Sir Alex Ferguson left Ian Wright in stitches after being told: 'You should have signed me' in 2016

  • Rob Swan
Sir Alex Ferguson had Ian Wright in stitches after being told: 'You should have signed me'

We all know about Jamie Vardy’s extraordinary journey from non-league football to the Premier League, but Ian Wright’s story is arguably even more incredible.

After a difficult upbringing, Wright spent two weeks in Chelmsford Prison during his younger years for non-payment of driving fines.

His brief spell behind bars made him even more determined to turn his life around and make it as a professional footballer.

Incredibly, Wright played Sunday League football up until the age of 21 before he was signed by semi-professional side Greenwich Borough.

But it wasn’t long before Crystal Palace spotted him and the rest is history.

Ian Wright was a huge success at Arsenal

Shortly before his 28th birthday, in September 1991, Wright became Arsenal’s then club-record signing after completing a £2.5 million move to Highbury.

Only Thierry Henry (228) has scored more goals than the Woolwich-born forward (185) in the Gunners’ 135-year history.

Ian Wright

Wright also went on to represent England on 33 occasions, scoring nine goals.

Sir Alex Ferguson must have been tempted to sign Wright after the live-wire forward scored two goals against his Manchester United side in the 1990 FA Cup final at Wembley.

After a pulsating 3-3 draw, the final was eventually decided on a replay, which United won 1-0 five days later.

But it was Arsenal who forked out a cool £2.5 million to secure Wright’s services in ’91.

Ian Wright to Ferguson: You should have signed me!

Years later, in 2016, Ferguson and Wright came face to face once again when United and Palace met in another FA Cup final.

Ahead of kick-off, Wright couldn’t resist telling Ferguson that he should have signed him.

“You should have signed me!” Wright told Fergie.

Ferguson, however, had the perfect response: “You were too f***ing dear!”

Wright fell about laughing before Ferguson added: “I like cheap buys!”

Watch the clip here:


Saying that, Ferguson had to point out that Rio Ferdinand cost “£29 million” – money very well spent, looking back at it.

Ferguson Rio

Perhaps Wright would also have been worth the money for Man Utd, but we’ll never know.

Also standing there was Paul Scholes, one of the greatest footballers in United’s history who, other than wages, didn’t cost the club a single penny.

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