Mer­son in Caerau de­but

Glamorgan Gazette - - Sport -

CAERAU Foot­ball Club is set to hand a de­but next Wed­nes­day to for­mer Ar­se­nal and Eng­land star Paul Mer­son, writes Tony Poole.

In a move that has shocked the club foot­ball scene, the River­boaters still have to re­ceive in­ter­na­tional clear­ance to field the 49-year-old mid­field ace, who picked up 21 Eng­land caps.

New Caerau sec­re­tary David Hooper is the man re­spon­si­ble for Mer­son pos­si­bly play­ing a first com­pet­i­tive match in five years.

It was dur­ing a Brid­gend & District Foot­ball League din­ner a few years ago in which Mer­son was guest speaker that Hooper got to know him.

Their friend­ship has blos­somed and Mer­son of­ten at­tends Doug­field Plumbers on Brid­gend Trad­ing Es­tate to sign au­to­graphs for cus­tomers.

But the Sky Sports pun­dit has de­cided to give foot­ball an­other go and is down to play at home to Pontyclun in Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division Three next Wed­nes­day night (7.30pm).

“Hav­ing last year got to know Paul Mer­son even bet­ter – through at­tend­ing his stag night and wed­ding – I’ve found him to be a very gen­uine and down to earth per­son,” ex­plained Caerau sec­re­tary David Hooper.

Mer­son played 327 times for Ar­se­nal as an at­tack­ing mid­field player from 1985 to 1997, scor­ing 78 goals, be­fore tak­ing in spells with Mid­dles­brough, As­ton Villa, Portsmouth and Wal­sall.

His play­ing days ended in 2012 in non-league foot­ball with Tam­worth – and he made a last ap­pear­ance for Welsh­pool Town.

His fi­nal Eng­land cap came dur­ing the 1998 World Cup that saw host na­tion France lift the Jules Rimet Tro­phy.

Pro­vided the pa­per work is com­pleted in time, Caerau en­vis­age a bumper crowd to see the shock reap­pear­ance of Mer­son.

Last Satur­day, Caerau called off their game with Trethomas Blue­birds, ow­ing to the wet state of the River­boat.

And this Satur­day they take a trip into the un- known head­ing to Bar­goed to face for a first time league new­com­ers Neuadd Wen, who won pro­mo­tion from the Gwent County League. in

For­mer Ar­se­nal mid­fielder and Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Paul Mer­son is set to make a Caerau de­but next week against Pontyclun

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