Merson: "This time last year, I wanted to kill myself”

The former Arsenal star has opened up about his most recent struggles with depression and alcohol but assured he has now been sober for a year.

Merson: "This time last year, I wanted to kill myself”
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Arsenal legend Paul Merson has revealed that he had contemplated suicide last year.

In his column for UK newspaper The Daily Star, the former England international wanted to highlight his struggles with depression and alcohol addiction to coincide with the FA's ‘Heads Up’ campaign this weekend, which will see FA Cup kick off times delayed by one minute to raise awareness for mental health.

“On Monday I’ll have been sober for a year. But this time last year, I wanted to kill myself,” wrote Merson.

“I couldn’t go on any more. I just couldn’t see a way out. I had the tablets in my hand. I didn’t take enough to do anything but I had them there. With vodka. It was scary.

“It was only because of the kids really, and my wife, and a little bit of consciousness, that I didn’t. Fear probably as well. I was scared to do it. When you’re in that place, you don’t see how it’s ever going to pass. But I have the tools now. If I get into a real down situation, I know it will pass.”

Merson’s Arsenal career

Merson, know a pundit with Sky Sports, had a long and successful career at Arsenal, winning first division titles in 1989 and 1991 before the establishment of the Premier League in 1992-93, as well as the FA Cup in 1993 and European Cup Winners' Cup in 1994

During his 12 years at the club (1985-1997), the former forward scored 78 goals in 327 appearances and was ranked the 26th greatest Arsenal player of all time in a 2008 fan poll published by the club's official website. Following his departure from Highbury, he went on to play for Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth.

Merson’s struggles with gambling, cocaine and alcohol have been well documented since they first came to light following his own first public admissions in 1994. He recently received praise for opening up about his addiction problems in the UK TV documentary, Harry's Heroes: The Full English, which aired last year.