I’m pleased that former Arsenal striker Ian Wright will co-host Five Live’s 606 show this season. Wrighty’s my favourite footballer of all time.
I first interviewed him when I was an awestruck young football writer. I was so nervous I introduced myself twice as ‘Chas from Shoot‘. Wright turned this into a running joke during the interview: when anyone walked past, he stopped them and said: ‘This is Chas from Shoot.’ It was amusing, and also a really sweet way to put me at ease.
Years later, I bumped into him in the corridor after I was interviewed on TalkSport. He said: ‘I was listening – you’re good at radio, Chas’. I told him: ‘I was watching – you’re good at goalscoring, Ian.’ He burst out laughing.
I was there when he beat the Arsenal goalscoring record in 1997. He’d been on the brink of the record for so long, it was such a relief and joy to see him beat it. I loved his defiant attitude to terrace abuse, too. He loved nothing better than celebrating a goal in front of bores and bigots. Even they had enough brains to realise that their abuse had, if anything, spurred him on.
But my favourite Wrighty memory involves my Dad. The day after my Dad and I went to an Arsenal match together, during which the famous ‘Ian Wright! Wright! Wright!’ chant had rung out all afternoon, we were out in the car and my Mum was directing us. She said: ‘Turn left…..no, not left – right. Right! Right! Right!’ My Dad turned to her and said: ‘Who? Ian?’
Thumbs up to you, Dad. And thumbs up to you, Wrighty. Love, Chas from Shoot.