Ian Wright's £7 million memorabilia haul sold off after ex-wife failed to keep up with storage payments
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has expressed his dismay after discovering a hoard of his playing memorabilia sold off by debt collectors in America.
Around 500 items from Wright's garlanded career - including signed shirts, goal of the month trophies and his This Is Your Life red book - are now up for sale on an online auction after being purchased anonymously for £7 million.
The collection was re-possessed after Wright's first wife Deborah failed to keep up payments on a storage unit in Orlando, Florida.
Wright told The Sun: “It's a sad situation when you have been trying for so long to get your memorabilia back and then find out it’s turned up in a lock-up in America which has now been repossessed.
“It's just really sad that it has come to this.”
Wright married Deborah in 1993. They separated in 2004, and it is claimed that she has rented the storage unit in Orlando since.
A fan bought the paraphernalia at auction before putting it up for sale on the classified ads website Craiglist to a second buyer who wishes to remain anonymous. The items are now for sale on a website called 'County-Cards'.
Among the collection is a signed Arsenal shirt with Wright and the number 185 on the back, commemorating the day Wright broke the club's all-time goalscoring record against Bolton Wanderers in 1997.
“I searched all of America looking for soccer jerseys to buy and I came across the picture of the framed ‘Thank You 185 jersey’ which caught my eye,” the anonymous buyer told The Sun.
“The guy who was selling it said he bought storage units for a living and one of the recent auctions he went to they were auctioning off Ian Wright’s ex-wife’s unit."
An Adidas Golden Boot, an FA Premier League Hall of Fame Trophy and Premier League Player of the Month awards are among other collectors' items in the haul.
Among the six football shirts, an England strip worn by son Shaun Wright-Phillips has particular sentimental value.