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Charles "Charlie" Nicholas (born 30 December 1961) is a former professional football player from Scotlandmarker. During his career, he played as a striker for Celtic, Arsenal, Aberdeen and Clyde, and made 20 appearances for the Scottish national football team. Since retiring as a player, he has worked as a sports journalist.

Nicholas started his career with Celtic, making his debut in 1980, at the age of 19. He had a superb 1982-83 season which saw him score fifty goals and win the Scottish Footballer of the Year and Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year awards.

Nicholas had the envious choice of being offered a contract at Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. He had interviews at both Liverpool and Manchester United. The Scottish players at Liverpool at that time were trying their best to persuade Nicholas to join them. Nicholas later stated in his autobiography that turning down Liverpool was the biggest mistake of his career.

He moved to Arsenal in June 1983 for £800,000. However, Nicholas did not live up to the hype surrounding his move;, which had much to do with an horrendous injury away at Nottingham Forest, and the clubs subsequent bulking-up of the young Scotsman. His lifestyle in the capital was the subject of much tabloid speculation, earning him the nickname "Champagne Charlie"; he only scored 11 goals in his first season (although two were a memorable brace against Tottenham in the North London derby). Nicholas barely broke double figures in the following seasons, and fell out with Arsenal's new manager George Graham with the latter's arrival in 1986. Despite scoring both goals in Arsenal's 2-1 League Cup final victory over Liverpool in 1987, Nicholas was dropped at the start of the 1987-88 season in favour of new signing Alan Smith.

In all he scored 54 goals in 184 matches for the Gunners before he was sold to Aberdeen in January 1988 for £400,000, and rediscovered his form before returning to Celtic in 1990. He played briefly with Clyde before retiring in 1996. He won a total of 20 caps for Scotland, scoring 5 goals.

He now earns a living as a pundit on the Sky Sports News programme Soccer Saturday, and as a part-time newspaper columnist.

References

  1. BBC Sport: Were you there?
  2. Arsenal's A to Z: N is for...
  3. 1986-1987 Remembered: George Graham’s Arsenal win the League Cup
  4. Arsenal.com On this day in...



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