Paul Merson autobiography

Fair enough. If you look at the list that JT produced above, the players that were still with us are more firmly " don’t belong here" than Holden. You can add Keates to that list. I’d sooner have him as he was then, at the end of his career, than Holden ,now.

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I think you are right, Roper had been POTS in the Championship, Wrack had been an excellent player at that level, Keates had a couple of promotions from the division above, Wright and Taylor had been around back then, and Scott Dann is arguably one of the two best young players we’ve brought through in the Bescot years. Fox and Gerrard were good signings, not released by Everton because they were rubbish but simply because there was no chance of them making the first team. Throw in some good senior pros, Ince, Dobson, Butler, and you’re on the way. Easy isn’t it? :grin:

I think it shows what a few years in the Second Tier can do to clubs like us. The balance has shifted even more since. Even if, realistically, we’d never get established there, the money we got was wonderful insulation. Now it’s like we’re sitting there shiverring, with the front and back doors ripped off.

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Do you think it sharpens the recruitment as well? Here we are wondering whether our young players are good enough for Division 4. Back then we needed young lads who could play in the Championship, and the likes of Birch, Taylor, Wright, Bennett, Fryatt, Dann came through around that time and needed to aspire to that level. The likes of Stanley and Hawley didn’t get their chance here but had good careers at Div 4/Conference level. Alex Nichols and Manny Smith are another two, if players of their quality were here now we’d want them in the team. All of these players hit the first team squad between 2000 and 2007.

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Thanks Buddy

Thanks mate

My addiction is under control as I have put blockers on my phone/laptpp and do not have any urges to go bookies.

My addiction is more to do with ‘slots’ rather than sport betting.

Wife has been amazing and understands how addictive things can be.

Thankyou for your kind message and everyone else who has wished me well.


We were extraordinarily fortunate to have Mick Halsall overseeing things back then. He had an eye for gems of players, and also the vision to nurture their development to first team readiness. Mick was a big loss to the club.


He certainly was and we haven’t had the same success with youngsters since. If the DoF can remedy that he will do the the club a bigger service than rebuilding the first team.


I was working in and around the club voluntarily at that time, scouting for Mick. Had a bit of success bringing a few prospects in, which gave me a bit of kudos and ended up doing some youth coaching. When Mick left, things dwindled down somewhat, and I drifted away from my role.

One of the biggest regrets I have is when a certain Mr D. Smith came in to run the youth set up, and he gave my number a ring to see if I fancied coming back to do some scouting for him…by then my full time career was taking more of my time and we had a baby on the way, so I politely declined. Damn.


We also had an excellent physio/fitness coach for much of that time, which would have helped as well.

It was very good when Smith was there as well had a couple of lads there on a months trial when i was coaching all the academy teams played the same way as Smiths first team squad did and the standard was very high and an eye opener for the two lads we had there took them a couple of weeks to adjust to it.

Andrew Surman and Julian Joachim came in and effectively lifted the ship off the sea bed on that first season. No such superheroes after that. I wonder what happened to Ruben Dario Larossa?

I think the three of them left to play abroad.

In the mists of memory, I recall halfway through the disaster of 05/06 the official announcement that Herivelto was coming back. Within minutes all traces of the story had disappeared.

I know that ping-pong champion Joe Broad went on to become a legend at Truro City.

I remember walking into bar sport one Saturday night the Walsall squad where in there they were throwing glass shot glasses at the dart board the owner had to tell them to calm Down Darren wrack was smoking I asked him for a light you could smoke in the pubs then , Merson then said c’mon we’re all going to Birmingham i think it was either Halsall or Whitney said c’mon mers we better call it a day Merson said f off what do you want to drink whoever it was said a coke and Merson said do you want a lollipop with that :joy::joy: the only player not getting involved was surman and that player we had who went to Fulham after I can’t remember his name. I don’t really feel sorry for Merson same as Gazza he’s his own worst enemy

Ahh the sound there of somebody that doesn’t understand addiction.


But you don’t make someone like Merson the manager, in charge of a group of young men. How can he ever instil any discipline, either off the field or on it. He never looked fit when we were in League 1 and neither did the rest of the team. You need to get the basics right: discipline, commitment and fitness - the rest comes later. You’ve got to lead by example - I’m afraid an alcoholic, gambling addict can’t do that.

Absolutely, I wasn’t defending Bonser’s decision at all.

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I do understand addiction but with people like Merson and Gascoigne it runs much deeper than just being an addict they would be imbeciles with or without being addicted to anything they both probably have some kind of personality disorder if anything, they don’t see the world in the same way anybody else does that’s why they are both unintentionally funny someone why Chris Eubank is the same he talks about something serious but the way he explains it in his mind makes everybody laugh , They are all what is crudely known as nut cases , Why the chairman of Walsall thought if was a good idea to put Merson in charge of a championship level football team at the time is I suppose we’ll never know, but I think we’ve all got a good idea :moneybag::moneybag::moneybag: