Nicholas backing Father’s Day campaign – and former club Arsenal
- Credit: Archant
He’s walked the walk and now former Arsenal and Scotland striker Charlie Nicholas is talking the talk by backing Prostate Cancer UK’s new Father’s Day campaign.
Soccer Saturday pundit Charlie has joined legendary host Jeff Stelling on all three of his epic March for Men walking events for the leading men’s health charity, raising more than £1million.
Dad Charlie ‘Chic’ Nicholas died in December 2009 after a fight with prostate cancer aged 76 and Charlie has paid tribute to his father by posting a message on the charity’s new virtual wall, Dedication to Dad.
Nicholas is looking forward to the return of football as his former club chase a place in the Premier League’s top four.
They resume with a mouth-watering clash against Manchester City this evening before taking on Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend.
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The weekend also marks Father’s Day, a special date on the calendar for Prostate Cancer UK. And it would have been Chic’s birthday on Saturday too.
“He was a magnificent man who supported me so much,” said Charlie, whose dad moved south with him when he made the move to Arsenal.
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“I’m not a big guy for presents and anything like that, I’m just not that type. When I was young, as a kid, all my family ever gave me was a ball and if I could get that, football boots or a Celtic strip I was very content.
“For me, Father’s Day is an appreciation of what my daughters will do for me, but it’s more an appreciation of my dad, Chic. His birthday was June 20th and Father’s Day always falls round about that, so the old bugger used to always get a double helping of presents of single malt whiskey that kept him going.
“I used to win a lot of tournaments when I was a footballer and I’d get player of the month and predominantly in Scotland we always got a bottle of whiskey, so I always gave it to my dad. It was just a thing that we did.
“So, Father’s Day is always a little reminder to me, as much as I appreciate my girls getting a card or taking me out, or getting me a bottle of wine, it’s Chic’s weekend, that’s what it is.”
At the start of June prostate cancer was announced as the UK’s most commonly diagnosed cancer for the first time, according to new figures - 10 years earlier than previously predicted.
It’s why Charlie continues to wear the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ pin badge alongside Stelling and co, with Soccer Saturday set to resume this weekend.
“The Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge means an awful lot to me,” added Nicholas.
“It’s incredible how aware people became of this little badge, how everybody wanted a badge, how they wanted to be associated with it, and that came to represent love and understanding and awareness.
“Doing the walks with Jeff and my wife and talking to other people about their stories have been the most amazing social experiences of my life. I could mention my dad, I could mention my sister, because she had a different cancer, but it was still cancer, so I could understand them, and they could understand me and it didn’t matter.”
Charlie can’t wait for the action to resume on Wednesday evening after what’s been a surreal period,
He said: “There’s been tremendously sad and hard things for a lot of people over these past months, and although football does, at different times, get a bad reputation it’s also a great supporter of great causes. Hopefully it brings people back to an understanding where football is appreciated.
“Of course there’s no fans in the stadium, it’ll be really weird, but I think when you see football back and the players are back to full flow, it’s just something that gives us that association with belief again. It shows that we’re moving forward, there’s a positivity to it, and I think really that positivity gives it a big jump.
“Then very soon people will be getting back to work and all that normality, hopefully bars and restaurants and socialising again, will all come back. I think football is the start of that.”
As for what’s in store for the public, Nicholas is expecting a tournament-style sprint to proceedings – with the formbook nowhere to be seen.
He added: “There’s nine games to go, so it’s going to be a sprint. And there’s no form guide at all. Watching the German football there’s no real advantage in playing at home, so it’s going to be quite dramatic.
“There’s going to be a lot of players who actually will not feel the same tension and that could be actually quite good for those that feel the pressure at home.
“Liverpool will obviously win the league, but the relegation situation is really interesting and there’s also the scrap behind Liverpool and Manchester City.
“Arsenal were doing well before the break and obviously they start with Manchester City, but their run-in is actually pretty favourable.
“So it’s going to be dramatic and I think there might be a few strange results. It’s hard to make predictions as we don’t know how things will go. It will change game by game. But it’s great that football is back and I’m desperate to see it get going again.”
The iconic Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ logo will spectacularly showcase personal, poignant and powerful messages this Father‘s Day (Sunday June 21) in an exciting and unique virtual venture.
In line with their mission statement ‘Men, We Are With You’, the leading men’s health charity has created a special public online space for dedications and tributes to dads and father figures as they shine a light on those affected by the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK.
Whether you are a dad, you have a dad or you’re remembering your dad, Prostate Cancer UK are asking the public to share a message or tribute on the new Dedication to Dad wall, where they can also make a suggested donation, to help fund lifesaving research and to give men more Father’s Days.
Highlighting what makes dads great, what we love about them and what we miss when they are lost too soon to prostate cancer, the Dedication to Dad wall is available on the charity’s Father’s Day hub prostatecanceruk.org/father with supporters able to donate and leave a message to celebrate or remember their dad.
Messages will also be shown on a series of supersized outside advertising ‘storm boards’ in London, Liverpool, and in Argyle Street, Glasgow all the way until Sunday evening.
Last week prostate cancer was announced as the UK’s most commonly diagnosed cancer for the first time, according to new figures – 10 years earlier than previously predicted.
That rate is largely due to increased awareness of the disease in recent years, and hot on the heels of the news, and their bid to get ground-breaking research back up and running again the exciting project was announced and provided a perfect platform for families to celebrate and commemorate their loved ones.
Designed by digital agency Psycle Interactive, the Dedication to Dad wall will allow supporters to click on a relevant icon and leave their message – and already many sons, daughters and loved ones have paid their own personal tributes.
The messages include one from Nicholas, which read: “Dad, you were a magnificent man and a loyal foot soldier who sacrificed so much to support me. Father’s Day was always Chic’s time, so we’ll raise a glass of single malt to you – Charlie.”
Reflecting on the new statistics, he added: “We have been naïve, bluffing it for too long, but I think that’s starting to diminish.
“When the diagnosis numbers go up, it is because people are asking more questions, are prepared to go and try and find out the truth of what’s going on in their body that they don’t know the answers to. So, you need to go to your professionals to find that out.
“And once you find that out, it might not be good news, but then you might find it out that the good news can come later, because you can get the treatment, you can get the professional advice. You may be told it’s good you came early and then something can be done about it, rather than the way my dad had to do.”
The Dedication to Dad wall is available on the Prostate Cancer UK Father’s Day hub prostatecanceruk.org/father with supporters able to donate and leave a message to celebrate or remember their dad.