Mark Wright on life after sport
What is Premier Legends Events and how did you come to be involved in it?
We got involved in fostering several years ago and we thought, well, there’s a shortage of foster carers and prospective adoptive parents and we knew that football was the biggest thing worldwide, and we thought, we’ll set up a company. I’d finished my football career and I wanted to get the business to run as a legends event, so to combine the two to raise awareness for adoption and fostering and just spread the word, not only in this country but worldwide, to make sure that children are looked after.
Whichever household you enter in this country or worldwide, someone will be talking about football, and if we could spread the world to help the children in the world that’s a job well done. There’s no bigger platform than football. The legends all still want to live the life and they still want to go on trips so we got involved, not only to do 11-a-side events, but to do corporate five-a-sides and then the winners play against the legends’ teams – it’s a full day out. So it’s about me using my contacts in the game to bring the legends to the table, to give them the life of travelling the world and spreading the word through their fame to try and recruit as many foster carers, or just raise awareness so that then people want to do something about it.
How did you find the transition from playing and coaching in soccer, and what led you into foster care and doing this with your life post career?
You are in your own little bubble, and it’s not a bad thing, but you’re so wrapped up in wanting to do well, striving to be the best you can in the professional world of football and you don’t look outside of that. So everything comes on top of you and then when you finish you think: what can I do?
Let’s be honest, how much awareness is there in the world still today about fostering and adoption? What does everybody perceive to be the pitfalls or the plusses of being a foster carer or adoptive parent? I don’t think many people really know or understand what goes on most of the time. And I was one of those people. And then when my wife opened my eyes, because she was a barrister in child protection, and both of us then wanted to get involved to see if we could play a small or a big part in it.
What’s the response been like from within sport, from former colleagues and teammates?
It’s been fantastic. [Former Everton and Wales goalkeeper] Neville Southall has become a foster carer himself after having spoken to me so that was fantastic. And lots of people say, ‘Fantastic job you’re doing, but it’s not for us,’ or ‘I’m too scared about this or that.’
Some have got children of their own and they can’t do that, but there are those that can do it and want to do it and I suppose everybody wants to get on board and help if they can in some small way.
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