DUBBED ‘Psycho’ for the kind of enthusiastic tackling that saw his reputation precede him, Stuart Pearce remains one of the most beloved defenders in the modern era.
Having started his career with non-league Wealdstone (while still working as an electrician), Pearce moved to Coventry City before moving on to Nottingham Forest where he became a club legend, winning two League Cups, two Full Members’ Cups and the club’s Player of the Year award on three occasions.
Hulton Archive – Getty Stuart Pearce and his iconic celebration after scoring in England’s Euro 96 quarter-final
Getty – Contributor It came after the hard-man agonisingly saw his penalty saved against Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-final
Getty Images – Getty He now works as a pundit with TalkSPORT
He also won 78 caps for England, scoring five goals and the picture of him converting his penalty in the Euro ’96 shootout against Spain, six years after his crucial miss in the World Cup semi-final, remains one of the most iconic images in English football….
His family are football fanatics…
When Nottingham Forest played away at Brighton in the 1986/87 Littlewoods Cup, one of the linesman happened to be his brother Ray – and nobody noticed.
“No one knew, apart from the Forest team,” he recalled in his autobiography. “It was funny running up the wing and having my brother alongside me on the touchline. He could have booked me because I kept taking the mickey out of him – ‘Oi, you ginger d***head,’ is one thing I remember calling him.”
PA:Empics Sport Pearce moved to Nottingham Forest in 1985 and would go on to stay 12 years
Getty – Contributor Club captain Pearce was affectionately known as Psycho by the Forest fans
PA:Empics Sport Pearce celebrates winning the 1989 Football League Cup final with Forest
PA:Empics Sport Pearce had a terrific left foot which helped him register 87 career goals
He’s a massive music fan…
In an era when most of his contemporaries were listening to Luther Vandross, Pearce’s penchant for punk certainly made him stand out.
Not only does he feature on the sleeve of God’s Lonely Men by The Lurkers but he also once smashed up The Strangler’s dressing room, albeit with the band’s permission.
He even got to introduce The Sex Pistols live on stage at London’s Finsbury Park in 1996, accompanied by that other famous punk rocker, current England boss Gareth Southgate.
GOALDEN BROWN Sean Dyche reveals how ‘Psycho’ Stuart Pearce scared him by smashing up The Stranglers’ dressing room
PA:Empics Sport A fresh-faced Pearce with his first club Wealdstone
PA:Empics Sport The London-born defender then turned out for Coventry City before moving to Nottingham Forest
He was no respecter of reputations…
When Ruud Gullit took over as manager of Newcastle in 1998 he found the relationships with more senior players in the side, like Pearce, Alan Shearer, Rob Lee and John Barnes, a little rocky and often sidelined them in favour of younger players.
For the players, it was a clear signal that the Dutchman felt threatened by them and their influence at the club.
Mind you, Pearce didn’t really help matters.
During one training session he smashed into his manager, sending him hurtling to the turf.
Cue laughter all round.
PA:Press Association Pearce, who moved to Newcastle in 1997, was among the senior players sidelined by manager Ruud Gullit
News Group Newspapers Ltd You didn’t mess with Pearce on the pitch
News Group Newspapers Ltd Although the emotion was too much when England were beaten on penalties in the Euro 96 semi-final