Arsenal legend Paul Merson has revealed how a new Middlesbrough teammate once hilariously asked him “why the f***” he signed for the club.
The attacking-midfielder spent 12-years at Arsenal after coming through the academy, winning two league titles and then taking a downward step to join Middlesbrough in 1997.
Merson has since revealed he turned down a new contract at Highbury to earn higher wages in the North East, where he remained for one season before moving to Aston Villa.
And now speaking on a new BBC documentary shedding light on the footballer’s gambling issues, entitled Paul Merson: Football, Gambling & Me, the TV pundit recalled an eye-opening story.
Merson said: “I signed because of the money, I signed because of my addictions.
“They [Middlesbrough] were on tour in Italy in the mountains and as I got off at the airport, no one was there. They forgot.
“I had to get a cab to training which was about two hours away. And I'm like for **** sake.
“That's Arsenal, you're not even picking your luggage up. That was an eye-opener.
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“I got to the hotel, and then I was sharing a room with a lad called Clayton Blackmore, a lad who used to play for Man Utd. Great lad.
“And I was unpacking my stuff and he was laying on the bed and said: 'What the **** are you signing for us for?"
Blackmore himself was a solid utility player who made 186 appearances for United, winning the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1993.
The defender moved to Middlesbrough in 1994 and helped the side win the Football League First Division as well as promotion later on alongside Merson.
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