When you write football chants down they don’t have the same affect as when sung.
I was 9 years old and was on my way to my first Arsenal game at Highbury. Junior gunner autograph book in hand. I was prepared. I didn’t have a replica shirt at that point because they cost too much. I think I wore as much red as I owned.
That game sticks in the mind for many reasons, John Jensen scored his only goal for the club (if anyone can get their hands on a ‘I was there when John Jensen scored’ T-shirt I will be forever grateful), we lost to QPR and my friends dad warned us that if he ever heard us saying those swear words in the songs at home we could never come back to Highbury or any other football match. That threat was enough to put me off swearing for the whole of my time at primary school.
Back to the matter at hand. Ian Wright, and really autobiographies in general.
I love them.
A good biography has always been of more interest than any work of fiction to me. To come away feeling like you know someone a little bit, with some snippets to reflect on and apply (or avoid as it may be). Time well spent.
Footballer biographies have always been a bit hit or miss. Whilst their skill on the pitch can’t be questioned, their lives can occasionally be rather repetitive unless you want a blow by blow account of goals they scored. This book was different.
If I loved Ian Wright before I read the book, I admire him now.
The book is about progression, never staying still and always going for more.
He could have continued with a bad crowd when he was young, he didn’t.
He could have given up after countless rejections from clubs all over the country, he didn’t.
He could have accepted his fate at any point. Instead it appears that he moulded it.
As the book draws to a close he talks about his marriages and family. When I read athletes accounts of their relationships you can feel rather sorry for the partner, the unrepentant athlete who was never around moved on. I will never know Ian Wright’s situation in detail but he came across as humble about his mistakes and trying to move past them to be the best man he can be. I respect that.
That’s what is great about biographies, insight to heroes that you would never otherwise have. See the person behind the goals, chants and Nike commercials.
Also, one major positive in my book – an entire chapter dedicated to my favourite player of all time Dennis Bergkamp.
Mr Wright, thank you for the goals and for your book.