Soccer Saturday icon Charlie Nicholas brought fan out of coma in miracle

Football legend Charlie Nicholas performed a “miracle” – and brought a fan out of a coma.

The former Soccer Saturday favourite was playing for Arsenal when he visited a supporter who had an accident. David Dein, a Gunners vice-chairman at the time, revealed: “Another side to Charlie was his warm character. Every club gets letters from people who are ill or suffering, and I received one from a mother who told us about her son, Russell Brown.

“He was 17 years old and a postman. He had been riding his moped, had an accident and was in a coma in Homerton Hospital. The medics didn’t know whether he was going to make it or not. His favourite player was Charlie Nicholas. The mother asked if Charlie might do something for him.

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“I buttonholed Charlie after training. ‘Charlie, read this letter,’ I said. ‘I’ve rung Homerton Hospital and they said we can go and see him.’ Straight away he said, ‘Mr Dein, when can we go?’ Charlie and I made an appointment.”

David, 79, said that Charlie had a great first touch – when he laid his hands on the troubled Gooner. The goal ace, now 60, shook him and urged him to wake – and the next day he did.

David explained: “We went to see this kid Russell and what I witnessed seemed a modern miracle.

“Russell was lying in his bed, in a coma, and the consultant explained that if he didn’t come out of his coma soon his chances would be slim.

“Charlie immediately started shaking Russell’s shoulders and said in quite a loud voice, ‘Wake up, wake up, we’re playing Spurs on Sunday. Wake up, Russell. Wake up, Russell.’

“Charlie wouldn’t let go. He said, ‘Come on, Russell, come on, Russell.’

“Amazingly, as we’re looking at the boy, I could see his eyelids flickering open and then close fully again. It was a very poignant moment. The following day, I received a call from Homerton Hospital. They told me Russell opened his eyes again.”

In his new book Calling the Shots, David said he still thinks about the miracle moment. He added: “Since then, every Christmas, I get a card from Russell with the two magic words – ‘Thank you’. I would like to contact him again and find out how he is.”

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