Despite all his success in the showbiz world, Mark Wright has been haunted by his football failures.
The TV personality was destined to become a top level player, but fate intervened and he fell down the leagues before giving it all up. to head into the showbiz world.
A combination of complacency and nerves meant he only ever played at non-league level before finding fame on The Only Way is Essex and heading into the glamorous showbiz world.
After being out of the beautiful game for over a decade, Mark joined League Two side Crawley Town a month before his 34th birthday and is determined not to repeat the mistakes of his youth.
"The day I got released by Tottenham was one of the worst days of my life. I cried my eyes out. I realised I had messed up," said Mark in his BBC documentary The Last Chance.
"But you don’t look back and regret you look back and learn and if I don’t do it now I’m never going to do it. This is my last chance."
Mark finally made his league debut at the weekend – but it ended in disaster.
The reality TV star made his full debut for Crawley Town in their match against Harrogate, but it was cut drastically short.
Mark started at left back but was hauled off at half-time after his side went 3-0 down in the first 45 minutes.
To make matters even worse Mark's replacement went on to score in the 3-1 defeat – with Crawley manager John Yems admitting the team's first half was performance was "nowhere near acceptable at any professional level"
"It wasn't Mark's fault, but today it was farcical first half, absolutely farcical," confessed Yems.
It was another setback in Mark's roller coaster football career, which has left him full of regret and disappointment after he made a life-changing mistake.
From an early age Mark was playing football in the house and garden with younger brother Josh Wright, who reached the heights of the Championship.
Josh went on to have a fantastic career as a professional footballer, leaving Mark to dream of what could have been if he had stuck at it.
"Every time I watch him I sit in the stands thinking, ‘I wonder if I could have done this’," said Mark.
"I see my dad and my grandad looking on smiling at him and proud. My dad loves what I do but he doesn’t love anything more than what my brother does.
"And I never got to show him the full story of where I could have done so this is me bringing that back and trying to rewrite where it started."
Mark started his career at West Ham United and Arsenal before becoming captain of the Tottenham Hotspur youth team, but he made a career defining blunder.
After his first season a Spurs, where he played in the reserves alongside big names such as Jamie Redknapp and Helder Postiga, but threw it all away on a boozy holiday to Spain.
The Essex party boy returned back home a stone overweight after drinking and eating whatever he liked for the summer.
He was so off the pace that even the goalkeepers were beating him in pre-season fitness drills and he never pulled it back.
"It ruined my career. I remember the boss looking at me going, 'What have you done?'," explained Mark.
"I realised I had messed up. Didn't want to face my family or friends. I was embarrassed.
"I had it all. 18-years-old, going to clubs. I thought it was done. I've been spilt played for Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham all my life. Never had to suffer when it comes to football."
Mark then tried to regain his form at League One Southend United and played once for the England C team before falling further and further down the leagues.
"That kind of is the point I look back at where it all went wrong," he confessed.
"Instead of thinking I’ve got to get back, train harder and longer, do what I’m doing now, stay longer with the fitness coach and on your day off.
"If I could tell any one player now don’t do what I did. The hardest players make it and that’s what I didn’t do."
Mark continued playing football while working as a stockbroker and doing nightclub promotion.
He was "running on fumes", working in London, then travelling to Hertfordshire and Essex to play football before going back into the city to work in clubs.
Eventually he packed in playing football to start his media career, finding fame on TOWIE then appearing on Strictly Come Dancing and I'm A Celebrity.
But his passion for football was reignited while playing in the celebrity Soccer Aid matches – winning acclaim from some big names,
Harry Redknapp said he didn't see why Mark shouldn’t have made it, while Sam Allardyce said ability wise he should have done.
Determined to have one final crack at playing in the football league, Mark secretly trained with Crawley for two-and-a-half months before signing for them on a non-contract basis in December last year.
He received support from former pros including Danny Murphy and Jimmy Bullard, while John Terry said: "100% you’re good enough so go and enjoy it."
While Mark has faced criticism for what some critics deem a 'publicity stunt', he insists that he has always been a footballer rather than a TV personality.
"It’s hard for people to see past what they know me for and being a professional footballer," said Mark.
"Cause I know how I would feel if it was happening to someone else. You’d automatically think ‘What’s all this about?’.
"But I started as a footballer, I didn’t start as a TV presenter or TV personality. Those things don’t come naturally to me. Those were the hardest things I’ve had to work on.
"If someone said to me what’s your talent, which gets said a lot, I’d say football.
Having been out of the game for many years doing reality TV, Mark worked hard on the training ground wile juggling his other commitments.
"It’s escapism from my normal career. I’m being treated like a normal player and getting my head down working hard," he said.
Mark has been leaving home at 7am every day, playing football then going to work on Heart radio, finally getting back at 11pm.
He feels like he is "burning himself out" and wife Michelle Keagan tells him he's doing too much, but he realises it's his last shot to finally make it as a footballer.
Mark got on the pitch for the first time in the third round of this year's FA Cup in January as a 90th minute substitute in Crawley's victory over Premier League Leeds United.
Brother Josh, who also signed for Crawley Town, also came on as a sub in the impressive giant kiling.
"Nothing can replace the changing room. Being with the lads, being ribbed, being bantered," said Mark once the celebrations died down.
"The manager shouting at you because you played a bad pass. Feeling cold and muddy. You’ve lost you’re annoyed, happy cause you’re annoyed. Being part of a group.
"I love my job but it’s a bit of a lonely world at times. It’s different to being a footballer.
"When all this is said and done and the cameras are out the way I’m playing for Crawley Town and I’m doing my best."
*Mark Wright: The Last Chance is available to watch on BBC iPlayer
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