It didn’t come as too much of a shock when Stuart Pearce was sacked as Nottingham Forest boss on Sunday. The Forest legend, who made 522 appearances for the club, took over as manager in July but only lasted seven months as boss. Results of late haven’t been good enough, aside from the victory over fierce rivals Derby last month, and Forest have only won three league matches since September, which has seen them fall from early season promotion contenders, to a midtable team seemingly waiting for the season to end.
In fairness to Pearce, injuries haven’t helped the side at all. Key players Chris Cohen, Andy Reid and Jack Hobbs have missed the majority of the season so far but even still, there should be enough quality in the squad to be challenging for at least the play-offs. After a promising start which saw Forest in the top two after ten matches, inconsistent results and performances have seen the team slide half-way down the Championship table.
Pearce spent close to £10 million in the summer with a couple of loan additions in January, which is an enormous amount of money compared to the majority of other teams in the Championship. With this amount spent, 12th is certainly nowhere near good enough and things didn’t look like improving under Pearce.
Owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi took over Nottingham Forest in July 2012 and has shown an extreme lack of patience with his managers. Stuart Pearce was the fifth man to be dismissed during Al-Hasawi’s reign of two and a half years. Whilst results and performances haven’t been to a good enough standard for a few years, chopping and changing the manager every season isn’t going to bring the stability Forest desperately need.
The appointment of Pearce seemed like a romantic decision based on the fact Pearce is a legend at the City Ground. In his previous club managerial stint at Man City between 2005 and 2007, Pearce found it difficult to come to grips with the Premier League and looked out of his depth until he was sacked. As the England under 21 manager, he took his side to the final of the under 21 Championship in 2009 but had little success after this – he was knocked out in the groups stages in 2011 and 2013.
A win percentage of just over 31 simply isn’t good enough in the Championship and Pearce had to go. They say legends shouldn’t return home and in this case that certainly applies. Pearce never had it all his own way in terms of injuries and could have been given more time but as far as the owner is concerned, spending so much money for so little reward is unacceptable.
Pearce’s replacement is Dougie Freedman who, like Pearce, hasn’t had much success since turning his hand to management. After an mixed spell at Palace, he left them in the play-off places before moving to Bolton in 2012. He did well to lift the Trotters from a relegation threatened team to narrowly missing out on the play-offs come the end of the season. But a poor season last term and a shocking start to this campaign, Freedman was sacked as manager in October 2014. Freedman will know he doesn’t have much time to hit the ground running as the unforgiving Al-Hasawi isn’t afraid of a managerial sacking or two.