Sunday 08 September 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
A year after ending his 12-year professional association with Arsenal, Paul Merson secured a move to fellow Barclays Premier League side Aston Villa after helping Middlesbrough gain promotion to the top flight in his first season away from Highbury.
Merson came through the Arsenal youth system and quickly became an integral part of the Gunners’ first team, helping them win the old First Division title in dramatic fashion in 1989 and making a further 160 league appearances following the introduction of the Premier League.
The attacking midfielder left North London for relegated Middlesbrough in 1997 and scored 12 goals in the second tier as they club secured an instant return to the Barclays Premier League with automatic promotion.
Aston Villa moved to secure his services in September 1998 and he went on to become an influential figure during four successful seasons with the Midlands club.
They finished sixth in his first two campaigns at Villa Park and eighth the two seasons after, with Merson scoring 18 goals in 117 league appearances during that period. He also helped Villa get to the 2000 FA Cup Final and played the entire match as they lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
Merson left Villa in 2002 to join Portsmouth, who again he helped the club to promotion to the Barclays Premier League for the first time. He retired in 2006. Now a pundit on Sky Sports, Merson made 280 appearances in the Barclays Premier League during his career, scoring 46 goals.