Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The madness of King George and Merson's meltdown — Alan Smith recalls the most traumatic season in Arsenal history

It was the most turbulent season in the history of ­English football’s most ­conservative club.
George Graham, a legendary Arsenal  player, was sacked as their manager amid a bungs scandal and star forward Paul Merson confessed to cocaine, drink and gambling addictions.
That was all within the space of three months in the 1994-95 season as Graham’s empire fell apart after he had led the club to two titles, a domestic cup double and European success during nine years in charge.
It was a truly shocking time and left the club reeling so badly they even flirted with a ­relegation scrap after Stewart Houston took up temporary charge. Graham was sacked in February 1995 after it emerged he took backhanders from transfers, while Merson had given a tearful press conference the ­previous November to ­confess his demons.
It was a season which also ended on a low for one of ­Arsenal’s greatest-ever strikers, Alan Smith, who was Golden Boot winner in both of Graham’s title-winning seasons of 1989 and 1991.

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