Nottingham Forest have announced that Stuart Pearce will become their new manager, following the dismissal of Billy Davies. The former player will begin a two-year contract on 1 July and met the media today at a press conference at the City Ground

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Stuart, you’ve taken the job — is this a U-turn? Did you turn it down and if so, why?

Stuart Pearce: I wouldn’t call it a U-turn. We had discussions with last week, I was very impressed with the owner and at the time I suggested I had so much on from a personal nature and commercial aspects leading into the summer, and the World Cup as well, that it probably wasn’t the right time. Fawaz has come back to me and said ‘Would you be prepared to take the job in the summer?’ and I jumped at the opportunity. It was a difficult decision to turn round last week and put my personal reasons forward but everything seems right and it gives me the opportunity to pre-plan for the summer, and I’ve just signed a contract that starts on 1 July.

That could be a very awkward situation if Gary Brazil gets them promoted to the Premier League?

SP: I hope he does. I think the greater good is not me, or the chairman, or the fans, it’s the football club — the whole football club in general. And we want to play in the highest possible league and if that means this summer, and it happens this summer, then all well and good.

Fawaz, you’ve had a big smile on your face. How pleased are you Stuart is taking over on July 1st?

Fawaz Al Hasawi: Of course I am really happy, delighted to have Stuart with us in Nottingham. He’s a very good manager — he was with the national team and Manchester City, he had a big CV. I wish him all the best with us. To be honest, I am really happy as chairman and owner and also for the fans, because the fans like Stuart. And, to be honest, we are going to start, as he mentioned, in the summer and I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m going to put this as nicely as possible, it’s been said that you’ve put other people off because you like to get involved with the team and to make your own decisions. Are you going to keep away from that? Are you going to back off?

FAH: I’m going to keep away. To be honest, that’s the manager who didn’t take the job. They mentioned this and I don’t blame them to be honest, because I was waiting to pick the right manager and Stuart Pearce is the right manager for Forest. We were talking with some managers and the manager who didn’t take the job, he’s the one who mentioned to the media and the news that Fawaz is interfering. And thanks to John McGovern, who is sat next to me, knows Fawaz Al Hasawi and everybody knows who’s job.

Stuart, you’ve got assurances that you pick the team and players coming in are the players that you want, and not the chairman?

SP: Well that comes naturally with any job in management. The one thing that I was very impressed with — the chairman wants to take an interest in the football club, and that really impresses me. In my time at Manchester City we invited the chairman into meetings, we invited the chairman to take an interest, come down and watch training. And that, for me, is a real plus — it’s not a negative in any way, shape or form. I want the whole club to be as one and that has to start with the man who owns the football club and goes right down to every employee at this football club, they have to take an interest in this club. In my time, and the time before, when I was at this club, the strength of Nottingham Forest was the togetherness of everybody at the club. We have to make sure all of us here that can’t actually directly get a result on the football pitch — that’s the players — we have to serve those players and make sure there’s a benefit and back-up to them to drive the club forward.

Have you got money to spend? Have you got a decent kitty?

SP: I haven’t even talked to the chairman about that, the only thing that he’s said to me at this moment in time — I’ve not asked him the question — the only thing he’s said to me, he’ll back me. He’s done so with the previous manager financially and I have no reason to suspect that he won’t with myself. I also have a big reputation of bringing players through from the academy as well and I think the academy’s a big lifeblood of any football club. If we have ability and quality in the academy I’d like to progress those players as well. If we can do a mix of both, all well and good.

John McGovern, you represent a great time in this club’s history — can Stuart bring the good times back?

John McGovern: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously everyone knows about Stuart’s playing career, which was outstanding, and his managerial experience is in depth as well. So we had no real worries about bringing Stuart and we’re just delighted that he’s actually here. Obviously I was initially invited by the chairman to become ambassador for the club, with not a great job description but obviously to give him advice on certain things. With the contacts I still had in the game as well, it helps when you’re doing your homework on who should we bring to the club. Obviously we didn’t have to do too much homework on Stuart, having been a former player we knew all about him, just availability was the difficulty rather than choosing through a massive list of candidates.

Regarding backroom staff and the remit, who are you going to bring in and what do you have to do and what’s the timeframe?

 

SP: Between now and July 1st I’m going to put my backroom staff in place. The preseason needs to be looked at, the player staffing as well. So all of those things I’ll work from afar. Obviously I’ll want to make sure Gary is given the support that he needs but he doesn’t need interference from a manager-in-waiting. It’s important that he concentrates solely on the team at the moment and hopefully he can drive the club forward, get them into the play-offs and maybe into the Premier League I hope. If that’s not the case then we have to work together and I have to have everything in place by July 1St.

Stuart, how special is this club to you? And how much, therefore, of a pull was it maybe more so than another Championship club coming in for your services?

SP: It was probably more so of a pull than any club in the country if I’m being honest with you. I’m not particularly money-motivated, and never have been really, the pride and the passion of whatever I do comes way before any financial gain. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have represented five professional clubs and a non-league club on a playing basis that have been outstanding to me, and I like to think I’ve given good service. From a managing point of view, my time at City, representing England and the honour of representing England, and now the honour of coming back into this club is massive for me, it’s not lost on me — make no mistake about that. But I’m acutely aware of what I’ve done here as a player is totally irrelevant, it’s what I do from day one when I come through that door on 1st July to drive the club forward and make the man to my left very proud of me, and make sure he’s delivered the right man for this football club.

How would you describe your managerial style Stuart?

SP: A multitude of many, many things. I think I have a reputation out there, of people that don’t know me expect I’m a certain way or a certain type of person. When you get to know me they’re pleasantly surprised I’m a little bit more relaxed than they probably think I am. My job, basically, is to make sure we galvanise a football team that the supporters of this club are proud of, we play a good brand of football and I improve every one of the players under my care over time, whether they come through from the academy to represent Nottingham Forest hopefully or whether they go on to have a career in football. My job is to improve football players.

In terms of your involvement between now and 1st July, do you plan to watch the team very much?

SP: That’s something we’re going to look at. I’ll have a set of eyes that will be working for me that will be at all the games, in the background. I’ll be watching all the games obviously on DVD without a doubt and it just depends whether we see it prudent for me to be at any of the games, some of the games or whatever, in due course between now and the summer. Myself and the chairman will discuss that.

Clearly you’ve got a huge reputation here at Forest. And there is, of course, that idea of never go back to put that reputation at risk — was that kind of in the back of your mind a little bit?

SP: Not really, no because I think by the time I finish with management — and hopefully that will be a number of years’ time — if ever I felt I had the opportunity of joining this great club and turned it down, and never actually come through the door as manager, I don’t think I’d be totally fulfilled. Sometimes you’ve got to put yourself forward, I’ve never been the type of individual to shirk a challenge. This is a great challenge, make no mistake, there are a lot of clubs in the Championship that are desperate to get in the Premier League. I’m happy to lead that challenge, and lead this club and galvanise this club and drive it forward.

Have you seen much of Forest this season? I just wondered what your thoughts are with their current situation and whether you think they have what it takes to mount a late charge.

SP: I’ve not seen much of them this season. Obviously in years gone by — watching the likes of Blackstock and Lansbury — I’ve been to Forest as a work role as the Under-21 manager. I personally think there’s enough quality in this squad to drive into the play-offs and beyond that. At this stage of the season, as we’ve seen many, many times, it’s who hits form at the right time. The performance was very, very good at Ipswich — two home games coming up and there’s an opportunity there for the team to bounce back into the play-off positions.

Gary Brazil is going to be your man then now until the end of the season, are you confident that he can lift Forest back into the play-offs?

FAH: Gary Brazil is doing a good job, he’s one of the employees with us at Nottingham and he knows all the players which helps a lot. He’s been here since the beginning of the season and he knows what to do. We have maybe seven games to go and we played the last game against Ipswich much better than the game against Charlton. I think the player spirit is better now and we have seven games to look forward to and I think Gary will do it, why not?


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