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By ESPN Staff

Struggling Saddlers sack Merson

Struggling League One club Walsall have confirmed the sacking of manager Paul Merson.

The former Arsenal star's dismissal was made official after the struggling League One outfit released a statement on the club's official website.

The move comes after Walsall were thumped 5-0 by Brentford on Saturday, leaving the club languishing in 19th spot in the division.

In the statement, chairman Jeff Bonser revealed it was a decision he had made with a heavy heart.

He said: 'I felt that we had reached a point where it was in the best interests of both the club and Paul that this decision should be made.

'He accepted the position of manager at a most difficult time, following relegation from what is now the Championship and the draconian financial fall-out that followed the demise of ITV Digital.

'Inevitably, relegation led to a number of key players leaving the club and a very limited availability of funds to rebuild the team.'

Bonser, who also revealed that Head of Youth Mick Hassell will be in charge while the club search for a permanent successor, added his sympathy for the task Merson had faced.

He said: 'In all my 18 years involvement in football, I have never known a time when we have been so hard hit by injuries.

'If all of these players had been available to Paul throughout the season, I have no doubt that our results and position in the league table would have been very different.

'I have always admired the way that he has been prepared to give young players their chance and hopefully some of them who have been groomed by Paul will go on to have bright futures in the game, and will have much to be grateful to him for giving them their first chance.

'All of us at Walsall FC have enjoyed working with Paul and wish him every success in the future.'