FourFourTwo - - HARD MEN -

Frank Clark, who man­aged Stu­art ‘Psy­cho’ Pearce at Not­ting­ham For­est,

ex­plains how to han­dle a hard man

“Stu­art was a young man when he came to For­est, not long out of non-league foot­ball and hav­ing spent only a rel­a­tively short time at Coven­try. With that in mind, it’s no sur­prise that Brian Clough had a lit­tle bit of work to do with him when he first ar­rived. Brian taught him a lot about his tack­ling and his ap­proach to the game. When Stu­art first came he was a lit­tle... un­so­phis­ti­cated, shall we say. He would fly into chal­lenges with­out car­ing much about where the ball went. By the time I took over [in 1993] he was one of the best tack­lers in English foot­ball. He would come away with the ball rather than see­ing it fly into the stands.”†† “As a man­ager it was fan­tas­tic hav­ing Stu­art on the pitch, be­cause his pres­ence†could be enough to make a team change their tac­tics or a player change the way he played. There were a few wingers who didn’t fancy it and would do what­ever they could to en­sure they didn’t have to come face-to-face with Stu­art. That’s the same if any of your de­fend­ers have that kind of rep­u­ta­tion – but some­times Stu­art’s was enough for a team to change the way they would try to go about beat­ing us.” “Very of­ten, your tough­est player has fan­tas­tic lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, and as a man­ager you want them lead­ing from the front. There are two par­tic­u­lar per­for­mances that stick in the mind with Stu­art when I was For­est boss. One was the away leg of our UEFA Cup quar­ter-fi­nal against Bay­ern Mu­nich [in March 1996], when he played de­spite hav­ing a bad shin in­jury that had be­come in­fected. The se­cond was a game we won to seal pro­mo­tion back to the Premier League [in 1994] against Peter­bor­ough. He was ut­terly mag­nif­i­cent in both and set the tone for the en­tire side.”

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