Kris Taylor has transformed his Walsall career from the depths of despair to one of genuine promise since the arrival of Richard Money.
Taylor was placed on the transfer list, farmed out to Burton Albion and publicly castigated after a grim defeat at Bristol City in their first outing of 2006.
It was a grim time for Taylor who was ostracised by Merson along with the incorrigible Ishmel Demontagnac who slept in and missed the team coach after forgetting about the fixture.
All of which summed up the enigmatic management of Merson quite succinctly.
It is hard to imagine a similar scenario occurring under Richard Money either on or off the field of play and Taylor has revelled in the structure he has brought to the Bescot Stadium.
The Saddlers head off to Chester tonight attempting to record their first win in the Roman city since 1959 and Taylor will be playing a pivotal role - at left-back.
After appearing destined for the exit door, the former Manchester United apprentice has blossomed under the guidance of Money and admits it is in stark contrast to last season.
"I think I was starting to see that I could do well there but Merse (Paul Merson) was always saying 'he's saying he's not a left-back' which wasn't true," lamented Taylor referring to the fact Walsall's previous manager didn't regard him as a left-back.
"I was saying play me there but he was saying in the press that I was moaning.
"After the first few times it happened you were a bit down," he continued regarding the occasional grilling he received in the media.
"Eventually all the lads just started to read it and go 'oh that again' and put the paper down!
"Something would be said then the following day he would be saying something else."
"This season our organisation in training shows on a Saturday, as we are playing good football and not conceding any goals.
"We are strong as a unit rather than having just a back four and goalkeeper whilst everyone else is gung ho.
"The club seems a lot better and the lads are looking forward to coming into training. Once you get that feeling you are on to a winner."
Walsall's position at the summit of League Two may have raised a few eyebrows outside the West Midlands but Taylor is confident this squad posses the requisite ability to achieve promotion.
Not only is there a feelgood factor permeating the inner walls of the Bescot but Taylor's own personal self-esteem has reached hitherto unseen levels.
"The new manager came in and I said just give me an opportunity before you make a decision. He has done that and I think I have proved I can do it," added a bullish Taylor.
"I don't think you become a bad player overnight. I think a lot of it is confidence and having a manager who believes in you.
"If you are in and out the team you don't get settled and you are on a bit of a downer, which doesn't really do you any good.
"I just want to play as many games, as my contract is up in the summer and I want to earn myself a new deal.
"I don't think it is a surprise that it has gone so well. The new manager has got everyone playing with more confidence and belief."