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Birmingham legend Merrick dies aged 88

Former Birmingham goalkeeper and manager Gil Merrick has died at the age of 88. The former England international made a club-record 551 appearances for Blues between 1939 and 1960.

He then took charge of City and led them to a League Cup final success against local rivals Aston Villa in 1963 the club's only major trophy.

Sparkhill-born Merrick made his debut as an 18-year-old apprentice and went on to represent England 23 times including in the 1954 World Cup.

The club and its supporters will be commemorating Merrick's life at Sunday's Premier League game against Wolves at St Andrews and current Birmingham boss Alex McLeish paid tribute to the West Midlands star.

"He's a legend," said McLeish. "Revered by the Birmingham fans. Some of the older fans I've met have said he was the best goalkeeper they've ever seen.

"It was great that the club recognised him when he was still alive and we send our sympathies to Gil's family and of course the Birmingham fans who remember him and grew up in his era."

"I never had the honour of meeting Gil. I don't know why that never happened but I know that we are now mourning a legend."

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