In 1985 Ian Wright was working as a plasterer and his dreams of playing professional football looked to be slipping away. But after being spotted by scouts from Crystal Palace the striker signed his first professional contract, just three months before turning 22.
After making a relatively late start to professional football, Wright soon went about stamping his authority on the game. The outgoing striker scored 117 goals in his six seasons at Selhurst Park – becoming the Eagles' post-war top goalscorer and his successful partnership with Mark Bright helped to take the club into the first division in 1988/89, in the same season the club's supporters voted him their favourite player.
George Graham broke Arsenal's club transfer record when he paid £2.5m to bring Wright to Highbury in September 1991. Wright quickly became a hero to the Highbury faithful when he got off the mark for the Gunners in his League Cup debut against Leicester City, following it up with a hat-trick on his league debut against Southampton. The talented forward would soon win his first England cap under Graham Taylor.
Wright was Arsenal's top scorer for six successive seasons and he won a league and FA Cup double with the club in 1993 and a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1994. In 1995 Wright was prolific in Europe yet again, where he scored in every round of the Cup Winners' Cup but the final. After forming a superb partnership with Dennis Bergkamp, Wright helped Arsenal to more silverware in 1997/98, as they won the Premier League and FA Cup double.
Wright was 34 when he left Arsenal for West Ham, but he left a legacy behind - having eclipsed Cliff Bastin's record as the club's all-time record goal record of 179 goals. In total, Wright notched up 185 goals in 288 appearances for Arsenal and the record has only been beaten by one man since - Thierry Henry.
In 2002, two years after his retirement from football, Wright was awarded an MBE for his services to the game. Just three years later he was inducted into the English football hall of fame.