Arsenal History: The one and only Ian Wright! Wright! Wright! A true Gooner….

Ian “Wright, Wright, Wright”- Arsenals second all time top-goalscorer

Ian Wright presently is Arsenal’s second most successful talisman in history with 185 goals to his name in nearly 300 matches, a record he achieved inside only six astronomical seasons!

Wright would go onto win one Premier League title, two FA Cups, one League Cup and one Cup Winners Cup.

After six years at Crystal Palace Gunners manager George Graham picked up Ian Wright for less than £3 million in 1991 in a record-breaking deal at Arsenal for the time. Wright had already racked up 91 goals in just over 200 games at Selhurst Park where in 1988/89 he was voted as their player of the year after being chosen for the PFA Team of the year in the Second Division where he helped Palace earn promotion to the First Division with his strikes. Wright had also been a super-sub during the original 1990 FA Cup final where he came off the bench to hand Crystal Palace the equaliser and leading goal in the second half before Manchester United fought back to make it 3-3 late on, before winning the replay 1-0 at Wembley.

The striker made an instant impact at Arsenal finding the back of the net in his starting game versus Leicester City in a League Cup tossup. His goal scoring reputation would only get better soon after when he netted a hat-trick in his opening League game against Southampton, by the end of the season he had scored six and a second hat-trick over Saints in the final 90 minutes of the League Campaign to be handed his one and only Golden boot in 1992, notching up 29 strikes altogether. This would be the first of his six consecutive seasons at Highbury as the greatest goalscorer.

Two years later he assisted Arsenal to become the first club in English football to raise the cup double after the 1993 FA and League Cup were achieved versus Sheffield Wednesday in both competitions. Wrighty was vital in the FA Cup where he put on his scoring boots in the first tussle and replay. For the second successive year he was also voted Arsenals player of the season.

A campaign later Wright’s goals ensured The Gunners reached the 1994 European Cup Winners Cup versus Parma which they narrowly won 1-0. Despite scoring four goals on route to the final he missed out on it after being suspended. The following year he was the UEFA Cup Winners Cup top talisman with nine goals, unfortunately the Gunners were beaten in the final by Spanish side Real Zaragoza in 1995.

After Arsene Wenger walked into the marble halls of Highbury in 1996 Wright tallied up 23 strikes during the Premiership that 1996/97 season where he was the runner-up in the leagues goal-scoring table. However, despite losing out on top spot he did set the achievement of unleashing his firepower against 17of the 19 teams he and Arsenal faced together in the Premier League before Robert Van Persie struck his accolade 15 years fast-forward.

At the start of the 1997/98 Premier League season Wrighty annihilated Cliff Bastin’s all-time scoring record of 178 goals at Highbury after scoring a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers to momentarily put him up there as the clubs best talisman in history. His feat would stand till Thierry Henry destroyed it in 2005 in the Champions League versus Sparta Prague and is still Arsenals top goal machine with 228 goals. By the anti-climax of the 1997/98 campaign Wright had taken part in helping The Gunners win their second and his one and only double after the Premiership and FA Cup was won 2-0 versus Newcastle United at Wembley. Unfortunately, Wright lost out on the final as a sub that never came off the bench after having struggled for the last part of the campaign with an agonising hamstring injury.

After an illustrious career with Arsenal which saw Wright grab 11 hat-tricks as a fan favourite in summer 1998 he departed for West Ham United for only £5000,000, being less than a quarter of the value he went to North London for. Within two years after further turning out for Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley Wright finished his football career in 2000. During that time, he won a 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup after West Ham dismantled Metz in the final 3-2 over two legs before ensuring Burnley were promoted to the First Division (currently Championship).

The talisman was handed 33 England caps finding the target nine times and winning the 1997 Tournoi de France a friendly competition.

Wrighty has been one of the most influential players in English football and Arsenal folklore being only recently added to the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2022. He had previously been conducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005 where during the same year he was added to Crystal Palace Centenary XI.

Ian is a real Gooner and still goes to games and helps to promote the Arsenal Women as well as the men.


Liam harding

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