Arsenal legend reveals his financial struggles

Ian Wright
Ian Wright

Former England footballer Ian Wright has revealed how he is struggling with tax woes as a result of poor financial advice at the height of his career.

The BBC pundit said he has been advised to declare himself bankrupt, although he refused out of fear he will never recover.

Wright, 52, said he is "at the complete mercy of HM Revenue & Customs", as he deals with the consequences of leaving his financial affairs to dubious advisers who targeted him and his fellow professional players in the 1990s.

Having once been the owner of "eight or nine" properties he was left with a single house that he had bought for his mother.

The former Arsenal and Crystal Palace star revealed his predicament, along with a frank account of his at-times turbulent personal life, in an upcoming autobiography.

"The only serious cloud in those skies is the income tax issues that have been with me for a while now," Wright said.

"It's not just me, either: there's a whole generation of footballers out there who are in the same boat and were wrongly advised and badly treated.

"The wave of financial advisers that appeared around the 1990s took our money to carry out the advice we paid them to give us but never paid the tax.

"They are long gone and have left us holding the baby. I'm not a tax fraud, I'm not a tax cheat, but at the moment I'm at the complete mercy of HM Revenue & Customs because of things that happened back then."

Wright, a father-of-eight, said he was "doing OK" financially, although he has been left having to work hard to support his family.

"I've had a couple of accountants that have advised me to go bankrupt. I refuse to do that because it would take me decades to get out from under that. I'd be about 85! My punditry career would be over," he said.

"I'd be a prominent black man who had a successful career and ended up bankrupt ... they'd probably say I spent it all on weed, or that I lavished it all on cars, clothes and an extravagant lifestyle.

"I wish I'd given more money to my family instead of financial advisers. I still wouldn't have any money but I doubt I'd have this tax bill."