Ian Wright recalls shocking story of Crystal Palace player bullying him at the club

Ian Wright is one of the greatest predators in front of goal that English football has ever seen.

Wright only made his way into professional football at the age of 21, but he soon showed the country what he could do.

Crystal Palace made the gamble to sign him from Greenwich Borough in 1985, and he went on to have a fruitful time at the club.

During his stay in south London, Wright scored 117 goals in 277 appearances; making him the third highest goal-scorer in Crystal Palace history.

He then made the move to Arsenal, where he continued his goal-scoring exploits, before enjoying short spells at West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley.


However, proceedings were not always plain sailing for Wright.

In fact, in a recent interview, the 54-year-old revealed that his start to life as a professional footballer was a miserable one.

Wright explained how he was bullied by his fellow teammate and captain at the time, Jim Cannon.

The Arsenal and Crystal Palace legend told The Times: “I went into a dark place at Crystal Palace. He (Cannon) was oppressive, a bully and he was nasty.

“He was threatened by me for some reason and I don’t know why. He was a horrible bully. It didn’t last long because once I started playing well, my confidence came and I didn’t feel that if I said anything they would let me go.

“When I told Steve Coppell [the manager] about it, he said he [Cannon] wouldn’t be around for long, that I should carry on doing what I was doing and stand up for myself.”


And Wright also recalled a training ground incident where Cannon kicked him in the back once after the forward nutmegged him.

Wright continued: “I wasn’t doing it to humiliate him but he kung-fu kicked me in the back.

“I’ll never forgive him. It was all about him being the boss, he was oppressive to everybody. After that incident, Coppell said: ‘Don’t worry, he won’t be here much longer’. At the end of that season he was gone.”


But Cannon has hit back at Wright for his accusations, claiming he was a ‘loud-mouth upstart’.

Cannon said: “I wasn’t a bully, he was just a loud-mouth upstart.

“I was an experienced centre half and I knew he was going to come up against people worse than me so I gave him a little slap one day and that was the extent of the bullying.

“I’m not interested in Ian Wright, he was an exceptionally good player and if he thinks I bullied him maybe I bullied him into being a good player.”

Regardless of who is telling the truth, there is still a clear animosity between the pair.

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