Paul Merson soccer player – when did he play for Arsenal and is he married?

Former footballer Paul Merson explores the touchy subject of addiction in the new BBC One documentary Football, Gambling & Me.

He looks back on the impact gambling has had on his life and wonders if enough is being done to prevent young people from becoming addicted.

But how old is Paul Merson, is he still married and when did he play for Arsenal?

Here is everything you need to know about the footballer.


Paul Merson directs the new BBC One documentary Football, Gambling & Me (Image: BBC One)

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Who is Paul Merson?

London-born Paul Merson is a former professional soccer player turned manager and expert.

Originally a striker, he found success as an attacking midfielder and playmaker later in his career.

He is best known for playing for Arsenal and the English team.

Paul also played for Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Walsall and Tamworth.

He announced his retirement from professional football as a player on March 9, 2006, less than a month after joining Tamworth.

The former footballer later worked as an expert and began to speak openly about his addiction problems.

Paul Merson career: when did he play for Arsenal?

Paul started his career at Arsenal and joined the club as an apprentice in 1984.

He made his debut for the Gunners on November 22, 1986 against Manchester City.

He went on to play 11 seasons for the North London Club.

During his time with the Gunners, Paul Merson was a key player in the club’s success under Scottish manager George Graham, winning twice the Football League Championship, the FA Cup, the Football League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In 1997 he moved to Middlesbrough.

The former soccer player played 21 times for England’s national soccer team and represented the nation at the 1992 UEFA European Championship and the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

In 2008, Paul Merson was named the 26th greatest Arsenal player of all time in a fan poll published by the club’s official website.

Footballer Paul Merson
Former footballer Paul Merson looks back on the impact gambling had on his life (Image Credit: BBC One)

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How old is he?

Paul Charles Merson was born on March 20, 1968 in Harlesden, northwest London.

He is currently 53 years old.

Is Paul Merson Still Married?

Paul Merson has been married three times and has eight children, including a pair of twins.

His first marriage to his childhood sweetheart, Lorraine Costin, fell apart because of his drug addiction and alcoholism.

They were married for 10 years and had three children together.

The two are now also grandparents.

Paul Merson married Louise Bache in 2013, and the couple had twins.

The Sky Sports expert is now married to his third wife, Kate, with whom he has three children.

He recently announced that he lives in a rented house with his wife Kate, who gives him pocket money so he doesn’t gamble away his income.

During the lockdown, he relapsed and gambled away her home bail.

Paul Merson burst into tears on Good Morning Britain last month after recalling his harrowing struggles with gambling addiction.

The 53-year-old was visibly emotional in the studio when presenter Susanna Reid read an excerpt from his memoir Hooked.

He has also admitted suicidal thoughts due to his addiction.

Paul Merson
Paul Merson took part in the Fever Pitch! The rise of the Premier League (Image: BBC)

Paul Merson Addiction

Paul Merson’s career was jeopardized in November 1994 when he admitted to being addicted to alcohol, cocaine and gambling.

The football association arranged a three-month rehabilitation program for him.

He later returned to Arsenal in February 1995.

In October 2011, the former soccer player was involved in a truck accident with a truck on the M40 near Warwick, UK and was arrested for drunk driving.

When he appeared in the ITV documentary Harry’s Heroes: The Full English in 2019, he spoke about how drug abuse and gambling have affected his life.

In January 2020, he spoke about how his drinking, drug, and gambling habits fueled his mental health struggles.

In the documentary Paul Merson: Football, Gambling & Me, he reveals that he has lost more than £ 7 million to gambling in 35 years.

Football, gambling & me

Paul Merson looks back on the impact gambling had on his life in the BBC One documentary Football, Gambling & Me.

He wonders if enough is being done to prevent young people from becoming addicted.

The former footballer first speaks to his former Arsenal teammate Wes Reid about the first step on the road to addiction.

He also meets other footballers whose habits have cost them millions.

The program examines how new technologies are making the gambling industry more insidious with the ability to gather information about customers.

Paul Merson: Football, Gambling & Me will air on Monday, October 11, 2021 at 9 p.m. on BBC One.

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