The Poker Joker Forum >> Legends of Gambling >> Message started by: Five Fingers on 06/17/03 at 21:27:29
Title: Hall of Fame: Paul Merson
Post by: Five Fingers on 06/17/03 at 21:27:29
Paul Merson was born on 20 March 1968 in the United Kingdom.
Merson started playing soccer at Arsenal FC, joining the club as a YTS trainee on June 1984. During his Arsenal career he won 2 league championship medals in 1988-89 & 1990-91, European Cup Winners Cup 1994, League Cup 1993 and the FA Cup in 1993. His Arsenal career is impressive with 99 goals in 425 games.
Paul Merson made his England debut against West Germany in a friendly match before European Championship in 1992. Merson transferred to Middlesborough 1997, before moving on to successful spells at Aston Villa 1998 to 2002, and Portsmouth, winning promotion to the Premier League.
Yet as a young lad, during his glory days at Arsenal, Merson became addicted to alcohol, soft drugs and gambling, so much so that he now claims to have no recollection of winning titles and Cups for the Gunners in the late 80s and early 90s as one of the genuine stars of George Grahams side. His trademark celebration during that period was infamous, tongue out and pretending to down several pints.
In 1995, Paul Merson admitted in a newspaper interview to an addiction to gambling and alcohol, and also to having used cocaine. After a period of recovery, a seemingly rejuvenated Merson was not only the catalyst for Middlesboroughs immediate return to the Premiership, he even managed to confound the critics and regain his England place, going to the France 98 World Cup as a squad player for Glenn Hoddles side.
In 2003, Paul Merson revealed that the pressures of his lifestyle had caused the spiral into addiction, resulting in gambling debts estimated at more than £500,000.
"I've stayed away from drink and drugs but gambling has beat me, spanked me all over the place."
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