Date of birth: 20th March, 1968
Place of birth: London, England
Aston Villa career: 1998-2002
Signed from: Middlesborough
When he scored in his Villa Park debut against Wimbledon on 12th September 1998, Paul Merson found his way into Villa fans’ hearts.
Flamboyant on and off the pitch, Merson was often seen rallying the troops. Despite having joined Villa during the twilight of his career, his technical ability was never in doubt and he was regularly named ‘man of the match’.
Although he didn’t score a huge number of goals, Merson left Villa fans with a few that will live long in their memories, including his skilful lob from the outside of the boot away to Everton in 2000. Playing with great intelligence, Merson was also able to set up lots of goals for his team-mates, particularly Ian Taylor.
Merson, arguably one of the most naturally gifted players ever to don a Villa shirt, left the club in 2002 when he set sail for Portsmouth.
Paul is now a football pundit on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday.
Rachael Patrick: I loved Paul’s commitment and passion. I always remember he cut his head pretty bad, and an ambulance was awaiting him only for him to want to continue playing.