Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has been reunited with his Golden Boot award – among other memorabilia – after a collector bought it to return to him.
Wright, 57, lost a huge stash of trophies, shirts and mementos from his glittering career, including hat-trick balls and a commemorative jersey given to him by Arsenal.
Having fallen into the hands of a collector in the United States, the price being asked for meant it was prohibitively expensive.
Eventually Classic Football Shirts – a UK company specialising in the buying and selling of retro tops – negotiated a price they were happy with, and invited the Premier League great to be reunited with his belongings once more.
They did so to say say thank you after Wright appeared in a video of theirs looking back at his career.
“Everything in that collection is unique. It’s just one of everything, they’re special items,” said Matt Dale, 35, co-founder of Classic Football Shirts with Dougie Bierton.
“We paid what it was worth, knowing what it was worth. The reason why we did it is because a lot of times these collections can be put into auctions and split up, which I think maybe would have happened with this seller if he hadn’t got a buyer.
“If it had got put in an auction all of his possessions would have ended up across the world and he never would have been able to get them back.
“It was our own money, we thought it would be a nice thing to do.”
Dale said the items were initially for sale at “a crazy amount” but added “we obviously know the value of everything”.
In an Instagram video, Wright pointed to match balls, such as one signed by David Rocastle, but made it clear that the most valuable item to him was his 1991/92 Golden Boot award for being the First Division’s leading goalscorer.
“If I could only have one thing on display it would be this, it would be this. This means the world to me, more than anything,” Wright said of the trophy.
“He’s obviously a very emotional and honest person, you can tell from how he is with everything on TV,” said Dale.
“There’s not really much of a filter, I don’t think, whereas other people are more media savvy and put on a certain persona. He’s just very much himself.
“We did think he’d have a good reaction to it and we weren’t disappointed.”