Stuart Pearce MBE was most recently manager of Nottingham Forest.
Pearce is a true playing legend of the game who is now making a siginificant impression in coaching after his playing experiences where he was managed by some of the greats including - Brian Clough, Terry Venables and Sir Bobby Robson.
He began his playing career at Wealdstone in 1982, before a transfer to the big time, spending two years at Coventry City. However it was at Nottingham Forest that Pearce spent most of his time, becoming a legend for club and country. By the last count his playing career took in 570 games (scoring 72 goals) at club level and an incredible 78 caps for England. Those figures however, don't tell the story of England's most committed left back in their history – key memories include a sapping penalty miss in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, only exorcised in Euro 96 when he scored a spot-kick against Spain (providing the tournament with one of its iconic images). His time at Forest came to an end after the 1996/97 season, which also included his first managerial post (more of which later) – he had spent 12 years with the club, making more than 500 appearances. From there he moved to Newcastle United (playing 37 games) before a spell at West Ham (42 games over 2 years). His final club, in terms of playing was Manchester City where he became a crowd favourite. He joined the club in the summer of 2001 and spent a season combining his playing role with that of defensive coach before hanging up his boots.
Following that taster coupled with his early forage into management it was obvious where Pearce's ambitions lay, and he began his journey as coach at City under Kevin Keegan. As mentioned earlier, there was a brief 23 game spell in charge of Nottingham Forest during the last 5 months of the 1996/7 season. Pearce picked up his first ever Manager of the month award - it was enough to show Stuart the way forward, and it was not until 8 years later when he finally got a big opportunity of his own.
When Kevin Keegan left the Manchester City in March 2005, Pearce was appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the season. This time his time in charge was a massive success, as he guided the blue half of Manchester to 4 wins, 4 draws and only 1 defeat – meaning safety in the top League, with City only just missing out on a place in the UEFA Cup when Robbie Fowler missed an injury time penalty against Middlesbrough in the last game.
It was a done deal – the players wanted him, the fans wanted, the pundits wanted him, but most importantly the board wanted him, and he was given the job full-time. It was time to mould the team and show the world the way forward, his way. He began the season with a five game unbeaten run (including a fine point in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford), picking first Manager of the Month Award to add to the one he won during the last month of the previous season – he was on his way.
As a man of ambition, he was looking further a field and when the England Under-21 job came up he grabbed it with both hands taking over on 1st February 2007 in a part time role. He led the team into the Under-21 European Championships in Holland. It was then after his departure from City that Pearce was confirmed as the full time manager of the U21 national team.
It left him free to concentrate on the U21 and he led the team all the way to a mammoth semi-final against the holders and host Holland. Despite missing out in the semis, Pearce would then lead his team to the final of the 2009 UEFA Under-21 Championships in Sweden where his impressive record continued.
Combining his successes with the U21s, Pearce also made a significant contribution to the senior side by helping Fabio Capello guide England to the FIFA World Cup Finals 2010 in South Africa.
Later, Pearce led the Great Britain team at the 2012 London Olympics. In June 2013 and after last six years with the U21s, Pearce left the role at The FA. In total he successfully guided England to four European Under-21 Championships.
It is one thing developing a team in his mould, but he is a manager who lives the game – kicking every ball, and showing the fans his appetite for the role through his demonstrative style both on the pitch and on the touchline. He is in short a manager on the move, a young English manager whose stock is rising.
Pearce has also successfully completed the League Managers Association's Certificate in Applied Management course, run in conjunction with Warwick University.