Sportsmen and women often have the ultimate rags-to-riches stories; the meritocratic nature of the sporting world means that anyone with the natural ability to play sports can succeed
And many do, going from humble backgrounds to millionaire superstars in the space of just a few years.
There’s another kind of success story in football that’s less often talked about, however, and that’s the players who have a bit more of a slow burning career.
These players often start in the lower leagues and make their way up to play in the premiership, and Les Ferdinand and Ian Wright are prime examples.
Football players with this type of success story often make motivational speakers, because they can speak with authority on the importance of persevering with your chosen career and the potential dividends that hard work and dedication can pay.
Of course, they’re also often very famous faces and recognisable names, which never hurts if you’re planning an event – it can offer an extra incentive for invitees to attend! Find out more about Ferdinand and Wright below:
Les Ferdinand had quite a pedigree when he started playing football professionally; not only did he count brothers Rio and Anton Ferdinand as cousins, but he was also related to Kane Ferdinand.
The striker and coach now works at his former club, Queen’s Park Rangers, but he started off somewhere more humble; at AEL, followed by Southall and Hayes – all non-league clubs.
After being spotted by QPR, Ferdinand was eventually plucked from relative obscurity and became a household name, playing first for QPR and later notably for Newcastle and Tottenham, among others.
The Londoner was even called up to the England team, earning 17 caps over the course of his career and cementing his name as a star of British football.
It wasn’t until he was 22 that Ian Wright was signed for a professional football team, and in fact he had all but given up hope of it happening when a Crystal Palace talent scout invited him for a trial.
At the time, Wright was playing for Dulwich Hamlet, the most recent in a string of non-league and amateur teams. In a period of poverty immediately following the birth of his first child, Wright had been sent to prison for driving without tax or insurance, and it was this event that spurred him on to renew his efforts in being signed, in order to provide for his family.
After this slow start, Wright was eventually signed for first Crystal Palace, then Arsenal for a record fee of £2.5 million.
By the end of his career, Wright had played for several major clubs as well as for his country, and has enjoyed a successful stint in broadcasting since then – a long way to come from a prison cell!
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Both have fascinating stories, but if you’re looking for something else, you’ll find plenty of footballers to choose from on the roster at MN2S.