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Football 'legend' drops in for drink

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 08, 2014

  • STARSTRUCK: Lee Gilbert and his sons Corey and Jake meet Ian Wright.

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FORMER Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright gave football fans in a North Cornwall pub a surprise when he turned up for a drink on New Year's Eve.

Wright, who scored 185 goals for Arsenal during the Nineties, paid a visit to the Bush Inn at Morwenstow.

Lifelong Arsenal fan Paul Jenkin and Lee Gilbert, a Tottenham Hotspur supporter, were thrilled to meet the star.

Paul said he had a call from Lee to say Ian Wright was in the Bush Inn with a group of family and friends.

"I had a quick shower, put on my Arsenal shirt and rushed down there," said Paul.

"Some of the others in the pub aren't football fans and didn't recognise him but I went over to him, held out my hand and he shook it. I told him he was one of my heroes and he was pleased at that."

The star, who is now a football commentator, was with a group of adults and children who were believed to be spending the new year near Bideford.

Pub landlord Colin Fletcher, who took over as landlord of the old inn last October, said they arrived at 3pm and stayed for a couple of hours.

"He was happy having a quiet drink with his family," he said.

Lee said: "I'm a Spurs fan but first and foremost I'm a football fan and an England fan.

"We were just loving that we were in the same room as Ian Wright. We sat down in the bottom bar and he was great.

"He came across as a lovely bloke. He's just like one of the lads. You could tell that if the bar had been full of football fans, he would have made time for every one of them. He was wearing a onesie and his gold tooth was beaming."

Lee's sons Corey, 9, and Jake, 7, who are both Manchester United fans, also got to meet the star.

"The next day we got up early and put Ian Wright's goals on YouTube. You forget what a great finisher he was. Some of his goals were out of this world."

Paul, who plays football for Morwenstow, recalled how he first watched Ian Wright play for Arsenal at Swindon Town in 1993 when the forward scored one of his greatest goals – a chip from long range.

Paul said: "It's not every New Year's Eve you walk into the Bush Inn and see an Arsenal legend like Wrighty."

They chatted about England's prospects at this year's World Cup.

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