Gary Charles

Gary Andrew Charles (born 13 April 1970) is an English former footballer who played at right-back. During his career he is best known for his appearances with Nottingham Forest, Derby Country and Aston Villa and was capped twice for England. Charles was most recently the manager of Nuneaton Town.

Gary Charles
Personal information
Full name Gary Andrew Charles
Date of birth (1970-04-13) 13 April 1970
Place of birth Newham, England
Playing position Defender
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1993 Nottingham Forest 81 (2)
1989Leicester City (loan) 8 (0)
1993–1995 Derby County 77 (3)
1995–1999 Aston Villa 107 (4)
1999 Benfica 4 (1)
1999–2002 West Ham United 8 (0)
2000Birmingham City (loan) 3 (0)
Total 288 (10)
National team
1989–1991 England U21 8 (0)
1991 England 2 (0)
Teams managed
2018 Nuneaton Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Playing career

Born in Newham, London, Charles started his career at Clapton F.C.,[1] but first came into notability at Nottingham Forest, when he became a regular alongside Roy Keane, making his debut on 7 November 1987.[2] Due to his colour and skills, he was dubbed the Brazilian. His manager at Nottingham, Brian Clough, commented on his dribbling abilities by saying: "When Charles plays a one-two, he goes like a gazelle. It's so effortless - at first it looks as if he's not moving, yet he's 40 yards up the field."[3] In June 1991, he made his debut for England, playing two friendlies, against New Zealand on 8 June and Malaysia on 12 June.[4] Only a few days earlier, Charles was famously fouled by Paul Gascoigne in the 1991 FA Cup Final. This was the challenge that caused Gascoigne's cruciate ligaments to tear, forcing him out of the game for several months.[5] On 29 March 1992, he made the squad that won the Full Members Cup against Southampton.[6]

On 29 July 1993, he made a £750,000 move to Derby County, appearing 76 times for them during a two-year spell, which included honours for PFA Team of the Year in 1993–94. On 6 January 1995, he signed with Aston Villa for a fee close to £1.4m, and assumed a regular starting role, although he was frequently injured, being out for two seasons recovering from a serious ankle injury. He appeared in 80 league matches in three and half years with the Villans, winning one League Cup.[7] On 14 January 1999, Charles moved abroad, joining Benfica in Portugal, for a fee of 1M pounds.[8] He was the back-up choice after the failed bid for Oleh Luzhny.[9] However, in Portugal, his problem with injuries remained; on 22 January, just six days after arriving, he sustained a sprain in his right hock with rupture of the joint capsule of his knee, being sidelined for two months.[10] He finally made his debut on a 0–3 home loss against Boavista on 14 March 1999, and played in three more games, scoring one goal, before being sidelined again on late April, due to a pubalgia.[11][12] Spending the entire summer recovering from injury, he was put on the transfer list by Jupp Heynckes, so he made a move to his boyhood team West Ham United on 5 October 1999 for £1.2m.[13] During the three seasons with the Hammers, he was constantly out by injuries so he opted to end his professional career on 29 July 2002.[14]

Coaching career

In October 2011, Charles joined Lincoln City as Assistant Manager alongside manager David Holdsworth, but has since became the Director of Football at the University of Nottingham. On 29 March 2018 it was announced that he had accepted the manager's position at National League North side Nuneaton Town.[15] In June 2018, he was replaced as manager at Nuneaton by Nicky Eaden.[16]

Personal life

After the end of his playing career, Charles struggled with alcoholism.[17] He however overcame these difficulties and has attained his UEFA A Coaching licence. In 2018, Charles was reported as being a recovering alcoholic with a business providing care to people who are experiencing depression and alcohol and drug dependency.[18]


Nottingham Forest

Aston Villa


  1. "'Cloughie said if I didn't put weight on, I had to go live with him and his wife' - Gary Charles on starting out at Nottingham Forest". Nottingham Post. 12 February 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  2. John Spencer (7 August 2005). "Triumph and despair: Gary Charles". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  3. "How could I tell my manager I was an alcoholic? Gary Charles on drinking, prison, injury hell... and his new life helping addicts turn their lives around". Daily Mail. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  4. "England players: Gary Charles". englandfootballonline. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  5. "Gazza's moment of madness - 20 years on". BBC. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  6. Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. p. 301. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
  7. "Former Derby County and Nottingham Forest man 'set for first management spell'". Derby Telegraph. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  8. "Football: On the move". Independent. 17 January 1999. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  9. "Oleg Luzhny perto de chegar a acordo com Arsenal" [Oleg Luzhny close to reaching deal with Arsenal]. Record (in Portuguese). 13 May 1999. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  10. "When Benfica welcomed a British invasion, but wished it hadn't". 17 November 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  11. Tovar, Rui Miguel (2012). Almanaque do Benfica. Portugal: Lua de Papel. p. 566. ISBN 978-989-23-2087-8.
  12. Tovar, Rui Miguel (2012). Almanaque do Benfica. Portugal: Lua de Papel. p. 570. ISBN 978-989-23-2087-8.
  13. "Gary Charles assina pelo West Ham" [Gary Charles signs with West Ham]. Record (in Portuguese). 5 October 1999. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  14. "Ex-footballer jailed for dangerous driving". Telegraph. 27 January 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  15. Admin (29 March 2018). "Former England and Aston Villa defender Gary Charles appointed as new manager of Nuneaton Town". The Non-League Paper. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  16. "Gary Charles shocked at Nuneaton Town departure - finds out on Twitter". Nottingham Post. 16 June 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  17. "Ex-England soccer star who turned to alcohol jailed". The Telegraph. 28 January 2004. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
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