Ole… Ian Wright Wright Wright

OPINION: Former Arsenal striker was a galactico of his time

Thursday, 28th April — By Richard Osley


THERE’S something I think you should know: Ian Wright was a better player than Didier Drogba.

I know this is mildly provocative and, yes, Wrighty does lose some kudos points for once appearing in some awful ‘I feel like Chicken Tonight adverts’ as he struggled to come to terms with his retirement.

His goalscoring record at Arsenal was eventually eclipsed by another marvel, Thierry Henry, too, but you probably have forgotten what a special talent he was.

If we had been blessed with more sensible England managers, he could have fired us to success.

Of course, Drogba was a very good striker too but he was always aided by an expensively assembled team put together by Roman Abramovich’s bottomless, and as you may have seen questionably acquired, pit of money.

And while DD was assisted by some of Europe’s best paid, Ian Wright, Wright, Wright – the player so good they had to name him thrice, to quote Jonathan Pearce in his humble Capital Gold days – had Eddie McGoldrick and David Hillier, at times, in support.

Lucky then he could fashion a chance from thin air.

The 1-0 to the Arsenal theme of the mid 1990s was usually him with the one.

There were so many matches which Arsenal only just about managed to win because Ian Wright would conjure up some form of sorcery.

He wasn’t simply a goal hanger like Gary Lineker or Alan Shearer, he wasn’t an unrepentant diver like Jurgen Klinsmann.

No – he was the main man and there are a heap of unforgettable long-range blasters and delicate chips in the back catalogue.

It’s probably because he has occupied the “lovable guffawing man” role – yes, Al, man – on Match Of The Day for so long that you somehow think he wasn’t a galactico of his time.

He so was.

A player who fought his way up from early rejections and then the non-league to win the title with the club he still clearly adores.

As it turned out, both Wright and Drogba were inducted last week to the Premier League Hall of Fame last week; both deserved it but Wright is my man and only those with tiny Manchester City memories could dispute the honour.

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