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17th Dec 2023

Ian Wright to leave Match of the Day at the end of the season

Callum Boyle

Wright said it ‘had been coming for a while.’

Ian Wright has confirmed that he will step down from his role as a pundit on Match of the Day at the end of the season.

Wright, 60, first appeared on the programme in 1997 while still playing and following his retirement in 2000, he switched to working for the BBC full-time in 2002.

His first stint lasted from 2002-2008 before he returned in 2015. In May of this year, he featured alongside Shaun Wright-Phillips, making the pair the first father and son-duo to appear as pundits the show.

The former Arsenal legend admitted that it “had been coming for a while” and his decision had been “fast-tracked” after celebrating his 60th birthday last month.

Ian Wright to leave Match of the Day at the end of the season.

“Ultimately, it’s time to do a few more different things with my Saturdays,” he 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.

“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.”

He will continue to feature on Match of the Day 2 on Sunday and following his decision to step back, Head of BBC Sport Content Philip Bernie said:

“Ian has been a wonderful star player on MOTD since his first appearance over 20 years ago. His insight, wit and warmth have richly entertained and informed all those watching him. We will miss his unique style and presence when he goes at the end of this season, but we will be sure to give him the send-off he deserves.”

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