Crawley sign Mark Wright as reality TV star makes football return

The League Two outfit announced on Monday that Wright – a TV personality, Heart FM radio presenter and Soccer Aid regular best known for being one of the stars of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ – had signed on a non-contract basis after a successful two-month trial that included an appearance in a behind-the-scenes friendly against Reading in November.

33-year-old Wright – whose younger brother Josh plays for Leyton Orient – spent time with Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham and Southend as a youngster and played for the likes of Lewes and Rushden & Diamonds at non-league level.

He was also on the books at Grays Athletic and had a spell on loan at Crawley during the 2006/07 season, featuring nine times and scoring a crucial winning goal against Tamworth as the club secured survival in the National League.

John Yems was in charge of Crawley that season and returned to the Sussex club for a second spell in charge in December 2019.

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“For 11 years since I fully retired from serious football I’ve missed it every day,” Wright told his 1.7 million followers on Instagram.

“My life took a complete U-turn when I was 22 and it’s been the best 10.5 years I could have ever dreamed of but my love for the game has never gone away and the fact that I never played a professional game in the Football League has always niggled away at me.

“If I don’t do it now, I never will and at 33, reaching the older side of a professional footballer… it has to be now.”

Crawley are currently 13th in the fourth tier after winning six of their opening 17 matches in 2020/21 and host Bradford City on Tuesday night before travelling to Leyton Orient this weekend.

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