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Mark Wright on giving football another shot after ‘pressure’ made him retire at 20: ‘It made me stronger’

Mark Wright: The Last Chance
Mark Wright’s journey with Crawley Town is the focus of a new documentary series (Picture: BBC)

Mark Wright is ready to give a professional football career another shot with Crawley Town, having retired from the sport when he was 20-years-old after ‘falling off the bandwagon’.

The former Towie star is going back to his first love for BBC documentary Mark Wright: The Last Chance.

The presenter had a promising start in the beautiful game as a teenage Tottenham Hotspur youth captain, and was on the cusp of the first team.

Mark says he experienced ‘a lot of pressure’ at a young age which shook his confidence and ‘mentally I wasn’t into it’.

However he feels the tough times helped him develop a ‘thick skin’ as an adult.



‘It was tough’ he told Metro.co.uk.

‘I think becoming a football player at a young age shapes you into being a strong man, because you have to take a lot of knocks. As well as the highs come the knocks.

‘When I see people, trolls on Instagram for an example, which sometimes happens to everyone, my skin is too thick to allow it to bother me because I’ve been in football.

‘I’ve been released from football clubs, I have had managers scream at me and tell me I’m not good enough. So you kind of grow up and it makes you a stronger man.’

The 33-year-old has signed to Crawley Town, and the series will follow his progress after joining the team.

Having the cameras around him wasn’t something he wasn’t keen on initially.

‘I just wanted to get my head down and get on with it,’ Mark said, ‘but it’s the BBC and I know they do things properly.’

Mark Wright The Last Chance
Mark is hoping to land an appearance at a match against Leeds United (Picture: BBC)

Understandably his team mates were ‘a little bit shocked and confused’ to see a famous face rock up, but they have been ‘completely and utterly respectful’.

‘They welcomed me with open arms and I actually earned my stripes at the same time’ he said.

Mark feels it is his ‘last chance’ as he has ‘time on his hands’ due to the pandemic.

He is not alone, as his nearest and dearest – particularly his dad – are behind him all the way.

Football runs in the family too as Mark’s brother Josh has experience playing for Leyton Orient in League Two.

Mark Wright
Mark has rekindled his love of football (Picture: Rex)
Josh Wright on the football pitch
Mark’s brother Josh plays for Leyton Orient (Picture: Getty)

There is no competitiveness between the siblings either, and the radio presenter revealed the best piece of advice his brother gave him: ‘That I’m good enough and to take the shackles off’.

‘He has given me loads of advice, he’s been around the block. There’s no one better to ask than my brother, we’re so close and he’s been with me every step of the way.

‘There’s no competitiveness at all, we just want each other to succeed.’

His new series will also see him find out if he lands an FA Cup third appearance against Premier League side Leeds United.



Asked what such an opportunity would mean to him all these years on, the TV star said: ‘It would be incredible. I don’t think I’ll be playing. If I’m involved I’ll be on the bench but if I get any minutes I’ll be very happy.’

Mark Wright: The Last Chance is on BBC iPlayer now.

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