeast London, where he was raised in abject poverty.

His father abandoned the family when Ian was just 18 months old, unable to provide for his three children. Ian's mother remarried a few years later, but his stepfather was unconcerned about him. Ian has spoken openly about his difficult childhood experiences, including how he was frequently beaten by his stepfather as a child. Ian went on to say that he had been "extremely angry" his entire childhood.

He did, however, find solace in football. He had a natural talent for football and spent the majority of his childhood playing it. He was a lively and extroverted child, which his stepfather despised.

He had grown into a bitter young man by the time he reached his adolescence. Sydney Pidgen, a teacher, came into his life and taught him some essential things that helped him move forward in life. Ian learned to read and write from him, and he provided him with ideas to help him break free from the darkness he had withdrawn into since his boyhood.

Ian's passion for football was reignited, and at the age of 14, he chose to pursue a career as a professional footballer. Several clubs, though, turned him down. To make ends meet after graduating from high school, Ian learned plastering and brick layering.

He, too, married young and lived in abject poverty. He was once penalized for not having insurance on his car. He was unable to pay the fine and was consequently imprisoned. This encounter had a profound impact on him. During his time in prison, he resolved to change his habits and become a footballer at all costs.

Career in Football

Soon after his release from prison, he joined the 'Sunday League Team,' a local football club where he refined his skills. He joined Greenwich Borough, a semi-professional club, in 1985. His financial circumstances improved slightly, and he was able to devote more time to hone his skills. Hard work paid off quickly, as he was able to impress a scout from 'Crystal Palace.' He signed his first professional deal with 'Crystal Palace' in August 1985.

He was the team's second-highest goalscorer in his first season with the new club. In the late 1980s, he forged a successful alliance with Mark Bright, which was crucial to the team's rise to the top. Ian scored 33 goals for the team in the 1989 season, with 24 of his goals coming in the second division.

By the time he left 'Crystal Palace' at the end of the 1990–1991 season, he had become the club's all-time leading goal scorer in the postwar era. In 253 games over six seasons with the squad, he scored 117 goals. He was later voted the club's "Player of the Century" in 2005.

In the early 1990s, he got the biggest break of his career when he signed a contract with 'Arsenal,' one of the top clubs in the 'English Premier League.' In 1991, he was signed for £2.5 million, a record contract amount.

In his first season, he had an outstanding season, scoring 31 goals. He had a hat-trick in the league's first game, against Southampton, and another hat-trick in the season's last game. He possessed the capacity to score goals in the most difficult of circumstances, and his hefty cost was well deserved.

He remained the top goal scorer for the next six seasons with 'Arsenal.' In 1993, he was an integral part of his team's success in both the FA Cup and the League Cup. He helped his team reach the final of the 'European Cup Winners' Cup' in 1994. Despite the fact that his team won the championship, he was suspended from the game.

Arsene Wenger was appointed as the new manager in 1996. Ian was 33 years old at the time, older than many of his teammates, yet he was still scoring goals on a regular basis. Arsene was known for his intense fitness regime, but Ian demonstrated that age had little bearing on fitness. He was also instrumental in his team's victory in the 1998 'FA Cup.'

He scored 185 goals for 'Arsenal' in 288 games for the club. He is still 'Arsenal's' second-highest scorer in the club's history.

He joined 'West Ham United' in 1998, but his age had slowed him down. For 'West Ham,' he scored 9 goals in 22 appearances in a season. He went on to play for clubs such as 'Celtic' and 'Burnley,' until retiring in 2000.

Ian has also represented the United Kingdom at the international level. The team had qualified for one 'World Cup' and two 'European Championships' during his time with them.

A Career in Television

Ian began his television career in the 2000s, hosting programs like "Friends Like These," "The National Lottery Wright Ticket," "What Kids Really Think," and "I'd Do Anything."

He was hired to host the 'Channel 5' show 'Live from Studio Five' in 2009. His contract was not renewed owing to internal concerns, and he left the show in September 2010.

He's also a radio personality who hosts and hosts shows on 'Absolute Radio.' He also hosts 'BBC Radio 5' football-related programs.

On the 'BBC Sports' broadcast 'Match of the Day,' he was also engaged as a football commentator. Later, he worked as a football analyst for 'BT Sport.' He departed 'BT Sport' in 2017 after being too busy with 'Match of the Day.'

Ian has also starred in ads for firms including 'Nescafe,' 'Chicken Tonight,' and 'Ladbrokes,' among others.

Personal & Family Life

Ian Wright's book, 'A Life in Football,' was published in 2016.

Since 2011, Ian Wright has been married to Nancy Hallam. They are the parents of two children. In his memoirs, he admits to having eight children from four different partnerships. Shaun and Bradley Wright, two of his kids, are professional football players.