Paul Merson's return to football didn't quite go to plan
Paul Merson didn't know what he was getting himself into.
The Arsenal legend is officially back in football, having agreed to play for Caerau FC after some encouragement from a friend.
Merse didn't know, however, that the club was based in the fourth tier of Welsh football when he lined out for them against Pontyclun on Wednesday night.
The 49-year-old played for over an hour at the Caerau Athletic Ground, having been persuaded to play by the club's secretary Dai Hooper, a close friend of Merson's.
Caerau were leading 3-2 and Merson had thrown himself about, leaving his mark on the opposition centre-half, but the game was called off due to floodlight failure, a problem which Merson never had to contend with at Highbury.
"I didn't play very well but the team were winning which is the main thing," Merson told Sky Sports of his debut.
"It's a great crowd – and so far so good, except the floodlights have gone off.
"It's not a one-off. I said I'll sign and I'll play midweek. I love playing and if I can keep on playing then I will."
And while it might not have gone quite according to plan, Merson's appearance for the Maesteg-based club went down an absolute storm on social media.
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) October 19, 2017
— Ian Saint Casey (@IanSaintCasey) October 18, 2017
Paul Merson makes an appearance for Caerau against Pontyclun. pic.twitter.com/qpSAg0VwOl
— Lewis Mitchell (@lewismitchphoto) October 18, 2017
Paul Merson made his football comeback for fourth-tier Welsh club Caerau this week.
Imagine coming up against Merse on a Sunday. pic.twitter.com/QPtGr5RPdw
— Sunday League Footy (@SundayChants) October 20, 2017
Can't believe I missed the memo that Paul Merson had signed for Caerau. Debuted on Wednesday against Pontyclun. The floodlights failed. pic.twitter.com/11uvutpe9o
— Ginge Knievil (@GingeKnievil) October 20, 2017
Love him or loathe him, Paul Merson featuring for Caerau has given Welsh football some great publicity. Great to see ex-pros like Merson and @LeeTrundle10 giving Welsh football a bigger platform. https://t.co/anGUZsU6j7
— Jordan A Jones (@JordsAlexJones) October 19, 2017
Paul Merson just completed a cold Wednesday night In Caerau 😭 pic.twitter.com/dK4Y2YMzRn
— Leggy♧ (@Leggy98) October 18, 2017
Paul Merson playing up Caerau and Neil Warnock pulling pints in The Crown, Maesteg is on the footballing map!
— Dan Smith 🏴 (@DanSmith_21) October 18, 2017