Paul Merson is a former English professional footballer and manager turned football television pundit who spent the majority of his career at Arsenal.
Born in Harlesden, London, he started his career at the Gunners, joining the club as an apprentice in 1984. After a loan spell at Brentford, he made his debut for Arsenal in November 1986 against Manchester City, and gradually established himself in George Graham’s successful Arsenal side of the late 1980s.
By the 1988–89 season he was a regular on the right wing, at the end of which Arsenal secured the First Division title in the final game of the season against Liverpool. Merson scored ten times that season, made his debut for the England Under-21 side, and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.
In 1997, Merson was sold to Middlesbrough in a £5m deal, which made him the most expensive player to ever be signed by a non-Premier League club. The following year he moved to Aston Villa, a club which was slightly closer to his family in the south of England, and helped them reach the final of the FA Cup in 2000.
In 2002 he signed for Portsmouth on a two-year contract and went on to play an important role in the club’s promotion to the Premiership in 2002-03, before moving to Walsall and seeing out his professional league career close to his family.
Merson also represented England, making his debut for the Three Lions in 1991 against Germany. Also playing in the 1992 Euro Championship, 1994 World Cup and 1998 World Cup, he played 21 times for his country and scored on three occasions.
All the battles he faced on the pitch were nothing compared to those off it, however. His many achievements in the game were accomplished despite a long battle with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions, but he managed to overcome his demons and eventually find himself in a good place.
A wonderful sports speaker, Paul’s anecdotes range from witty and charming to inspiring and eye-opening. He enjoys engaging with the crowd and putting his punditry work to use during talks about the game.
To book Paul Merson for events as an after dinner speaker or for television work with the Champions Motivational Speakers agency, simply fill in our online form or call us on +44 1509 85 29 27 today.