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Ian Wright releases full statement explaining why he will quit BBC Match of the Day after 27 years

Ian Wright releases full statement explaining why he will quit BBC Match of the Day after 27 years

The Arsenal and England legend will leave the sport show after the season

Ian Wright has quit his role as a pundit on Match of the Day after 27 years.

The 60-year-old admitted this decision had ‘been coming for a while’ as he will exit the BBC show at the end of this football season.

Wrighty wrote on X earlier this morning (17 December): “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.”

The former England star added: “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."

Wright first appeared on MOTD in 1997.

After the Arsenal player retired from football in 2000, he went on to become one of the show’s regular pundits in 2002.

His statement continued: “I’m stepping back having made great friends and many great memories. This decision has been coming for a while, maybe my birthday earlier this year fast tracked it a little, but ultimately it’s time to do a few more different things with my Saturdays.

“I’m really looking forward to my last months on the show and covering what will hopefully be an amazing Premier League title race.”

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was quick to react to the news of Wright’s exit, as he posted on X: “It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to work alongside you, Ian. One of my favourite people on the planet. Farewell my friend.”

Fans called the star ‘one of, it not the most widely loved ex-pro working in the media today’.

BBC Sport

Others call him ‘easily the most insightful pundit’ and ‘one of the most likeable people on TV’.

As well as being a pundit on Match of the Day and at many live national and international matches, he has also been a very vocal supporter of women’s football, actively championing the sport.

Head of BBC TV Sport, Philip Bernie, also commented on his exit as he 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."

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: BBC, Football, Sport, TV and Film