Stuart PearceSupercharged Print
Stuart Pearce, MBE, is the current manager and former player at Nottingham Forest.
Born 24 April 1962, in Shepherds Bush, London, 'Psycho', as he became affectionately known to the City Ground faithful and subsequently the England fans, gained international notoriety for his honest but fiercely uncompromising, combative style of play and leadership.
A career in professional football wasn't proving to be an easy route for the young Stuart Pearce. After an unsuccessful trial at QPR, and rejection from Hull City, he settled into the non-league football with his local side, Wealdstone, where he was the first choice full back for almost five years. Throughout this period, with his long-term future uncertain, he trained and worked as an electrician.
In 1983, Wealdstone received an offer of £30,000 – a (then) huge sum for a semi-professional player, for Pearce to join English Division One club Coventry City. The part-time player and electrician reluctantly agreed to step up in standard, and quickly established himself at the club.
Two years later, he was brought to Nottingham Forest by legendary manager Brian Clough, as part of a wider deal with Coventry. Remarkably, still unsure of his long-term footballing future, Pearce advertised his electrician services in Forest's match-day programmes.
Pearce went on to be a club legend, spending 12 happy years at Forest – most of it under Clough as club captain. During his Forest career, he won two League Cups. He also scored one of his trademark 'blistering' free kicks in the 1991 FA Cup final. Unfortunately, he finished on the losing side as Forest were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur. Despite their relegation in 1993, Pearce stayed with Forest, scoring the header that would secure promotion back to the top flight the following season. At the end of the 1996–97 season, after a short spell as caretaker-manager, Pearce opted to leave Forest, playing on for 5 years at Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester City.
His supercharged, committed and consistent displays, not only made 'Psycho' a firm fans favourite at the City Ground, but made him one of the first names on the team sheet for the national side, playing 78 times for his country between 1987-1999. It was whilst on national duty, that two of his, and modern English football's most memorable and enduring moments occurred.
The first happened in 1990. The World Cup semi-final against Germany had ended 1-1 after extra time, when both Pearce and Chris Waddle missed the decisive penalties in the shootout, resulting in England's elimination from the competition. Pearce was inconsolable, leaving the pitch in tears. Six years later, at the 1996 European Championships in England, Pearce, having shouldered the burden of 'that'1990 penalty miss, courageously stepped forward to make amends against Spain in the quarter finals. To the delight of the player, the Wembley crowd and the viewing millions that willed him on, his strike hit the back of the net, and the six years of hurt and heartache exploded into full, glorious redemption. The demons were exorcised, and the now-iconic image of his ecstatic, contorted, grimacing face completely captures the essence of the man and player.
On 1 July 2014, After serving his management apprenticeship with Manchester City, the England U21 side and the Great Britain Olympic squad, the former electrician headed to back to his spiritual home and was appointed manager of Nottingham Forest.
'I will do whatever it takes to win a football match.' Stuart Pearce
'I have lived my life that way and I expect the people who work for me to be the same way.' Stuart Pearce
'A man amongst boys.' Roy Keane