Stuart Pearce. The Legend of Psycho
Updated: Feb 26
One of the true legends of Nottingham Forest and England Stuart Pearce is one of the most popular guests we have ever had at Superstar Speakers. Whether its exclusive signing sessions or his hilarious 'Evening with' events, Psycho always delivers. In this blog we have brought together a few of our favourite moments about the iconic life of Stuart Pearce
The Famous 'Fixing the Iron' Story
Every guest we have at our live events has one story that EVERYONE asks. This is Stuart Pearce's and with all great stories from Nottingham Forest legends, it involves Brian Clough.
The story goes that on returning to the City Ground after one of his England call ups, Brian Clough decided to bring Pearce back down to earth, in his unique style. He walked into the dressing room with his usual ball and towel – but this time with an extra, mystery bag.
‘How do you think you played for England on Tuesday night son?’ He asked
‘I thought I did alright’ Replied Pearce
‘I didn’t’ he said ‘I thought you were shit son’ then went on to enquire why there was an advert for Stuart Pearce Electricians in the Forest Programme (As Pearce had been an electrician before turning professional and his brother still worked in the trade)
Clough then proceeds to say ‘If my Barbara calls this number you won’t be coming, will you?’
‘No’ replied Pearce ‘It will be my brother’
‘Lads Our captain is a fraud’ Cloughie responded and then walks over to the mystery bag and pulls out an iron ‘Our Barbara’s iron is (broken) and if you don’t fix it, you’re not in the team Saturday’
To find out how the story ends visit our YouTube Channel to hear Forest legend and Pearce’s mate Mark Crossley tell us all about it (click the image for the video clip)
2. Penalty Shoot-out Redemption
The moment that made Pearce a legend.
No England fan of a certain age will ever forget this moment in history. A moment that personifies the personality, bravery and strength of character of Stuart Pearce. Arguably it is the second most iconic moment in the history of English football history after the World Cup win of 1966.
The story begins inn the 1990 World Cup Semi Final against West Germany, it went down to a penalty shootout and Pearce being the fearless and patriotic man that he is, stepped up for the fourth penalty and it was saved by the West German Goalkeeper.
This combined with Chris Waddle’s miss sent England out of the World Cup, a tournament that many thought they could win and the first semi final that the country had been in since 1966.
6 years later in Euro 1996 it was another penalty shootout, this time against Spain in the Quarter Finals and Pearce once again steps up.
The nation held its breath, here was Stuart Pearce putting himself in the firing line in front of the whole country. A man who before the tournament wasn't even guaranteed to be picked for the squad and with the memories and emotions of Italia 90 still fresh in everyones mind, But Stuart Pearce being the man that he is, stepped up
Even England Manager Terry Venables was surprised that Pearce wanted to take the penalty
“We got to the end of extra-time, we all come together in the centre circle and I went over to Terry and I thought, ‘If I leave this to chance he’s not going to pick me to take a penalty because of my history.’ I just said to him, ‘I’ll take the third penalty.’
“He looked at me and went, ‘Are you fucking sure?!’
“I went, Yeah, I think I am. I was before you said that!
Pearce placed the ball, and struck it with every fibre of his being. The nation watched as the ball powered its way into the back of the net and all of a sudden, 6 years of pain, anguish and disappointment left him as he screamed ‘come on’ at the top of his lungs and furiously punched the air, celebrating a moment with the rest of the nation – leading to one of Sports most iconic moments and iconic photographs
Pearce’s philosophy was simple: “It would have been physically impossible for me not to take one of the kicks. Failure for me was not missing, it was standing on the half-way line watching someone else take the kick.”
With that one moment, one act of bravery - English Football History was made
Check out our Stuart Pearce Signed England Memorabilia here
3. He was manager of the 2012 Olympic GB team and DIDN'T pick David Beckham
After retiring from playing Pearce moved into the world of management, which seemed like a natural fit for the no-nonsense hard man. Pearce was the England Under 21 manager and had been since 2007 so he was perfect for the Team GB position.
Expectation was high for a Great British Eleven, with London hosting the event this was the first time Team GB had a football team in the Olympics since 1960 after a the FA stopped recognition of the difference between professional and amateur footballers, and since the GB team was based around the England Amateur team, the FA stopped entering a football team into the Olympics
The big talking point with Pearce’s team was the fact that David Beckham wasn’t included dispite Beckham’s work in bringing the Olympics to London and using his personal brand and status to generate interest, expectation said that Beckham would not only be in the team, but the captain.
Pearce didn’t pick him. The team was allowed 3 ‘overage players’ and Pearce’s team choice was based on “Form and form alone”
In normal circumstances the managers decision is final, but David Beckham brings another level of media awareness and exposure to any event so much so that Pearce was aware that converstaions were going on behind his back to try and include Beckham in the team.
Speaking to Talksport he said
“I think discussions were had, baring in mind adidas sponserd the games, the kit and they were also David’s sponser…I think conversations were also had between David’d agent and the FA about him having the captaincy – all these things were going on behind my back”
It even got mentioned in Parliament!
Despite all the talk, Beckham didn’t play in the team with Pearce's three 'overage' players being Ryan Giggs (as Captain), Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards. Britain only made it to the Quarter Finals
4. He once played Goalkeeper David James as a striker for Manchester City
Having played under the master of psychology Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest, you would imagine that Stuart Pearce picked up a thing or two on the subject. However on the final day of the 2004/2005 season Pearce made a decision that even Cloughie didn’t dare try
It was either an inspired or insane move but Pearce made the ‘tactical’ substitution with 15 minutes to go. He put David James up front, partnered with Robbie Fowler, in the hope of getting the goal they needed to secure European football.
James even had an outfield shirt with number one printed on the back!
Unfortunately the game ended in a draw, but in the defense of James at the start of the game even he didn’t know it was going to happen!
“What followed was pure hilarity.
The 6ft 4in goalkeeper couldn’t have looked more out of place. He was like a bull in a china shop.
In one calamitous moment, he took out two opponents with a horrendously mistimed challenge after he had completely mishit a volley.”
In retrospect Pearce said
"I sat at home on Saturday night and thought to myself: 'What shall I do if we're drawing the game late on and need to hit it long?'" Pearce explained. "I've got a good striker in Jon Macken, who is really disappointed, but I wanted to unsettle them and in some ways it did.
“It unsettled everyone . . . them and us."
However you look at it, its one of the truely great and memorable moments in Premier League history
5. He is on the cover of an album and has appeared on punk rock shows on radio
Its well known that Psycho is a huge fan of Punk Rock music. But its less common knowledge that he is actually featured on the cover of ‘The Lurkers’ Live album Gods Lonely Men, right in the middle of the mosh pit with the rest of the crowd.
He has seen The Stranglers over 300 times, and in an attempt to live hos rock star dreams he was allowed by the band to smash up their dressing room which he did with pure joy and scared the life out of Sean Dyche
Pearce is such a life long fan of the genre he has even featured on BBC 6 music with Steve Lamacq, talking about his favourite songs and moments in Punk Culture
6. He is the Third oldest outfield player to play for England
Not just that, but he is the 9th oldest player overall, with only Stanley Matthews and Les Compton (as outfield players) ahead of him.
At the age of 37 years and 137 days Stuart Pearce represented his country in the Euro 2000 qualifiers. 8th September 1999 in a goalless draw against Poland Stuart Pearce made his last appearance for his country.
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