Gloucestershire

Stuart Pearce: England legend signs for Longford AFC

A composite image of Stuart Pearce and the home of Longford FC Image copyright Getty Images/Google
Image caption Stuart Pearce could turn round the fortunes of Longford AFC who have conceded 179 goals this season

England football legend Stuart Pearce is set to come out of retirement aged 53 in a bid to transform the fortunes of a struggling non-league side.

Nicknamed Psycho, the former Nottingham Forest defender played in a World Cup semi-final in 1990 but has signed for a team dubbed "the worst in the UK".

Longford AFC, based in Gloucestershire, have lost all 18 games this season, scoring one goal and letting in 179.

Pearce said the grassroots game was "essential" to the sport's lifeblood.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Pearce has been told he still needs to pay his £5 a game sub
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pearce was part of the England sides knocked out of both Italia 90 and Euro 96 in the semi-finals

"I started out in non-league football playing for Wealdstone before joining Coventry City," he said.

"So I'm looking forward to working with manager Nick Dawe, and helping a group of talented young footballers achieve their dreams and, hopefully transforming both the dressing room confidence, as well as the on-the-pitch performance, and seeing how far they can go up the league."

Longford AFC's biggest losses

2015-16 season

179

goals conceded

  • 0-17 Loss at home to Bibury

  • 16-0 Loss away to Lydney Town Reserves

  • 0-15 Loss at home to Quedgeley Wanderers

  • 14-0 Loss away to Woolaston

Longford AFC are rooted to the bottom of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division Two.

With an awful record and a growing interest from the media, the side has been dubbed "the worst team in England".

But that could change following the recruitment of their star January signing, who is expected to train with the squad before playing one game with them.

'No special treatment'

Nick Dawe, Longford AFC manager, said the opportunity would give the side "the best chance possible to go further than we ever have done before".

Media captionFormer England captain Stuart Pearce says he has "gone full circle" after signing for non-league side Longford AFC.

"A year ago we were playing in front of one man and his dog and now we are set to [attract] hundreds for Stuart Pearce's debut," he added.

"Stuart knows that there will be no special treatment, he will still need to pay his £5 a game subs."

Pearce, a winner of 78 England caps, was part of Sir Bobby Robson's squad that reached the last four of the World Cup in Italy in 1990, and the Terry Venables-led side that was eliminated at the same stage of Euro '96.

He retired from playing six years after that, having enjoyed spells at Newcastle United, Manchester City, West Ham, Coventry and non-league Wealdstone as well as captaining Forest under the management of Brian Clough.

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