- The ex-Arsenal striker announced he will quit the show at the end of the season
Ian Wright has revealed the real reason why he quit BBC’s Match of the Day after 27 years.
The former Arsenal striker, 60, has opened up about his future plans and said he wants to watch more football once he quits the iconic programme at the end of the current Premier League season.
Wright said he wants to take his wife Nancy Hallam along because she makes him laugh – adding he’s especially keen to take in more women’s matches and his grandchildrens’ games.
The former England footballer, They Think It’s All Over captain and I’m A Celebrity contestant announced at the weekend he will quit the BBC football highlights show at the end of the season, initially saying in a brief social media post he wanted to do other things with his Saturdays.
Wright would watch Premier League games during the day on a Saturday so he could discuss them on air in the evening on MOTD.
Now he said he is going to take in more games but at all levels – from Arsenal ladies, who play at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, to children’s matches.
Wright’s granddaughter Raphaella Wright-Phillips, whose father is former Manchester City legend Shaun Wright-Phillips, 42, is a talented young footballer – with her skills seen across the country when a video went viral.
Wright, who has been a bid advocate for the women’s game, said: ‘I’m going to actually watch more football – I’m going to watch my granddaughter.
‘I’m going to watch a lot more women’s games down at Borehamwood. I’m going to watch a lot more Arsenal games just to be there just to be there with fans.
‘Go with my son and his missus – just go and be with them and be amongst it, just to celebrate when we win or when we lose.
‘And spend a bit more time with my missus, Nance, because she has to do so much on a weekend with the two girls who are getting to a certain age where they have to be up and down all over the place.
‘So I just want to be a bit more present on that.’
The father-of-eight Wright has two daughters, Lola and Roxanne, with Nancy, who he married in 2011.
He added: ‘I want to take Nance as well to more games so she comes, because she really makes me laugh when she’s watching the game.’
Wright also wants to spend more time watching his grandson D’Margio Wright-Phillips, 22, who has played at under 17 level for England, and appeared 17 times for Stoke City before going on loan to Northampton.
‘I want to see if I can watch my grandson play as well – he needs a bit more support now,’ he said.
‘It’s kind of fallen off a little bit for him, he’s at Stoke. So hopefully I can watch him some more, spend a bit more time.’
Wright added on his Wrighty’s House podcast: ‘It’s been a bit of a realisation because I’ve got so many cool things happening and I just want to give quality time to them.
‘So that’s what I want to do. I want to just go and do stuff where I watch games, spend time with people.
‘When you speak to players, even like on Insta you can link with players, like someone like Charlie Patino, I’ve been promising Charlie. I want to go and watch him.’
Patino, 20, is on loan at Swansea City from Arsenal, but has more recently found himself starting games as a substitute.
Wright has been married twice and said in his autobiography he had eight kids with four women.
Sharon Phillips is mother to his eldest boys Shaun and Bradley, his third son is Brett, first wife Deborah has a son Stacey and daughter Bobbi with him, he has another daughter Coco, 17, and the two girls with Nancy.
Olivia Martin is a dedicated sports journalist based in the UK. With a passion for various athletic disciplines, she covers everything from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis.