Mercer was a legendary player and manager before The FA asked him to manage the England team on a caretaker basis in April 1974.
He was in charge for seven internationals, which included the usual end-of-season Home International Championship fixtures and a European tour that took in matches against East Germany, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.
There was also a Wembley friendly with Argentina, the South Americans returning for the first time since the controversial World Cup quarter final in ’66. Emlyn Hughes was made skipper and there was a relaxed atmosphere around the camp with ‘Genial Joe’ as the boss.
As a player he was a wing-half with Everton and Arsenal who was capped five times for England. He would have won many more if it hadn’t been for the war.
He won three League Championships and captained Arsenal to FA Cup Final victory in 1950. He managed Sheffield United and Aston Villa before winning the title for Manchester City with a great tactician in Malcolm Allison as his sidekick.