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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 12:55 GMT
Merson announces his retirement
Paul Walsall
Merson started just one game for Tamworth
Former England international Paul Merson has left Conference club Tamworth and has announced his retirement as a player.

Merson, 37, joined the Lambs last month following his dismissal as player-manager of Walsall but started just one game for Mark Cooper's side.

"Tamworth can confirm that Paul Merson has retired from competitive football," said a club statement.

"We'd like to thank Paul for his effort and professionalism during his stay."

The midfielder's two Tamworth appearences came against Halifax and as an unused substitute in Tamworth's 5-0 defeat at Grays last weekend.

The statement said: "Paul was planning to play for his friend, Tamworth manager Mark Cooper, until the end of the season.

"However he has now decided to retire from football."

Merson began his career at Arsenal and went on to make 21 caps for England.

He won two championship medals at Highbury as well as FA Cup, League Cup European Cup Winners' Cup honours.

Merson joined Middlesbrough in 1997 for 4.5m helping the club to win promotion and reach the league cup final.

His playing career was dogged by problems with drugs, gambling and alcohol, however he was picked in Glenn Hoddle's 1998 World Cup squad and scored a penalty in the shoot-out defeat by Argentina in the second round.

He then joined Aston Villa for 6.75m in September of the same year.

Harry Redknapp recruited him to Portsmouth in 2002 where he helped Pompey gain promotion to the Premiership in his first and only season at Fratton Park.

He spent nine months at Walsall as a player before taking over from Colin Lee as manager.

The Saddlers were relegated to League One in the 2003-04 season, and after a 14th-place finish last season they were battling to avoid the drop when he was sacked last month.

He will return to the Tamworth on May 21 to play in a testimonial match for goalkeeper Scott Bevan, who lost a kidney in a near-fatal playing accident earlier this season.

Tamworth also have former top-flight players Alan Neilsen, Tommy Johnson and Nicky Summerbee on their books but are hovering just one place above the relegation zone.


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