|Birth Day:||January 26, 1922|
|Death Date:||Feb 3, 2010 (age 88)|
As per our current Database, Gil Merrick died on Feb 3, 2010 (age 88).
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He signed with Birmingham at age 18 after being scouted in a trial game. He was the team's third-choice keeper to start his career.
Merrick was born in Sparkhill, Birmingham. He signed professional terms with Birmingham in August 1939, and remained with the team until his retirement as a player in 1960. At first, Merrick was third-choice goalkeeper behind boyhood hero Harry Hibbs and Jack Wheeler. This meant that Merrick had to wait until 20 May 1940 to make his debut in the Birmingham first team, then playing in the Midland Regional League because of the Second World War. With the retirement of Hibbs, Merrick gained the chance to play more competitive football, and by the end of the war he had amassed 170 appearances for the "Blues", including an FA Cup semi-final against Derby County, which Derby won 4–0 after a replay.
When the Football League resumed in 1946, Merrick found himself playing regularly for the recently renamed Birmingham City. In 1948, Merrick helped the club win the Second Division Two, missing only six games along the way. He played regularly for the Blues until the end of the 1954–55 season, when another Blues prodigy, Johnny Schofield replaced him in goal because of injury. During this time, Merrick achieved 126 league games in a row, from 15 April 1949 to 5 April 1952. He also played in every FA Cup game during this time, another nine games, including an FA Cup semi-final appearance against Blackpool, which the Blues lost 2–1.
Merrick was capped 23 times by England. He made his debut against Ireland on 14 November 1951 at Wembley in the 1952 British Home Championship. He was first-choice goalkeeper for England in the 1954 World Cup, his last international appearance coming against Uruguay on 26 June 1954, as England were eliminated at the quarter-final stage. All of Merrick's caps were gained when Birmingham City were a Second Division club. He is perhaps best known for being the last line of defence against the Hungary side of Ferenc Puskás and Nándor Hidegkuti, the "Magnificent Magyars" who beat England 6–3 at Wembley in 1953 and 7–1 at the Nepstadion in 1954.
After his retirement, Merrick took over from Pat Beasley as manager of Birmingham City in May 1960. Merrick's first competitive game in charge was a 2–2 draw away at Bolton Wanderers on 20 August 1960, and his first home game was against Sheffield Wednesday where his side drew 1–1. His side would go on to finish 19th in Division One. The Blues had another good run in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, reaching the final where they lost to Roma. The 1960-61 tournament did produce a win for Birmingham at the San Siro against Internazionale in the semi-final; they were the only English team to achieve this for around 40 years.
Currently, Gil Merrick is 101 years, 4 months and 14 days old. Gil Merrick will celebrate 102nd birthday on a Friday 26th of January 2024.
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