Saturday March 22nd 2014 is a date that will not be forgotten quickly in the East Midlands. It was the day that Billy Davies, a man who had been involved in football there for most of the last 6 years, was sacked for the third and final (touch wood) time as Derby County trounced Nottingham forest 5-0.
Of course it’s a day which will go down in Ram’s folk law, but that evening as the news soaked through that Fawaz Al Hasawi had taken to the decision to remove Davies from his position, Forest fans also had a reason to be happy. Davies had been in charge for just over a year an in that time had managed too dismantle a productive academy set up, ruin all relationships with media outlets, both national and local, and severely tarnish Forests once great reputation in the football world. Touchline bans, rumours of disagreements with the chairman and corruption behind the scenes stemming from his cousin/failed lawyer/Forest unofficial CEO Jim Price had made Davies’ chances of keeping his job slim, and the 5-0 hammering in the biggest game of the season was the final nail in his coffin. Forests form slump meant they missed out on the play offs and needed to hire someone to clean up “king Billy’s” mess. And that man was Stuart Pearce.
Pearce can only be described as a legend at Forest, 10 years as captain and now manager. In his past roles as boss ‘Psycho’ has been indifferent to say the least, an uninspiring spell at pre-Arab Man City and an ‘up and down’ time as England U21s manager. But now, taking the reigns at a club he loves and is loved at there’s a feeling that this time will be different. And he has started well.
Forest’s previous regime had removed many important employees as Davies had seeked revenge on people he deemed to have double-crossed him when he was sacked originally by Forest. But with experienced off field signings like Steve Wigley as academy manager and Tim flowers as goalie coach Pearce is already remedying the situation. His approach to media has been a breath of fresh air for fans as he opens up all players for interviews and even had a ‘press breakfast’ with journalists where he answered any burning questions. Being a well respected man in English football is helping rebuild some bridges for the reds and this can be seen in the signings made by Pearce; Matty Fryatt came in on a free, turning a host of other clubs down in the process.
Its also clear that Pearce wants to use youth, saying he will resist any bids for young players like Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow as well as suggesting he will use Forests academy to fill some positions. This along with young pedigree signings like Barcelona’s Roger Riera and Sunderland’s Louis Laing show Pearce’s vision to make Forest an attractive young side.
Stuart Pearce played under Forests greatest ever boss, Brain Clough, and fans will be hoping that at least some of his managerial magic has rubbed off. Theres a whole season ahead that fans will be eagerly awaiting but success or failure Pearce will always be a hero to forest fans.