Commanding centre half Ian Wright joined the newly-relegated Tigers in July 1996 having been on the fringes of first team action at Bristol Rovers for two seasons. Wright was immediately handed a first team place by manager Terry Dolan and his defensive consistency contributed to the Tigers losing only once in the League and sitting in the top six by early October. Wright’s importance was reinforced when he was absent for three games in October and City promptly lost the first two, twice conceding three goals. Although Wright returned at the end of October the form of Dolan’s side never picked up again and the club drifted into the lower half of the table by Christmas, even struggling to get past Yorkshire Coast minnows Whitby Town in the FA Cup. Wright scored his only goal of the season in a mid December Associate Members’ Cup victory over Chester, not that many City fans can confirm the goal as only 553 souls were in attendance, the club’s lowest post-WW2 gate for a senior fixture until the crowdless matches of 2020 and 2021. Wright continued to maintain a consistent presence in the City defence and started every remaining game apart from the last three fixtures.
In the summer of 1997 the club changed hands, Dolan was replaced by former England striker Mark Hateley but Wright retained his first team place. Form under Hateley at the start of the season was poor but Wright missed only one game by the end of November and scored a goal in the League Cup against Crystal Palace that saw the Tigers through on away goals. Dropped at the end of November, Wright came off the bench to score a consolation goal in a pre-Christmas 1-2 defeat at Leyton Orient (future Tiger Jason Harris scoring the Os’ second) and scored again in a 1-1 March 1998 draw against Darlington. But he was by now only an occasional first team presence, often coming off the bench, and was released in the 1998 close season.
Ian Matthew Wright was born in the Staffordshire city of Lichfield and came through the youth team ranks at nearby Stoke City during the late 1980s. He was handed his senior debut by Stoke in May 1990 a few weeks after his 18th birthday, the Potters having already been relegated to the Third Division. Wright remained at Stoke for three more seasons but managed only nine senior appearances in total and had a short loan spell at Corby Town in 1992. In September 1993 he joined Bristol Rovers and went straight into the heart of the Pirates’ first team defence for the whole of the 1993/94 season. However he was used more sparingly by manager John Ward over the next two seasons and when Wright left Rovers in the summer of 1996 he had made 64 senior appearances and scored once.
In the 1998 close season Wright joined Conference National side Hereford United and was quickly handed the captain’s armband. He was a mainstay of the Bulls’ defence for five seasons as they hovered in mid-table of English football’s fifth tier, making 146 appearances and scoring 16 goals. Having retrained as an electrician, Wright chose to step down to semi-professional level in the summer of 2003 and switched to Conference rivals Burton Albion. However a persistent ankle injury limited Wright to 20 appearances in just over a year at Burton and he retired from playing in November 2004.
After a period of rest he returned in the 2005/06 season to play for Hednesford Town, switching to Staffordshire rivals Chasetown in June 2006. However an eye socket injury sustained in his ninth start for Chasetown ended his playing career a second time. In 2007 he joined the West Midlands Fire Service and rose to Watch Commander status.
Date/Place of Birth: 10 March 1972, Lichfield
Hull City First Game: 17 August 1996, Darlington H (League Division 3), 24 years, 160 days old
Hull City Final Game: 2 May 1998, Cambridge United H (League Division 3), 26 years, 53 days old
Stoke City (1988-1993), Corby Town (1992, loan), Bristol Rovers (1993-1996), Hull City (1996-1998), Hereford United (1998-2003), Burton Albion (2003-2004), Hednesford Town (2005-2006), Chasetown (2006)
Hull City Record
Career: 87 apps, 4 goalsIan Wright
|1996/97||40 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||1|
|1997/98||25 (8)||2||1 (0)||0||5 (0)||1||-||-||1 (0)||0|