Paul Merson: who is former England footballer, did he have a gambling addiction and when is programme on TV?

Former Arsenal star and Sky Sports Pundit Paul Merson will share all in new documentary on BBC Two.

The former footballer Paul Merson’s programme, Paul Merson: A Walk Through My Life, is being released on BBC Two and will detail the former striker’s life, career and faith as he walks the country of North Yorkshire.

Merson, a former star of Arsenal and Aston Villa, retired from professional football in 2006, before a host of spells for non-league teams such as Tamworth, Welshpool Town and Hanworth Villa.

He has gone on to write columns for the Arsenal FC magazine, Daily Star’s ‘Seriously Football’ pullout as well as co-hosting the Sky Sports TV programme ‘Fantasy Football Clubs’ with John Fendley.

His main role at the moment is with Sky Sports, where he works as a match reporter and regular pundit for Gillette’s Soccer Saturday. In addition, the 54-year-old still plays in the England Legends squad.

Ahead of the release of his new programme, here is all you need to know about Paul Merson and his new documentary…

Who is Paul Merson, the footballer?

Merson began his youth career in football with Arsenal in 1982 and stayed with the London club until 1997. He made over 327 league appearances for the Gunners as well as scoring 78 goals.

After his long-term spell at Arsenal, Merson spent time at Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Walsall - where from 2004 and 2006, Merson acted as Player-Manager.

Merson was originally a forward, but often found much more success as an attacking midfielder and made 21 appearances for his country between 1991 and 1998.

Merson celebrates League Cup and man of the match Trophy in 1993Merson celebrates League Cup and man of the match Trophy in 1993
Merson celebrates League Cup and man of the match Trophy in 1993

While at Arsenal, the midfielder was a key cog in the Gunners’ successful side, winning the Football League Championship twice, the FA Cup, the Football League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup.

During his stint at Pompey, Merson was part of the team that secured promotion to the Premier League as well as their First Division Championship title.

Merson made his international debut during a friendly against Germany in September 1991. He later took part in the European Championships in 1992, their failed attempt to reach the 1994 World Cup and was finally the only member of the 1998 FIFA World Cup squad to not play in a top flight club.

Paul Merson away from the pitch

Merson has had great success in the media since leaving football, as detailed above, but has unfortunately previously suffered from alchohol, drug and gambling addictions.

The 54-year-old has been married three times and has eight children. His first marriage is reported to have fallen apart due to his recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.

Merson spoke of his past struggles on Harry’s Heroes: The Full English and in the second series of the documentary, confided in former Arsenal and England teammate David Seaman that he voluntarily attends AA meetings.

The former midfielder participated in the 2020 Mental Health Awareness Week.

What is Paul Merson A Walk Through My Life about?

The former Arsenal forward is set to walk through North Yorkshire with a 360-degree camera while reflecting on his life, career and faith.

During the documentary, he will also discuss his struggles with alcohol abuse and gambling.

How to watch Paul Merson A Walk Through My Life

The programme will be broadcast on BBC Two at 8pm BST on Thursday 5 May 2022. It is also set to be repeated on BBC Two on Monday 9 May 2022 at 11.45pm BST.

Merson’s documentary will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer shortly after the broadcast has finished.