Ahead of the FA Cup final this weekend, there was only one person we could speak to from the Arsenal side of things; one person whose unyielding passion for the oldest competition in club football is unsurpassed; a legend in the game and in FA Cup folklore. That man, Ian Wright.

Larger than life, Ian Wright is one of the biggest characters in the game. His enthusiasm and passion is infectious, as we found out as he regaled us with tales from his playing career for the next instalment of our ‘Dial Up’ series. The legend offered up some candid insights into his playing days while he also opened up on a host of topics, including the financial side of the game and why it never mattered to him, as well as the importance of mental health in the wake of the renaming of the FA Cup final.

With an ability to influence generations of players even now, well beyond his playing career, Wrighty is arguably what is missing from the game today: an unapologetic fan of football who wears his heart on his sleeve. Football is what matters to him most (although don’t tell his misses that). It is his everything. Maybe it’s because success came relatively late for him and he had to work so hard for it. Or maybe it’s because without football, he wouldn’t be where he is today. Or maybe it’s because he’s actually just like all of us, and he simply loves the game. And of course, if Arsenal can get the job done on Saturday, he’ll love it that little bit more.

To get to Wembley and nearly not play, and then to come on after three minutes and score arguably one of the best goals of my career… to try and explain what that means and why the FA Cup means so much to me… If I only had that moment and I never went on to win what I won, that would’ve been enough for me”
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The manager of Greenwich Borough saw me playing and he said ‘We’ve got three games at the end of the season – I’ll give you £30 a game.’ I couldn’t believe it. So I played the first game and he didn’t give me the money. I played the second game and he didn’t give me the money. And I just thought he’s not going to give me any money. Then I played the third game and he gave me £90. £90 for playing football! We’re talking 1984 and I’ve honestly never felt so embarrassed taking money because it’s never been about the money”
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Watch the full interview with Ian Wright on IGTV. The FA Cup Final is Live on BBC One on Saturday 1st August. Kick-Off is 4:30BST.