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19th Dec 2023

Ian Wright explains real reason why he is leaving Match of The Day

Lee Costello

Ian Wright

“I’m going to actually watch more football.”

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has explained the real reason behind his decision to leave the Match of The Day programme.

The former striker has been a mainstay on the BBC show for more than two decades and has now decided that the time is right for him to leave the programme.

Initially the ex England international had said that the decision had been “coming for a while” and was “fast tracked” by turning 60 last month.

“Ultimately, it’s time to do a few more different things with my Saturdays,” the former England striker said.

“After my debut show whilst still a player in 1997 and many more memorable years, I’ll be stepping back from BBC MOTD at the end of this season,” said Wright, who will be on Sunday’s MOTD2 on BBC One at 22:30 GMT.

“I feel very privileged to have had such an incredible run on the most iconic football show in the world.Anyone that knows my story knows how much the show has meant to me since I was a young boy.

“MOTD is my Holy Grail. On my first ever show, I told [presenter] Des Lynam, ‘This is my Graceland’. It will always be my Graceland and I will always be watching.

“I’m stepping back having made great friends and many great memories. I’m really looking forward to my last months on the show and covering what will hopefully be an amazing title race.”

Ian Wright explains real reason why he is leaving Match of The Day.

Now a regular on Gary Neville’s Stick to Football podcast, the goal getter is still active in the world of football, but has explained that the reason behind his decision to leave MOTD, is so he can actually enjoy the game more.

“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. I’m going to watch a lot more Arsenal games, just to be there with fans.

“Go with my son and his missus, be amongst it, just to celebrate when we win or lose.

“It’s been a bit of a realisation that I want to give quality time to them. So that’s what I want. To watch games, spend time with people.

The show’s host, Gary Lineker, wrote: “It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to work alongside you, Ian. One of my favourite people on the planet. Farewell my friend.”

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