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ArseWEB presents - Sammy Nelson's bum!

FA won't turn blind eye to Nelson

"SAMMY NELSON, Arsenal's Northern Ireland international left-back, has been suspended for two weeks by his club and fined two weeks' wages for lowering his shorts in front of the crowd after equalizing in the 1-1 draw against Coventry at Highbury on 3 April (1979). He also seems certain to be charged by the FA with bringing the game into disrepute. Nelson's gesture came after he had been barracked by the crowd for putting the ball into his own goal in the first half. The player is extrememly contrite about his behaviour, and the only charitable thing that can be said is that it appeared to be entirely out of character."
This incident was fondly recalled by several members of the Arsenal mailing list, including Julian, who submitted the above report from 1979.
F. Greene remembers the incident...

I was at the match in question and, at the time, it was the subject of much discussion. The facts of the matter are that, when questioned by schoolmates on the following day, I could recall no barracking of Sammy whatsoever during the match despite his initial aberration. Sammy was adored by the Arsenal crowd for his agressive attacking play (he linked perfectly with Chippy) and he loved to carve lumps out of opposition ankles. A true Arsenal superhero who would have been forgiven instantly for the own goal.

My reading of the incident then (and now) was that he mooned out of sheer delight at having got even with the opposition. I believe the story about him having been barracked was made up in haste (possibly by the Press) who could think of no other reason for such a spontaneous display of jubilation. Their explanation has now become received wisdom but has never really been challenged.

My belief is strengthened by the fact that it was the North Bank which received the full brunt of Sammy's cheek. I suppose it's possible that there may have been some isolated whingeing in the Upper East Stand for example but the notion of the North Bank giving Sammy stick is just unimaginable. We loved him.


As does Mike Winnett..

My recollextion (excushe the spelling but I'm just back from Leicester:-( is that it took place near the North-east corner, right in front of the North Bank, not very far from where I was standing. Likewise I don't remember any barracking, Sammy was held in high esteem in the North Bank, and certainly the bum was definitely aimed in our direction. I'd agree with your explanation.


...and Bill Barber.

Remember it well ! it was a midweek game and the attendance was in the region of 48,000.The reason for that was that the club published the Cup Final application form in the programme on that night, no terrace season tickets in those days. The form had a space for each of your 24 vouchers from the home games, for those that don't know they used to put one in each home programme.


See also ArseWeb's Ex Arsenal people index for other stuff about ex Arsenal players.

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