Where are they now?: Sammy Nelson

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The Independent Online
ARSENAL lost the 1980 European Cup-Winners' Cup final on penalties, the first side to suffer that fate in a major final. The decisive moment, when Valencia's goalkeeper saved from Graham Rix in sudden death, is fixed in the memory of Sammy Nelson, Arsenal's Northern Ireland left-back.

'Pat Rice and I were in the centre-circle discussing who would go next,' he recalls. 'I said, 'Go on, take some responsibility.' Pat replied: 'No. It's you next.' But as he said it Rix missed, so we didn't need to decide.'

Today, Nelson sells life assurance and pensions from offices in Charing Cross road, commuting by train from his home in Hove. 'It's funny, I never saw myself being part of the rat-race but now I find myself standing on the platform in the right place for 'my' seat, just like everyone else. Still, I'm not complaining.'

He left football in 1984 after one season coaching at Brighton, whom he joined from Arsenal as a player in 1981.

He remains a passionate supporter. 'Even after all this time I desperately want Arsenal to win. When I watch them on television I get so tense I sometimes have to leave the room.' Married with three children, he will be 45 on Friday.

(Photograph omitted)

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