I’m A Celeb’s Ian Wright almost threw away football career by ‘smoking a spliff’

I'm A Celebrity star Ian Wright has revealed how he nearly threw away his career by smoking marijuana before a football match.

The football pundit. 53, has opened up about a random drugs test which gave him the wake-up call he needed to focus on football.

Writing in a column for The Sun in 2017, ex Arsenal player Ian penned: "Not long after I’d got myself into the first team at [Crystal] Palace at 21 I came far too close to throwing it all away, when the drug testers came to our game against West Brom.

"I’d been smoking weed since I was about 17, not in a smoke-myself-into-uselessness type of way and I wasn’t worried about becoming an addict.

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"I was like the guy who enjoys a few drinks now and again but is nowhere near being an alcoholic."

The Match Of The Day star revealed that he preferred smoking to drinking when he went out.

He admitted that he had been around weed smokers "from a very young age" and smoking had become his "end-of-the-week ritual".

Reminiscing about a random drug test, Ian penned: "We beat WBA 4-1 that Saturday, the whole team came into the dressing room still excited and then the drug testers arrived.

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"It’s the first time I’d ever seen them and I panicked inside – I’ve been smoking cannabis, less than 24 hours earlier, and if that test comes back positive that’s it. It is literally all over for me."

He recalled: "I’m practically paralysed while trying to act unconcerned. The guy says: "Drug test, number nine, Mark Bright."

"I’m sure he’s going to call my number next, number ten. He calls, "Drug test, number 11, Phil Barber."

"I sit down – more or less collapse – and think, 'Somebody’s looking out for me, now I know it'."

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The drugs test scare made Ian realise how much he would have let his friends and family down if he had been caught.

He continued: "If I had got caught on that drugs test it would have been beyond them, they just wouldn’t have understood it.

"From that day to this I never smoked a spliff again."

The TV and radio personality went on to admit that he'd spent 18 days in Chelmsford prison for the non-payment of car fines.

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He revealed his stint behind bars was a "eye opener".

Wrighty is currently a contestant on the popular ITV reality TV show where he will be taking part in a series of challenges and Bushtucker Trials in a bid to become King of the Jungle.

Fans will have to tune in to see if he follows in the footsteps of footballer manager pal Harry Redknapp and reign victorious.

I'm A Celeb continues on ITV tonight at 9pm

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