Charlie Nicholas Leaves Arsenal On This Day, 7th January 1988

He’d arrived five years earlier with a reputation to live up to.

The distance of time raises questions about whether he did but to be honest, I don’t really care. Despite the inconsistency, Charlie Nicholas remains one of my favourite Arsenal players. Oh, believe me, I saw the inconsistency, I was driven to distraction by the infuriating lack of effort.

And then you remember, the Tottenham defenders on their faces in front of the North Bank; ending title hopes at White Hart Lane with a great angled drive across Ray Clemence; the broken Liverpool hearts; Villa Park and sliding to Arsenal supporters on his knees with a flamboyant bow (not the one on the video below); the list could go on and will do so.

His career at the club had petered out, falling foul of George Graham. He hadn’t appeared in an Arsenal shirt since 20th October 1987 at Barnet, since the defeat at Loftus Road in the previous August. Ironically, he’d gone into 1987/88 in rich goalscoring form, with five goals in three friendlies at Ayr, Celtic and Brighton. His last first team goal in meaningful action had come in the 4-1 win over Leicester in April 1987.

But farewell Charlie, thanks for the memories.

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