Stop Trying!

Source: Market Wallpapers.
Source: Market Wallpapers.

As a youngster, football was Ian Wright’s life.

He lived for it, spent all his waking hours playing it.

He knew he was going to be a professional.

As a teenager he went on trials and gave everything.

He had a trial at Southend, but they turned him down.

He knew it was just about trying harder.

He had a trial at Brighton.

But they turned him down.

He tried even harder.

Leyton Orient turned him down.

So he tried harder and harder.

Charlton turned him down.

Millwall turned him down.

Eventually he became disheartened.

He was into his twenties by now.

He couldn’t try any harder, he’d given everything.

If he hadn’t made it by now it was pretty clear he wasn’t ever going to.

So he began working at a refinery in Woolwich.

It was dirty work.

But it was a regular job with regular money.

And he had a wife and child to support now.

He had to settle down and get real about what his responsibilities were.

But he still loved football.

So he played amateur football at the weekends, with a club called Dulwich Hamlet.

One weekend a coach from Crystal Palace spotted him playing.

He wrote to him and asked him if he’d like to come along to the club for a trial.

Ian had accepted that his football career was over so he wouldn’t bother.

There was no point in starting all that again.

At his refinery job, he showed the letter to the guy who was in charge of his section, Garry Twydell.

Garry had been a professional footballer for a couple of years.

He took a different view.

He said “This is your chance Ian, you have to try. If you don’t you’ll never know and you’ll always regret it.”

Ian said the trail was two weeks, he couldn’t take that long off work.

He couldn’t risk losing the job.

Garry Twydell said “Look, take a week off, say you’ve got  family problems. Then another week sick leave. I’ll back you up. You won’t lose the job.”

And eventually he persuaded Ian Wright to take the time off work and go along to Crystal Palace for the trial.

Ian Wright expected the trial to go the way every other trial went.

But at least he had his job to go back to, so he could relax.

He stopped trying so hard.

He just enjoyed himself playing football for every minute for the next two weeks.

Like a holiday.

And an amazing thing happened.

With no pressure on him, just playing for the love of it, he was absolutely brilliant.

The trial went so well that Crystal palace signed Ian Wright.

Long after he thought all chance had gone, he signed professional.

In his first season he scored 24 goals.

In 5 years at Crystal Palace he scored 117 goals.

He was voted their “Player of the Century”.

Then Arsenal bought him for a club record £2.5 million.

Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in Britain.

He scored 24 goals in his first season at Arsenal.

He was their top scorer for the next six years.

In 1997 he became Arsenal’s highest-ever goal scorer.

During his time at Arsenal he won the Premier league once.

He won the FA Cup twice.

He won the League Cup once.

He won the European Cup Winners Cup once.

And in 2005 he was voted into the English Football Hall of Fame.


All because he gave up, and stopped trying so hard.

Stopped working at it and started enjoying it.


Originally posted on The Gate London

Nathan Jeffery
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