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Stuart Pearce MBE (born 24 April 1962 in Hammersmithmarker, Londonmarker), nicknamed "Psycho", is an Englishmarker football manager and former player. He is currently the manager of the England Under-21 team.

As a player, Pearce had a long and distinguished career, during which he captained the England team and became one of the most highly regarded defenders his country has ever produced. He is best remembered for his time as captain of Nottingham Forest and his England international duties. He was still highly regarded as a first class defender when in his mid thirties.

He finally retired as a player in 2002, by which time he was playing for Manchester City. He remained with the club as a coach until being promoted to the manager's job in 2005. He was manager of the club for two years before being dismissed. He is now manager of the England U-21 team, a position he held while he was still Manchester City manager.

Playing career

Early career

Born in West London, Pearce first attended Fryent Primary School in Kingsburymarker, North West London before attending Claremont High School in Kentonmarker. He failed a trial at and then rejected an offer from , instead settling into a career in the non-league game with his local side, , while training and working as an electrician and plumber. For almost five years, he was the first choice full back of a highly successful team, then amongst the biggest names of non-league football in the Alliance Premier League.

In 1983 Wealdstone received an unexpected offer of £30,000 (then a huge sum for a semi-professional player) for Pearce from then top-flight club . Manager Bobby Gould had been to watch Wealdstone, and was hugely impressed by Pearce's determination and combative attitude. Pearce agreed to the step up in clubs reluctantly – making his professional debut for Coventry immediately. He quickly established himself as an uncompromising left back who played hard but fair.

Nottingham Forest

Two years later he was brought to by manager Brian Clough as the makeweight in a £300,000 deal which also saw Coventry's centre back Ian Butterworth move to Forest. Indeed, so unsure was Pearce of his footballing future that, after the transfer, he actually advertised his services as an electrician in Forest's match-day programme. However a determination and combative attitude made him an all time fans favourite and earned him the nickname Psycho.

Pearce spent 12 years at Forest, most of it as club captain, becoming by far and away the supporters' favourite player. During his eventful playing career he won two League Cup and the Simod Cup, while also scoring from a free kick in the 1991 FA Cup final, when Forest were beaten by . In his time at the City Groundmarker, Pearce was one of the Forest players who had to cope with the horrors of the Hillsborough disaster during the opening minutes of their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. Pearce played in the rescheduled game at Old Traffordmarker, which Liverpool won 3-1. He helped them finish third in the league that year, and also contributed to their victories in the Football League Cup and Full Members Cup. He helped them retain the Football League Cup a year later and in 1991 he had his first crack at the FA Cup, and despite giving Forest an early lead against Tottenham Hotspur in a game most remembered for the knee injury suffered by Pearce's opponent Paul Gascoigne, Pearce ended up on the losing side as Spurs came back to win 2-1. He was on the losing side at Wembleymarker again the following year when Forest lost 1-0 to Manchester United in the Football League Cup final. [76221]

Despite their relegation from the top flight in 1993, Pearce decided to stay, helping Forest to gain promotion the following season, including scoring a spectacular header to secure promotion, under new manager Frank Clark following the retirement of Brian Clough after 18 years at te helm.

He was appointed caretaker player-manager of Forest in December 1996, after Clark resigned with Forest bottom of the Premier League. His first game was at home to Arsenal. He admitted in an interview with Match of the Day, that in his first attempt at picking a starting eleven, he did not realise until it was pointed out to him by his wife that he had omitted goalkeeper Mark Crossley. However Forest won the game 2-1, coming from behind after an Ian Wright goal with 2 goals from Alf-Inge Haaland. Despite winning manager of the month in January 1997, the club were relegated from the Premier League. He opted to leave the club at the end of the 1996–97 season after twelve years at the City Ground.

Later career

Pearce joined and played in the 1998 FA Cup Final, though again he emerged on the defeated side. He scored once during his spell at Newcastle, in a Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev. He went on to play for , a year after falling out of favour with Newcastle manager Ruud Gullit. In 2001 he joined for what would be the final season in his career. He captained the club to the First Division championship. In the final game of his career, against , he had the aim to reach 100 career goals. He took a penalty kick for City four minutes into injury time, but missed it along with the chance to reach his target.

Throughout his career, he was given the affectionate nickname of "Psycho" for his unforgiving style of play. This was initially a tag afforded to him only by Forest fans, though later it was adopted by England supporters too. In recognition of his talents and his support for various charities, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in January 1999.

England career


He made his debut for England against Brazil in 1987 (the 999th player to receive an England cap) and, from 1988 onwards, became the first choice left back for his country, in so doing wrestling the number three jersey away from Kenny Sansom prior to Sansom's thirtieth birthday. Injury robbed him of a place as Sansom's back-up in England's squad for the 1988 European Championships, but after the tournament, coach Bobby Robson decided to make Pearce his first choice left back. He ultimately became Forest's most capped outfield player and ended up with 78 international appearances to his name.

1990 World Cup

At the 1990 World Cup, Pearce had a goal ruled out from a free kick during a group game against the Netherlands, but played well throughout the tournament, setting up a goal for David Platt in the quarter-finals and operating as a more attacking left back than normal as England deployed a sweeper system. England progressed to the semi-finals, and Pearce was one of two unfortunate players (the other being Chris Waddle) to miss a penalty in the shoot-out which took place against West Germany after the match had ended in a 1–1 draw. Pearce left the field in tears.

Euro 92

Pearce played in an unsuccessful Euro 92 campaign for England, when they failed to win any of their group games. He had a thunderous free kick strike the underside of the crossbar and bounce away from goal in a drawn game against France. Moments before taking the free kick, Pearce was headbutted by French defender Basile Boli, leaving a gash on his cheek. When England won the free kick Pearce immediately disregarded his injury and rushed to take it. The referee insisted on Pearce having the blood wiped from his face first, but Pearce soon returned and unleashed his thunderbolt, which failed to go in.

1994 World Cup

England's failure to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United Statesmarker included a personal nightmare for Pearce, when his underhit back pass allowed forward Davide Gualtieri to score for San Marino (who at the time had never won an international game) inside the first eight seconds of their qualifier. England still won the game 7–1, but qualification was highly unlikely anyway as England needed Poland to defeat the Netherlands, but the Dutch won the game 3–1 and England were knocked out.

Euro 96

When Terry Venables became England coach later in 1994, Pearce lost his place to Graeme Le Saux but then regained it after Le Saux suffered a broken leg. Pearce stayed in the side into the Euro 96 competition, laying his ghosts to rest with a successful penalty in a quarter-final shoot-out against Spain, which England won. His forceful, emotional celebration in front of an ecstatic Wembleymarker crowd became one of English football's most celebrated images. He repeated the feat in the semi-final shoot-out against Germany but once again the Germans emerged victorious.

After the tournament, Pearce joined fellow England penalty missers Chris Waddle and Gareth Southgate (who missed in Euro 96) in a light-hearted commercial for Pizza Hut in which they poked fun at their own misfortunes.

International retirement

Pearce had intended to retire from international football after Euro 96, but new national coach Glenn Hoddle persuaded him to change his mind and he continued his international career for a few more seasons. He was not selected for the 1998 World Cup, but the appointment of Kevin Keegan to the England job and Pearce's form for West Ham prompted a recall for the 36-year-old for two qualifying games for Euro 2000. During one match against Luxemburg Pearce even had a goal disallowed for an offside. Pearce's broken leg later put paid to further international chances and he ended his international career in 1999 with 78 caps, which for a time put him in the all-time top ten appearance makers for England.

During his one match tenure, Peter Taylor appointed Pearce as assistant manager. England played, and lost, to Italy in Romemarker

As of 2009 Pearce is England's 12th most capped player, although his predecessor Kenny Sansom remains the more capped with 86. However, in a 2000 poll to find England's greatest XI, the public voted overwhelmingly for Stuart Pearce to take the left back spot. Sansom and Ashley Cole, the other candidates in the poll, trailed well behind.

Coaching career

Manchester City

After ending his playing career with Manchester City, he remained at the club as a coach under manager Kevin Keegan. In March 2005, less than three years after retiring, he was appointed caretaker of City after Keegan left the club. After a successful run of form, which put the club close to UEFA Cup qualification, Pearce was given the job on a permanent basis. However, they missed the opportunity to reach Europe on the final game of the season by drawing 1–1 with . Robbie Fowler missed a penalty in the last minute which, if it had gone in, would have given City a UEFA Cup place.

Despite a successful start to the 2005–06 season, Man City finished 15th in the Premiership due to losing nine of the last ten games. They were also eliminated from the League Cup by League One side . Pearce developed the reputation as being unusually fair and honest by refusing to criticise referees for mistakes they may have made. He was also touted as a potential successor for England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Pearce failed to bring about an improvement in the 2006–07 season which saw Man City come close to relegation. The club were again eliminated from the League Cup by a League One team, this time by . The side also scored just 10 goals at home in the league, and none after New Years Day in 2007, a record low in top-flight English football. Pearce was sacked at the end of the season in May 2007.

England Under 21s

In February 2007, before his sacking by Man City, Pearce had been appointed manager of the England Under-21 team, initially part-time in conjunction with his role at Man City. Under his guidance, England reached the semi-finals of the 2007 UEFA Under-21 Championships but were eliminated on penalties by the hosts, the Netherlands. This success, coupled with the ending of his job at Man City, saw him appointed as the full-time manager of the England Under-21 team in July 2007.

His role in the England set-up was extended in January 2008 when new manager Fabio Capello appointed Pearce as a coach for the senior England team in addition to his Under-21 duties.

In June 2009, he guided the England Under 21's to the final of the 2009 UEFA Under-21 Championships where they lost 4-0 to Germany.

Personal life

Pearce is a known devotee of punk rock and is visible as one of the members of a frenetic audience featured on the cover of a live album by one of his favourite bands, The Lurkers. Additionally, he has met The Stranglers nearly 30 times, and has had a record label named after him by the band, Psycho Records. He also enjoys reading, going to the theatre and owns racehorses with his wife, Liz.

In 1998, Pearce was involved in a serious car crash, when the car Pearce was driving was crushed due to a lorry overturning and landing onto the roof of the car. Pearce escaped with only minor hand injuries and a stiff back.[76222].

His autobiography, Psycho, was released in 2001 and became a Sunday Times best seller.

In 2006, Pearce's seven year old daughter Chelsea insisted that he took her toy horse Beany on to the touchline with him when Manchester City were in action. Pearce resignedly did so, stating it was impossible to tell a small girl why he shouldn't, but after City won the match, superstition took over and Beany ended up alongside him in the technical area for several games to come until City were defeated. Beany's name was then chanted by City fans for many games during their successful run in December.

His brother Dennis is a British National Party activist and was third on the BNP list for London for the European Parliament election, 2009. However, in a brief statement through the FA - which has a strong anti-racism stance - Pearce said: "My brother's views are his own and do not in any way reflect mine."[76223].


As a player

Nottingham Forest


Newcastle United
  • FA Cup runner-up: 1999

West Ham United

Manchester City

As a manager

England U-21s

Managerial stats

Team Nat From To Record
G W L D Win %
Nottingham Forest 20 December 1996 8 May 1997 23 7 7 9 30.4
Manchester City 11 March 2005 14 May 2007 97 34 43 20 35.1
England U-21s 1 February 2007 Present 17 9 1 7 52.9


  2. Manchester Evening News - Pearce backs ref over penalty claim Accessed 21 December 2006
  3. Man City sacking: website, Accessed 14 May 2007
  4. Manchester City FC official website accessed 14 May 2007
  5. Results for Pearce's record in the U21 job from here, here and here.

External links

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