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Stuart Pearce: What, o what's to be done?

Fuelled by a staggering over-inflation of our own importance, we at In The Top One have taken it upon ourselves to discuss THE big question at Forest. Should he go, or should he stay?

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Nick Miller: Let's start at the end, before any real discussion: should Stuart Pearce stay as Forest manager?

David Marples: To be brutally honest, I keep changing my mind. Essentially, I would have taken mid table this season under Pearce back in those heady August days and then see how his second season panned out. But this....Saturday...and that's not knee-jerk. It's been like this for a while, even arguably back in August at Bournemouth and at Hillsborough.

But on the other hand, getting rid now would be simply traumatic (Or would it be cutting our losses, taking what money we have left on the table and running?) As you can see, I'm not sure. I guess that I think we should stick, close our eyes, and just hope for the best (knowing full well how godawful and weak that conclusion sounds).

Daniel Storey: I'm a little more firm. I have seen nothing in Pearce's career to date that makes me think he has the aptitude for a job where all is hunky dory, let alone one in which there is a pressure for accelerated success. I didn't want him as manager because I don't think he is good enough and have seen little to change my mind.

Fight, fight, fight.

NM: I'm split between logic and sentiment. I didn't want him in the first place for the reasons that Dan has laid out, but equally now he's here I don't necessarily want him sacked, at least partly because of who he is, which I'm basically OK with because being a fan is largely illogical anyway.

If you want to present a (pseudo) logical case for him to stay, over the past few years we've tried most things, from chucking money at the problem, to promoting youngsters, to changing managers with no clear line of thinking and with wildly different approaches and characters following each other. The one thing we haven't tried is sticking with someone for a bit to see if they eventually figure it out. I know I've said before that stability on its own is not a good enough reason to stay with someone, but I say give him until the end of the season. Of course, I may change my mind next week...


DS: I vaguely agree with that, but there has to be a base level of achievement to justify it- patience has to be earned rather than expected. Said on Twitter numerous times that Pearce is basically getting the patience that O'Driscoll, Cotterrill and McClaren didn't get.

We've won two in 19 matches, we're closer to the relegation zone than the play-offs and we've played really well in two matches all season. For me (Clive), it comes down to one question: Do I think Pearce has the ability to turn it around? If the answer is no, then patience is little more than a futile exercise. Sadly, my answer is no.

DM: I don't think there's a fundamental disagreement here. From what I've seen, I don't think he's good enough either for a myriad of reasons. However, I am seriously concerned about the unholy clusterfuck that would happen were we to usher him out of the 'do one' door.

Such a thing would mean even more loss of money in compensation and in employing someone else and (although obviously limited) new players that new gaffer would demand. Not to mention ratcheting up our embarrassment factor way beyond 11.

DS: Weirdly, I think the only fall out would be from fans moronically chanting his name for months afterwards, probably the same ones that sang for Davies. If he did go, think we could take one of Nigel Clough or Mark Cooper. Either would fit the Warburton/Howe mould of sustainability (I'd prefer those but they'd say no now, I'd guess).

The main issue with getting rid of Pearce is that we are under transfer embargo, meaning a new manager can't bring players in. So the argument goes that we might as well give him time with this squad.


DM: Yes, the fact that this is Stuart Pearce makes the whole situation rather more problematic than it might otherwise be. Other people have been shown the door for arguably better performances than the ones were are currently 'enjoying'. But then, we'd always be the club that couldn't even give one of our own actual living legends at least a season, and we'd then epitomise everything that is wrong about the modern game and the 'jam not tomorrow but NOW, I say NOW' attitude.

But let's speculate...

Warburton and especially Howe have far too much invested in their current clubs and probably far too much sense to walk away from the cusp of magnificent achievements. I recall Mark Cooper having a torrid time at Peterborough United. And then there's our Nigel. Undoubtably a good manager. I would be very curious to see his reaction to such an offer. He certainly seems to have fallen out with our club over the last 10 years or so. If Clough were out of work, a partnership between them might be a suitable option but I can't see Clough leaving United to be a coach.

I guess this is why perhaps it might be better to stick, rather than twist, at this moment in time. Not because I think we will suddenly start storming up the table but just because, well, just because...

Indeed we are closer to the relegation zone than the behind play-offs. This irks me substantially since fans,  players and media still seem to gauge our progress by how close we are to the play-offs: 'only 7 points off the play-off places'. What!!!???

NM: We all sort of agree with each other but could reach different conclusions. Weird. Just shows what a crapshoot all this stuff is...

DS: That it's Pearce does make it more problematic, but it shouldn't. He has to be judged on his managerial performance, rather than any misty-eyed vision of his greatness as a player. If I was an Arsenal fan I wouldn't want Tony Adams as manager.

Pearce shouldn't have been appointed if we couldn't treat him as a manager; doing any different is just patronising to him, something I think he would hate more than anyone.

DM: True. How far would you trust the current management team to make the 'right' choice were we to give Pearce the boot? (Or is that a totally separate tangent?)

DS: It's not totally separate at all, although obviously an uncontrollable.  I don't know, is the answer. Still worry Fawaz a) likes the big name and b) interferes far too much. That was certainly the accusation from Warnock and McCarthy, and one reason why you felt Pearce got the job (he was desperate to rebuild reputation).

I'd love to give it to someone young and up and coming, but fear large percentage of our fans are simplistic in the extreme, and would back their hero Pearce. Plus, Hoddle could always get it.



NM: That's the other problem. I don't think we're at the point (yet) where 'anyone' is better than Pearce, and you need to have some faith that they will appoint someone decent. Which, given the people that have come before, they haven't.

DS: The other unmentioned worry is that Pearce failure (which, as Nick says, rather completes the set of things we've tried) makes Fawaz think eff it, I've had enough. Of course he has given the spiel about being a true fan of the club, but he must have conceived that it would be easier than this?

NM: All we need is some sort of coup in which us three take over the club and everything is absolutely fine again...

DM: We're doomed. Well and truly doomed. We have everything in place: money, ground, reputation, decent following, decent Academy. Why has it not happened for us over the last 15 years? That really is another topic.

A triumvirate is the only forward: Dan on stats & coaching, Nick on team talk and motivation, me the bumbling Pater Taylor/Jimmy Gordon figure in the background with a bucket of water. What could possibly go wrong?

DS: Clever deliberate typo on 'Pater Taylor', I see you as the father figure anyway.

NM: So it's decided then - Fawaz & Pearce out, Marples, Miller. & Storey in.

DM: Maybe we could find a role for Neil Webb too though. Bus driver? Post deliverer? Summit like that.

NM: A suitable note to end on, I think...