Ex-England star promises fun night

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Ex-England international Paul Merson is heading to Viva Blackpool next month.

The Soccer Saturday regular will be the guest speaker at a sportsman’s dinner, on May 6, where he will talk about his career in and out of football and stories from behind the dressing room door.

Merson, who most notably represented Arsenal and Aston Villa during his playing career, before becoming player-manager of Walsall, has made a name for himself as a pundit on Sky Sports due to his way with words and inability to pronounce more challenging player names.

From ‘it’s a worldy’ (world class goal), to ‘he’s hit the beans on toast’ (he’s hit the post) and ‘it’s Desmond’ (it’s 2-2), Merson has developed his own unique lexicon and continues to entertain viewers every weekend.

He represented England at two major tournaments, Euro ‘92 and the FIFA World Cup 1998 in France, and won two Division One title during his time at Arsenal.

But Merson also spent much of his career battling well-publicised gambling, drink and drug addictions, which are now behind him.

He even published a book entitled ‘How not to be a professional footballer’.

Martin Heywood, Managing Director of Viva Blackpool, said: “It’s fantastic for us to be able to welcome such an iconic character as Paul Merson to Viva.

“We’ve all seen what a character Paul is on TV and we’re set for an evening of unexpected tales and hilarious stories.”

Hosted by comedian Jimmy Bright, the event will allow the audience to hear untold stories from one of the biggest names in the game, with some insights into those he has played with and against during his career.

Tickets for the event on May 6 are on sale now, priced at £30, and can be booked online for free at vivablackpool.com with no booking charges, or by calling 01253 297297. Tables of 10 are available at a price of £280.

The ticket price includes a champagne reception and an auction and raffle.