NEW BOOK Merson In Blue: A Season Of Boundless Magic17.02.21
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The story of the season Paul Merson transformed Portsmouth FC from Division One strugglers to Premier League contenders
Paul Merson had been an elite footballer for more than a decade before he joined Portsmouth on the eve of the 2002-03 season. The Magic Man, a nickname given to him by the fans, had won more than a fair share of silverware at Arsenal and had pulled on an England shirt at international tournaments. Yet with his spectacular career drawing to a close, could he once more summon the level of on-the-pitch sorcery required to inspire a struggling team that had languished in the same division for 15 years.
Pompey finished the previous season in the familiar position of the lower reaches of Division One having once again dallied with relegation. However, with new manager Harry Redknapp in place and a generous transfer kitty at his disposal, optimism in the city was high. Paul Merson’s late addition to a freshly assembled squad appeared to be a bold, statement signing – and yet still there were grumblings he was only at Fratton Park for a final payday.
Merson In Blue - A Season Of Boundless Magic chronicles the remarkable season that Paul Merson, supported by an able cast, sparked Portsmouth Football Club back into life. The story is told through press cuttings of the day together with a series of new interviews with players (including Matt Taylor, who provided the Foreword) and, most importantly, the Pompey fans who applauded him from the Fratton Park terraces.
Gary Tipp is a freelance editor/author and Pompey fan. In a previous life he was the editor of Total Football magazine, Merson In Blue is the companion book to Gary’s other Pompey publication, Prosinecki In Blue (described as “outstanding” by TV legend Fred Dinenage in a very brief email conversation).
“It was my favourite season in every way. I felt we achieved so much. I loved every minute of it. The Premier League was nice, so was the FA Cup, but for me that season was the one. It was a fantastic time to be a Pompey fan” Fred Dinenage
“I won everything at Arsenal bar the Champions League. Yet that 2002-03 season when we won the Division One title at Pompey still goes down as the biggest thing I achieved in my football career without a doubt.” Paul Merson
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