I can only remember two Charlie’s playing for Arsenal, Charlie George and Charlie Nicholas. George was a character who went from watching his team from the stands to playing on the green green grass of Highbury. 1970-1971 was his season, or at least it was in my head. That FA Cup goal and his subsequent celebration is a picture etched on my brain for life.
Charlie Nicholas joined Arsenal from Celtic back in June 1983 for a transfer fee of £750,000, making him at the time the second most expensive export from the Scottish League. Whilst in London though, his lifestyle away from the game attracted attention from Fleet Street’s finest and it wasn’t long before “Champagne Charlie” stuck. Two drink driving bans within two years did him no favours. Five years after joining Arsenal, he headed back across the border.
Arsenal now have another Charlie, Charlie Patino who every Arsenal fan will already know about. Rumour has it, he’s set to play against Wimbledon next Wednesday.
Whatever age level a player scores a goal like Patino did against Man Utd just a few days ago, it has to be applauded. I loved this line from TalkSport: “Remember the name, Charlie Patino… because Phil Jones and Dean Henderson certainly will.”
He’s 17 years old, 18 next month and his very slight in build but he’ll bulk up I’m sure as he ages and does more work in the gym. He’s already played with the first team this season albeit in a friendly against Brentford but he certainly didn’t look out of place. The central midfielder, who has the ability to play in the holding role too according to TransferMarket, came to Arsenal from Luton and Arsenal’s scout at the time, Brian Stapeleton, said he was the best youngster he’d seen in all his years of doing his job.
There was a time when a 17 year old probably wouldn’t be considered to make his first team debut against Wimbledon but today’s Wimbledon are very unlikely to be anything like the Crazy Gang. For starters, they wouldn’t get away with and even with just seven fixtures completed, in all likelihood, they’d have seven players suspended, perhaps more but even so, they won’t be rocking up at The Emirates to just take part. They’ll see a big scalp ready for the taking, especially if Arsenal have a stinker on Saturday. Annoyingly, neither of the next two Arsenal fixtures are televised so if Patino does make his debut, many of us will have to watch via a grainy stream.
As for the Burnley game, Mo Elneny and Rob Holding are recovering from injury but the rest are fit according to Arsenal.com. Good.
See you in the comments. No doubt someone will tell me that another Charlie has played for the club and no, I don’t mean a ‘Right Charlie’ – I know we’ve had plenty of them…..