In a whirlwind few hours at the City Ground, Dougie Freedman became the new Nottingham Forest manager as Stuart Pearce was shown the door after a dismal run of three wins in 21 games
Inevitable for some, unimaginable for others, Pearce’s tenure was always likely to be difficult. One way or another though it had to end eventually, somehow. But his legacy will never be tarnished.
In days, months, years to come, his seven-month reign will be a mere blip on that 12-year career as the swashbuckling skipper who led Brian Clough’s side to top three finishes, cup glory and an indelible stain in fans’ memories as a man amongst men.
Fawaz Al Hasawi said: “I would like to place on record my gratitude to Stuart Pearce for all his endeavours during his time as manager of Nottingham Forest. My decision to relieve Stuart of his duties is the hardest footballing decision I have ever made.
“I came to that decision after a long conversation with Stuart about the best next step for the club. Unfortunately, recent results convinced me it was best to pursue alternative managerial options. I hope our supporters understand my decision.
MORE FOREST STORIES
“Stuart is someone I have always admired and that will never change. For that reason I have offered him an advisory role at the club, which I sincerely hope he accepts so we can all move forward together.”
Sadly, the problems at Forest go much deeper than recent results. While Billy Davies’ football might have impressed, he dragged the club down. While Pearce picked the club up again, the performance on the pitch couldn’t match the off-field progress. We can only hope that Freedman works in tandem with Fawaz and Paul Faulkner to continue the development of the academy, scouting network and administrative set-up — and improve the position in the league table.
A Forest player from August 1998 to October 2000, Freedman made 83 appearances for the Reds scoring 23 goals. But it was his return to Palace where he became something of a fixture at Selhurst Park, eventually as assistant manager to Paul Hart in 2010 and then manager in January 2011.
Freedman left Palace in October 2012 with the club fourth in the Championship and Ian Holloway’s subsequent appointment led the South London side to promotion after beating Watford in the play-off final.
His time at Bolton Wanderers saw him take the 16th-placed club to the brink of the play-offs, averaging 1.54 points a game, missing out to Leicester City on goal difference. But finishing 14th in 2013-14 and a 10-game run with just one win at the start of this season saw Freedman leave the club by ‘mutual consent’.
The reaction from fans on Twitter and forums is divided, to say the least.