Ian Wright reveals he sparked tunnel brawl vs Man Utd by punching Steve Bruce
Ian Wright has revealed he once sparked a brawl in the Old Trafford tunnel after leaving former Manchester United captain Steve Bruce with a black eye.
The Arsenal legend was no stranger to controversy over the course of his eventful career and often struggled to keep check of his emotions and his fiery temper.
Wright was infamously involved in a long-running battle with former Untied goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, but it was Bruce who bore the brunt of the former England striker’s combative nature.
Speaking with Gary Linker and Alan Shearer on the Match of the Day podcast, Wright recalled how he once confronted Bruce during a typically heated encounter between Arsenal and United, but ended up scarpering for the safety of the team coach once he realised the severity of his actions.
He said: ‘We were at Old Traffod and I always tried to run off of Brucey and to be fair he always played me pretty well. He always got me booked so I had to try and be a little bit calmer.
‘At Old Trafford the tunnel is down that end, me and Brucey are having a little tete-a-tete and then he’s gone ‘right that’s it you, I’ll see you in the tunnel’. The whistle goes and then you have to run down there and he bangs into my shoulder. I knew Brucey was going to get me.
‘The problem I had was Tony Adams and Bouldy were already too close to the end so I had no back-up. The biggest guys have gone in. I tried to run down the tunnel really quickly but Brucey was waiting for me, fist clenched, standing there.
‘I played possum. I said ‘what’s happening man, you know how it is?’ but all the time I was talking as I got closer to him I thought I’m in arm’s shot here and as he put his hands down I went bang right in his face.’
Rather than face up to the consequences of his actions, Wright disappeared before Bruce could retaliate and only subsequently apologised following a phone call from his England roommate and former United midfielder Paul Ince.
‘I then ran off and it all kicked off in the tunnel. Afterwards I went straight on the coach but Dicko and Bouldy said afterwards they went in the lounge and the doors opened up and Bruce said ‘where is he?’ but I was already sitting on the coach.
‘I spoke to Incey, we shared rooms with England. He phoned me on the Sunday morning and said ‘you’re bang out of order you’ve got to phone him’. I said sorry to him and told him my step dad told me ‘if you’re smaller you’ve got to get the first punch in’.’
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