Charlie Nicholas – Football Expert Or Arsenal Fan?

Charlie Nicholas

For the second time in as many days, I am expressing my displeasure at something I’ve just read on the Sky Sports website. Unlike yesterday’s complaint with the racist comment which you will find here, this complaint is due to the biased nature and complete lack of research that went into it. This isn’t the only article like this, there are loads of them on Sky Sports, especially from the Soccer Saturday “pundits” such as Paul Merson and Phil Thompson who can’t bring themselves to leave their club allegiances and personal bias in the past.

Charlie Nicholas, a former Arsenal player, wrote an article today saying that he believes only one English club out of four will win in the Champions League this week and what a surprise, the team he fancies to win are Arsenal. What’s worse is that at the top of the article, there’s a small picture of him and it says “Charlie Nicholas – Football Expert“. What it should say its “Charlie Nicholas – In House Arsenal Fan” which would be a far more accurate description.

There’s more too, at the top of the article which has a summary written either in third person or by someone else, it says, “Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City to slip up in the Champions League, fears Charlie Nicholas”. What it should say is “Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City to slip up in the Champions League, hopes Charlie Nicholas”.

If you didn’t know any better, hadn’t read much of the Sky Sports website or watched Soccer Saturday where Mr Nicholas is on the panel, you could accuse me of being cynical. However, every single week, he, Paul Merson and Phil Thompson cannot hide their bias for their previous clubs with Merson being a fellow Arsenal fan and Thompson being a scouser through and through.

Each week, you’ve got “Mersons Predictions” which pretty much consists of Merson predicting a win for Arsenal and a draw or defeat for Tottenham and Manchester United. Phil Thompson never has a bad word to say about Liverpool no matter how terrible they’re playing and cannot keep the smile of his face when they’re winning (rare these days) or the frown off when they’re losing. The only one that you get any sense of impartiality from on Soccer Saturday is Mat Le Tissier. I’m not including Jeff Stelling in this because he just sits, presents and asks questions rather than giving opinions.

Here is a vine that sums up Paul Merson’s predictions to Tottenham.

With that out of the way, here’s what I think is wrong with the article from Mr Nicholas. Aside from the obvious which is backing all teams apart from his beloved Arsenal to drop points, he hasn’t highlighted any reason as to why the other English teams should drop points in terms of their opponents and how they pose a threat. There’s no substance to what he’s saying. Here’s what he had to say for each of the games.

Arsenal vs Olympiakos 3-0 win for Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez looks sharp and Theo Walcott’s pace should make it a comfortable evening for Arsenal, according to Nicholas. I would be amazed if Arsenal win this game by 3 goals and I wouldn’t be surprised if they bottle it like they do in Europe every year.

Porto vs Chelsea 1-1

Of his predictions, this is the one I would be most likely to agree with. Chelsea have been poor so far this season and away to Porto is not an easy game. They are top of their league and haven’t lost yet so this will be a tough game for them, fair prediction overall.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City 1-1

Nicholas predicts a draw but the reasons he gives are that he “has no confidence in this City side” and the Germans will be able to “sit and take what City have got to offer”. That’s as far as his analysis goes for the German team, who currently sit 14th (out of 18) in the German league with just two wins. Does Nicholas even know who Borussia Monchengladbach are?

Manchester United v Wolfsburg 0-0

This is the worst of the lot. He predicts a no score draw because “Manchester United are top of the league but for the life of me I don’t know how” and he thinks United fans will be “bored” during the game. That’s the only analysis he gives. Fantastic job Charlie, thank you for using your football knowledge and years of experience to help a mere fan such as myself make a prediction on this week’s games. You’ve helped a lot of people with this piece. NOT.

I will revisit this later in the week, complete with what the actual results were from these games and we’ll see how Charlie’s insight (or Arsenal bias) served him for these predictions.

Sky Sports Accepting A Racist Comment


I’ve just been reading an article on Sky Sports about the impact Anthony Martial is having at Manchester United and I was disgusted by one of the comments I found which was racist towards two United players, Ashley Young and Anthony Martial.

The first important point to get out of the way is that comments are not automatically posted on the Sky Sports website, they have to be manually approved. Somebody working at Sky had to read this nonsense and approve it before it appeared on the website.

I’m trying to convince myself that the Sky employee was having an off day and didn’t pick up on the fact that Ashley Young and Anthony Martial were described as Maltesers. The person actually left two comments and the racist comment can be found at the bottom of the first one (underlined), here they are.

racist comment on Sky Sports

If you want to see this for yourself, here is the original article at Sky although they may delete it at a later date. They are posing under the name “manure fan” and calls Manchester United “fakechester united” so right off the bat you know that this person is either a child or a grown up with a child’s mentality.

When you actually read the comments, it’s difficult to understand how anyone could have such a mind set. Maybe they’re joking, you really can’t tell. In short, the point they’re trying to make is that the Premier League were embarrassed by how much United spent on purchasing Martial from Monaco so they drew up plans to get the referees on United’s side so that “malteser Young and Martial” can dive and get penalties.

United have had one penalty so far this season and it was nothing to do with either Young or Martial, it was a stone wall penalty for a foul on Ander Herrera vs Liverpool. Sky encourages discussion and they don’t want to be seen as biased so they approve a lot of comments, even if they are nonsense like the one above. The person reviewing it was probably rolling their eyes at how stupid the comment was and missed the sly racist comment that lies within.


EDIT – Less than 24 hours later, they have removed the offensive comment.

Anthony Martial Waste Of Money, Eh Ray?


When Manchester United shelled out an initial fee of £36 million to Monaco for Anthony Martial, eyebrows were certainly raised seen as how he’s the most expensive teenager in world football history.

According to some reports, there are add ons in his contract that could push the eventual fee up to around £60 million with clauses such as scoring a set amount of goals, international appearances for France (who have a fantastic up and coming team) and even winning the Balon D’or. All United fans would agree that if he triggers all the clauses, it will be money well spent.

As is so often the case with these kinds of transfers, the British media were all over it with sensational headlines about “waste of money” and several Sky Sports pundits had their say on the whole thing, with ex Arsenal player Ray Parlour chirping in with this in his “hit and miss” transfer article:


“I look forward to seeing him play but I think it’s going to be a miss, because the money they’ve spent is an unbelievable amount. With the money they’ve put out, I could be totally wrong but I’m going to say miss on that one.”

Ray Parlour, 8th September, 2015


In fairness to Ray, I shall say that we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes with Sky and it is the job of pundits to say “controversial” things unless of course your name is Phil Thompson and you’re the in house Liverpool fan.

Ray could perhaps have been asked to do a piece on transfer hits and misses from the final days of the transfer window, he couldn’t give a hit to everybody and because he knows nothing about Martial, he just looked at the price and went along with the media concensous that he’s an over-priced miss.

Whatever the circumstances, Ray Parlour is now on record as saying Martial is a miss without even seeing him kick a ball, with the exception of when the just turned 19 Martial tormented Arsenal of course last season and knocked them out of the Champions League.

So far, with 4 goals in 4 games, Parlour is looking a little foolish for writing Martial off based off the price and nothing else. Speaking of the price, Parlour says that Martial is a “miss” because of the “unbelievable amount” that was spent on him and £36 million pounds is a massive amount of money for most people. £36 million would change my life and the life of my family for many generations to come.

But for a global organisation such as Manchester United, £36 million is nothing at all. They are by far the richest football club in England and thanks to the incoming TV deal, return of Champions League football and the new Adidas sponsorship that started this season, they will once again have the highest revenue in world football in 12 months time.

This summer, Manchester United wanted a new striker, they were playing silly beggers chasing Neymar and Muller but I don’t think anylne believed that either were actually going to happen. There wasn’t anyone else around that could come in and make a difference, a genuine world class striker, so they had two options.

  1. Sit on their hands and do nothing, see Arsenal.
  2. Buy someone who can become world class in a few years.

United went with option 2 and so far, it is looking like a good decision. However, the best headline I’ve seen is this one

Martial waste of money

I’m not the only one, a lot of United fans are retweeting this image and if Martial continues his form and fulfils his potential, it wouldn’t surprise me if the image above goes down in United folk law, kind of like Alan Hansen with his “can’t win anything with kids” quote 20 years ago.

United host Sunderland tomorrow and if Van Gaal starts Martial or even brings him off the bench, it wouldn’t surprise me if he scores again, making it 5 goals in 5 games and at the same time, becoming the first United player in the Premier League to score in his first 3 games.