Stuart Pearce: What Nottingham Forest can expect from Psycho

By Neil HeathBBC Nottingham
Three images of Stuart Pearce
Stuart Pearce said his approach to management is very different to how he played the game

With the appointment of Stuart Pearce as manager of Nottingham Forest, BBC Radio Nottingham asks what kind of person he is and the type of manager fans can expect to see at the City Ground.

Pearce spent 12 years with the Reds as a player and a short time as caretaker manager, becoming a hugely popular figure with supporters, and will return as boss on a two-year contract in the summer.

The 51-year-old has management experience from a two-year spell at Manchester City and his time in charge of the England Under-21 side, a post he held until June last year.

Des Walker, team-mate of Pearce at Nottingham Forest and England

"Stuart Pearce is really hard working and he's grafted for every single thing he's ever got in football. He puts in maximum effort and application and will want that from any team he puts out.

Des Walker
Walker played alongside Pearce for seven years

"People don't realise he can be quite a relaxed character at times. I roomed with him a lot and he can be a lot of fun to be around.

"The club will reap the benefit of his experience and there's no reason this shouldn't work. Everyone just needs a bit of time.

"The only sad thing for me is that he hasn't taken the job from today. Him coming in could have given the club the lift and momentum into the play-offs and right through into the Premier League.

"Stuart won't judge himself as a popular figure, he'll judge himself as a manager.

"He has huge knowledge - remember, he's managed some of the top young players in the game and knows more about them than almost anyone else. Forest's future is its young players."

Colin Fray, BBC Radio Nottingham's Forest correspondent

"There can be no doubt that the return of Pearce to the City Ground is momentous, and as he walked out of the tunnel to be greeted by a host of camera lenses, there was a frisson of excitement.

"It came from a mixture of memories - echoes of "Psycho" chants from the Trent End - and of anticipation - the prospect of thousands of forearms pumping in unison when he takes charge of his first City Ground game in August. His appointment is a masterstroke of PR - season-ticket sales will only increase, as will the excitement ahead of next season's opener.

"As a manager, Pearce may well feel he has something to prove, and that can only help the Reds, too. A determined Pearce is a man to be feared by those who stand in his way - just ask right-wingers of the late 1980s and early 90s.

"He will need to get the players on his side quickly, but he won't have to work too hard to persuade too many of the fans.

"I well remember after one cup success, a packed Old Market Square celebrating while Forest's players were on the balcony. The place was screaming bedlam as one Stuart Pearce arrived at the microphone.

"He raised his outstretched arms, and uttered the words 'easy now'. Cue immediate and deferential silence. Such reverence was borne out of a respect for Pearce's outstanding efforts on behalf of the club. Seventeen years have passed since he left, but you sense those efforts will not be lessened now he's back as the boss."

(left to right) Stuart Pearce, Fawaz Al Hasawi, John McGovern
Stuart Pearce with chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi, and ex-Reds captain and club ambassador John McGovern

Brian Laws, former team-mate at Nottingham Forest

"I think it's an excellent appointment - he's highly suited for the job. If you're looking for passion and commitment for the football club then you've hit the nail on the head.

"I think he's proven he's able to manage people. He's worked with some absolutely talented players with the [England] Under-21s, he's been thought highly of as a potential England manager. His credentials don't have to be in question.

"He's managed a very big club in Manchester City and he's shown even at those stages his passion for the game, his leadership on the park and he's well respected by players. What Forest will be gaining is that instant respect.

"From Nottingham Forest's perspective it's a great coup."

Goalkeeper Steve Sutton, played with Pearce at Nottingham Forest for seven years

Steve Sutton
Sutton played with Pearce in the 1989 and 1990 League Cup finals

"The fans want to see a friendly face that they know and they can trust and Stuart Pearce certainly fits into that mould.

"You could certainly get to know him. His persona when he stepped over the line was tremendously different to the one in the dressing room after the game.

"I got on quite well with him. We used to go for meals, we were quite friendly and there was none of that [on-field persona] on show there.

"He was quite a mild-mannered guy until he stepped over the white line.

"Obviously when he stepped into football mode, and work mode, he was a leader on the field - not really with words but certainly with actions and the way he went about his football and the way he rampaged, if you like.

"He was one of these full-backs who go forward scoring 15-16 goals a season, I know some of those were penalties, but even so, he would get forward into that left side of midfield and create havoc and that's what he was best at.

"He also had some hard tackles in him, he probably got a bit of bad press for that but he didn't do that too often really."

Stuart Pearce had a spell as Forest's caretaker manager in 1997
Stuart Pearce took over from Frank Clark at Nottingham Forest in 1997 in a caretaker role

Alan Fisher, writer for Forest fans' website Lost That Loving Feeling

"Any fan lucky enough to have followed Forest during Pearce's dozen years as captain and left-back must harbour similar feelings towards the man.

"Watching the rest of the squad warm up without him, only to be led out by our heroic captain who would then run to greet the Trent End - and latterly A Block - who would be to a man and woman performing the 'psycho salute'.

"Spine tingling, it was. It makes me sad that later generations have had such paltry idols in comparison - but then, are there many other players anywhere like him?

Pearce proud to take over at Forest

"It would've been a hard-hearted England fan regardless of club allegiance not to shed a tear when Pearce stepped up to bury that penalty in Euro 96. Indeed, when he returned to the City Ground as a Manchester City player his first crunching tackle on a home player was greeted with cheers from all the fans.

"In the past, I've resisted the call to have him as manager as, frankly, his managerial record is not that great.

"However, having seen a series of self-serving managers with no connection to the club, getting someone at the helm who understands the club and cares for it beyond himself is hugely appealing now, so if we are once again to have 'Psycho' as our leader then I for one am on board for the ride."

Stuart Pearce, on his personality and style of management

"[My style of management] is a multitude of many, many things. I think I have a reputation [from people] that don't know me and expect I'm a certain way, a certain type of person.

"When they get to know me they're pleasantly surprised that I'm a little bit more relaxed than they think I am.

"My job basically is to make sure I galvanise a football team that the supporters at this football club are proud of, play a good brand of football and improve every one of the players under my care over time.

"Whether they come through the academy to represent Nottingham Forest - hopefully - or whether they go and have a career in football, my job is to improve players."

Stuart Pearce scores a free kick
Pearce scored 88 league and cup goals for Nottingham Forest