Since the sacking of Billy Davies in late March, Nottingham Forest have been looking for a new manager, someone who can get them back on track after a turbulent period under the Scotsman. The Guardian’s Louise Taylor pointed to Davies “paranoia, self-destructive insecurities and obsession with conspiracy theories and old grudges” as the reasons behind his downfall. Results slipped, confidence in his abilities wavered and his job at Forest quite simply became untenable. After his dismissal, Forest stepped up their search to replace him with a more calming influence and in the end opted for a Psycho. But the Psycho in question is a club legend, notably Stuart “Psycho” Pearce. The former Forest and England left back has agreed to return to the club as its new manager starting July 1st much to the delight of the home fans.
It will be Pearce’s second spell in charge, having already had a taste of dug out life at the City Ground, as caretaker in 1996, following the sacking of Frank Clark. But this time, he is in the chair full time and will be allowed to sculpt the squad under his image. It’s a welcomed return to club management for Pearce after spending the last seven years working in the international scene with England and notably Great Britain. The summer of 2012 saw Pearce take charge of the Great Britain Olympics team, a major honour for Pearce that no one can take away. But his desire to return to club management has always remained and the chance to show that his time at Manchester City as manager wasn’t a blip on his career. He left City in 2007, one year before the Saudi bandwagon rolled in and radically changed the club, making it into the force you see today. Pearce’s time at the club was hardly the making of a legend, with City struggling to finish mid table on two out of the three seasons he held the position for.
Now back at Forest, he is returning to a ground of familiarity, a home away from home where he spent 12 years as a player. It was at Forest when Pearce had his best spell as a player which led to international honours with England. His iconic appearance at Italia ’90, where he missed the decisive penalty against West Germany in the semi’s, will always be remembered by English fans who saw this usually tough left back break down in tears at the games end. Redemption came six years later in Euro 1996 with England preciously dangling on the edge of elimination due to a quarter final shoot out with Spain, Pearce stepped up to take one of the penalties. He smashed it home and the famous Psycho roar was born through a sheer release of emotion. The tournament would be bitter sweet with eventual winners Germany coming back to haunt England in the semi’s, that also acted as the last curtain call for Pearce and his international adventure.
Taking on the challenge that Forest presents will not be easy, given their recent decline. Once one of England’s great forces, Nottingham Forest have been a team in decline, dropping from the Premiership into the Championship in 1999 and have yet to bounce back despite several attempts. Now under new owners in the form of Kuwaiti businessman Fawaz Al-Hasawi, Forest are once again looking to revamp their squad in time for the new season and a push for the automatic promotion places. Pearce will have funds available to spend but its unsure how much. Given the current state of the Forest squad, the investment needed can only be described as significant in order to effectively compete against the stronger teams in the league. Pearce will have a nucleus of players that he had use as he builds his new look team but will have to dip into the market wisely in order to take Forest up a level or two. The challenge begins in earnest July 1st with pre season training. Only then will the Forest players really understand why people have gotten used to calling Pearce by the name Psycho.