Wednesday, 2 April 2014

All We Are Saying, Is Give Pearce A Chance

As I write this, it seems increasingly likely that Nottingham Forest legend Stuart Pearce will be returning to the club as its new manager. There's still i's to be dotted, t's to be crossed, and details like whether he'll start immediately or after the season to be confirmed; but, barring any complications, Pearce will be the man chosen by Fawaz al Hasawi and John McGovern to take over the poisoned chalice hotseat recently vacated by Billy Davies.

In an odd way, Pearce's appointment will divide the Nottingham Forest fans as much as Davies' return did, albeit for very different reasons. Whereas Davies by nature is a divisive character, with as many people loving him as loathing him (though that balance has probably been tilted toward the latter now); Pearce is almost universally worshipped by Forest fans for his playing career. It's his subsequent managerial experience which has people doubting.

I won't trot out win percentages and such things but one could hardly call Pearce's time in charge of Manchester City a resounding success. A strong start, including a memorable derby win against neighbours Manchester United, was followed by a period of home matches with no goals; though it must be added that Manchester City were a different club from the financial powerhouse they are now.

Pearce's career as England Under 21 manager was arguably better however, as he took his charges to the final of the European Championships in 2009 before they suffered an all too familiar defeat at the hands of Germany. His last tournament in charge was disastrous, though the squad he was allowed to select from was by no means the strongest.

To an outsider looking at the situation - and even to some Forest fans - it might seem like a crazy idea to appoint Pearce as manager and it might yet prove to be. From a purely results based perspective there are better options out there. But football's a funny old game as they say and who knows what will happen? Outsiders might not realise just what Pearce accomplished at Forest and the esteem in which he's held here. And if anyone can instil passion, desire and will to win in a team and squad where it has been sadly lacking recently, then it's definitely Stuart Pearce. It takes more than that to bring success of course, as Tim Sherwood is currently finding out. And, as important as Pearce's appointment will be those of his backroom staff and, hopefully, the one of a CEO to help Fawaz with running the club.

But for all my misgivings about Pearce returning to Forest as manager I'm fervently hoping that there are no last minute hitches and that the appointment is confirmed soon. The sight of him in the dugout, whether it be this season or next, and the sound of the City Ground chanting 'Psycho' again like the old days will be something to behold. Indeed it's got my hairs standing on end just thinking about it. If he can get the players feeling the same way and get the right support team around him then he might just prove the doubters wrong.

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