A true great, on the pitch and in the dug-out
|Full name:||Joseph Mercer|
|Date of birth:||August 9, 1914|
|Date of death:||August 9, 1990|
|Clubs played for:||Everton, Arsenal|
|Clubs managed:||Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Coventry|
A strong left-half, Joe Mercer starred for Everton in the mid to late 1930s, winning five England caps, before his career was interrupted by World War II. He joined Arsenal after the war, playing almost 250 League games in nine years before retiring in 1955.
Mercer played five times for England between 1938 and 1939, and also appeared in 26 wartime internationals, many of them as captain.
International Career Stats
On retiring as a player, Mercer worked for a while as a journalist and a grocer before returning to football as Sheffield United manager in 1955. He resigned three years later to take charge of Aston Villa where, following relegation to Division Two, he re-built the side. They won the Second Division title in 1960, and a year later claimed the inaugural League Cup, before health problems led to his dismissal.
It was a decision the Villa board would come to regret as, following his recovery, he went on to manage Manchester City, winning the League title, FA Cup and Cup-Winners' Cup with the Maine Road club. Following a takeover at the club, however, he was relieved of his duties. He then managed Coventry for two years and also had a spell, in 1974, as caretaker-manager of England.
Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool (FA Cup final, April 29, 1950)
Joe Mercer lifted the trophy at Wembley as Arsenal claimed the FA Cup for the third time in their history, and the first time for 14 years, with a masterclass against Liverpool. Reg Lewis scored both goals in a 2-0 win.
Arsenal 3-2 Burnley (First Division, May 1, 1953)
With Arsenal needing to win their final game of the season to clinch the League title, Mercer returned from a foot injury that had kept him sidelined for five weeks. And he duly inspired his team-mates to a 3-2 victory, with goals from Alex Forbes, Doug Lishman and Jimmy Logie to steal the title from Preston on goal average.
Scotland 1-2 England (International friendly, April 15, 1939)
Mercer was one of England's heroes as goals from Albert Beasley and Tommy Lawton earned them their first win at Hampden Park for 12 years in front of a reported crowd of 150,000 fans. Most of whom were not best pleased...!
|Everton||First Division Championship||1938-39|
|Arsenal||First Division Championship||1948-49, 1952-53|
|Football Writers' Footballer of the Year||1950|
|Aston Villa (as manager)||League Cup||1961|
|Second Division Championship||1959-60|
|Manchester City (as manager)||First Division Championship||1967-68|
|European Cup-Winners' Cup||1970|
|Second Division Championship||1965-66|
Did You Know...?
The main pedestrian walkway to Manchester City's Eastlands Stadium is named 'Joe Mercer Way' in his honour, following his success at the club in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Mercer stood in as caretaker England manager in 1974 after Alf Ramsey's sacking. He was in charge for seven games - in a four week period! - winning three, drawing one and losing three.
When Mercer was discussing his transfer from Everton to Arsenal in 1946, Everton manager Theo Kelly took the player's boots to the negotiations so he would have no reason to return to the club - not even to say goodbye to his former team-mates!
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