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Mark Abraham Bright (born 6 June 1962) is a former Englishmarker footballer who is now a sports pundit and BBC London's sport presenter.

Football career

Early clubs

After a spell at Leek Town, Bright moved to Port Vale in October 1981. He made his full debut in a 2-0 home win over Torquay United, two weeks after coming on as a substitute in a goalless home draw with York City on 1 May 1982. He had earned a regular first team spot by April 1984 and scored in five successive matches, which brought him to the attention of bigger clubs. In June 1984 he was sold to Leicester City for £33,333. A fee later doubled due to a top-up clause.

Crystal Palace

He was then signed on loan to Crystal Palace by manager Steve Coppell, where he made his name as a supreme goalscorer and sophisticated striker throughout the most successful years the club has ever known. It was Bright's goals, along with those of strike partner Ian Wright that took Palace back into the top flight at the end of the decade.

'Brighty' earned the Golden Boot for the highest scorer in Division Two in 1987–88 with 24 goals. His efforts in the following season, in which he played every match, took him past his half century of league goals for the club. His 12 goals in Division One in 1989–90 were an important part of Palace's creditable showing, it was Bright's crashing drive at the start of the second-half that began Palace's recovery against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final and ultimately helped them to get to the final.

As Palace impressed in Division One throughout 1990–91 Bright proved his supreme predatory skills at the highest level with a sequence of seven top-flight goals in just ten midwinter games as the Eagles secured their highest ever league finish. Even after Ian Wright had left the club Bright continued his great form for Palace, and his 17 Division One goals in 1991–92 was, at the time, a record return for a Palace striker in the top-flight.

Sheffield Wednesday

Bright left Palace for Sheffield Wednesday in September 1992 in a cash plus player exchange deal involving fellow striker Paul Williams. He eventually became the Owls' highest goalscorer in the Premier League to date, scoring 48 goals between 1992 and 1996. One of his notable goals came in the All-Sheffield FA Cup semi-final in 1993, Bright's extra-time header sealing a place in the Final for the Owls. He was later loaned to Millwall before joining Swissmarker club FC Sion in January 1997. He finished his career with Charlton Athletic in 1999 after helping the club reach the Premier League the previous year, playing in their dramatic win over Sunderland in the 1998 play off final, which was won 7-6 on penalties after a 4-4 draw.

After football

Since retiring, Bright has become a pundit now appearing on the BBC show Football Focus. He also commentates on some international matches, often alongside Jonathan Pearce and Steve Wilson on Match of the Day. He is also the sports correspondent for BBC London News. In summer 2009 he joined the Crystal Palace academy set-up, along with his former teammate John Salako.

Bright has completed six half marathons since his retirement in 1999, all of them in the Great North Run. He is also a regular competitor in the London Marathon, raising funds for cancer research in 2000, the Willow Foundation in 2005 and The Rhys Daniels Trust in 2006. In 2006 he starred in Cirque de Celebrité, only to be the first person to be voted off. He also scored the first goal at the new Wembley Stadiummarker for a "Geoff Thomas Foundation Charity XI", in aid of his captain at Palace, Geoff Thomas a match which his team won 2–0 (Simon Jordan scoring the second goal) in March 2007.

Personal life

Bright's father was Gambianmarker and his mother was English, he was raised in his mother's hometown of Stoke-on-Trentmarker.

He met British singer and actress Michelle Gayle in 1995, the couple later married in Vegas and in 2001 had a son they named Isiah. They separated in 2007, though remain on good terms.

In his spare time he enjoys playing golf (a common feature of ex-footballers) and riding motorbike.

Honours

Individual


with Crystal Palace


with Sheffield Wednesday


with Charlton Athletic


References


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