After making his debut for Arsenal in the 1986–87 season, Merson went on to play eleven seasons with the North London club. While with the Gunners, Merson was a key player in the club's success under Scottish manager George Graham, winning the Football League Championship twice, the FA Cup, the Football League Cup, and the European Cup Winners' Cup. In 1997, he joined Middlesbrough, helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League and finish as runner-up in the 1997–98 Football League Cup. After joining Aston Villa in 1998, Merson went on to become club captain and played for the team in the 2000 FA Cup Final, the last ever to be held at the original Wembley Stadium. In 2002, he signed for second-tier Portsmouth and captained the club to the First Division Championship title and promotion to the Premier League. A year later, he returned to the West Midlands with Walsall, where he went on to serve as player-manager until he was sacked in February 2006. He had short spells with non-league clubs Tamworth, Whitton Athletic and Welshpool Town, making his final appearance in 2012 at the age of 43.