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Sammy Nelson

2612560



447117232

2011-08-28T09:55:50Z



Number 57

327289



Correct date formatting, replaced: football (soccer) → Association football, years1 → , → image=fullname=Samuel Nelson, playername=Sammy Nelson(age 2016)

Samuel "Sammy" Nelson (born April 1, 1949 in Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a Northern Ireland former football player, who joined London club Arsenal on his 17th birthday in 1966.

Originally a left-winger, Nelson was later moved back into defence to become a left back. He was a regular in Arsenal's reserve side for several seasons, before making his first-team debut against Ipswich Town on October 25, 1969. However, he was understudy to the Gunners' established left back, Bob McNab, and it wasn't until McNab was injured in the 1971 72 season did he become a regular in the side. Even then, whenever McNab returned from injury, Nelson was forced to step down to being reserve.

In the meantime, Nelson had made his debut for Northern Ireland, as a sub against England on April 21, 1970. Nelson went on to win 51 international caps, including two of Northern Ireland's matches in the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

McNab left Arsenal in the summer of 1975, and Nelson finally became Arsenal's first-choice left back. For the next five seasons he was a near ever-present in the Arsenal side, and he played in all three of the Gunners' successive FA Cup finals (1978, 1979 and 1980 but only winning the middle of the three) as well the Gunners' 1980 Cup Winners' Cup loss on penalties to Valencia.

An aggressive, hard-tackling full back, Nelson was a crowd favourite and known for his cheeky sense of humour.

With the arrival of England international Kenny Sansom at the club in 1980, Nelson once again found himself in the reserves. He left Arsenal in 1981 to join Brighton & Hove Albion. He played 339 first-class matches for the Gunners in total, and scored 12 goals.

Nelson spent two seasons at Brighton; although unable to save the side from relegation in 1982 83, he did reach another Cup final (his fourth) that season, losing to Manchester United 4 0 in a replay, after a 2 2 draw in the final. Nelson retired from football that summer, and after spending a season as a coach at Brighton, he left the game completely and went into the insurance industry. He is currently a tour guide at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium as part of their "Legends Tour".

Nelson is married to Helen and they have a daughter named Emily and a two sons named Peter & James. Emily is married to English cricketer Matthew Prior, and they have a son named Jonathan.




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