How Football Legend, Ian Wright Was Raised By White School Teacher When No One Believed In Him


Highly decorated ex-footballer, Ian Wright had a difficult start in life. His father had left, his stepfather was abusive and his mother became an alcoholic. As a teenager, he had all the recipes for failure in life. But he found a father in the unlikeliest of places -His white school teacher, Sydney Pidgen

Arsenal legend, Ian Edward Wright MBE, is not just a fan favourite but a household name in English Football and quite a buzz among Nigerian football fans as well.

Wright, who has always been a discussion ender for the gunners during arguments with rival fans, became even more popular in Africa for his affinity towards the Nigerian Football Twitter (A sizeable audience of Local Nigerians and the First Gen UK).



While the gunners won’t stop basking in admiration of their most prolific striker, rival fans equally respect the top sportsman and model in the game.

Wrighty, as fondly called, was born to Jamaican migrants on November 3, 1963, in Woolwich, London. He is the third of three boys from the erstwhile union between his mother, Nesta, and father, Herbert.

Wright played the peak of his career in two London clubs, Crystal Palace and Arsenal Football Club.

Spending six years with the former and seven years with the latter. In his time at Arsenal, he lifted the Premier League title, both the major domestic cup competitions and the European Cup Winners Cup. 

He played 581 league games, scoring 287 goals for seven clubs in Scotland and England, while also earning 33 caps for the England National Team, and scoring nine international goals.

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After retirement from professional football, Ian Wright hit a new crest in media. He is currently a pundit on BBC Sport and ITV Sport.

Despite the glitz and glamour, Ian Wright has remained professional and stayed on top of his game. His boisterous nature has made him a household name even outside the shores of football.

He is described as an impeccable black figure who rose from the ruins life had thrown him in by default.

Ian Wright Donning Nigerian ‘Senator’ Attire. Photo from Nairaland

Ian Wright was raised In Woolwich, London by his single mom Nesta and abusive stepfather. For a teeming teenager who had a knack for football, Wright got his major break in football late after a spate of failed trials at Southend United and Brighton & Hove Albion. And this is owed to his pulverised background riddled with poverty and obscurity.

In a time of gloom, Ian Wright has often noted that his school teacher, Mr. Pidgen was a beacon who set him on the right path.

In Ian Wright’s 2016 autobiography A Life in Football, dedicated to Pigden, Wright described him as “the first positive male figure that I had in my life”. Pigden taught Wright to read and write, “but most importantly how to keep calm and communicate with people instead of just flying off the handle”.

Photo From The Sun

Pigden was an accomplished sportsman who played football into his fifties and golf in his eighties. A qualified referee, he had run the line at Wembley in a schoolboy international.

He was Wright’s first coach and would encourage him not to blast the ball, but pass it into the net, “like Jimmy Greaves”. Wright called it “a piece of advice that stayed with me my whole career”.

Shortly after retiring in 2000, Wright was the subject of a television documentary that took him back to Highbury. There he was reunited with Pigden, whom he believed had died. Their affecting meeting – Wright, once more the schoolboy, whipped off his cap – has been viewed online more than 1.2 million times.

Ian Wright’s humility is not by choice but because he has experienced unsavoury parts of life that have morphed him into the man he is today. Never had many people believe in him and for a white teacher to be that guy, he held him close to his.



Source The Telegraph
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