Nottingham Forest legend suggests how club should copy Man United

Stuart Pearce

Gary Birtles believes Nottingham Forest must stick by Stuart Pearce, as Manchester United did with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Pearce returned to the club this summer, agreeing his first full-time manager’s role at the City Ground, having spent a spell as caretaker boss in his last playing season at the club.

His return was greeted in a positive fashion, and the first weeks of the Championship flew by, with the Reds remaining unbeaten, sitting atop the table. However, a run of nine games without a victory - which included their first defeat of the season - dropped Forest into mid-table, and, despite the Championship table being remarkably close, they sit seven points off local rivals Derby in top spot.

Having progressed through their bad spell, with negative results breeding negative football, Forest finally ended their run last weekend, turning around a one-goal deficit at home to Norwich City inside the last five minutes, to win the game 2-1 courtesy of goals from Britt Assombalonga and Michail Antonio. The duo were both signed by Pearce, and the much-needed victory reduced the pressure on Pearce’s head that had been growing in recent weeks.

Despite arriving as a club legend, his management career - including spells with Manchester City and the England Under-21’s - leaves a lot to be desired, and many were suggesting that he could tarnish his reputation at the City Ground if he were to fail in his job of getting the club promoted to the Premier League - a failure that would likely cost him his job.

However, Pearce remained in charge through his bad run of form, and another club legend, Gary Birtles - who left the City Ground the year after Pearce joined in 1985 - believes that the club need to stick by the former left-back, using Sir Alex Ferguson’s impact at Manchester United as the best example of continuity.

Birtles - who won two European Cups with Forest - told the Nottingham Post: “Things needed changing around at Forest. To do that just between July to November is impossible.

“Fans want a quick return, and that's understandable, but it doesn't always happen.

“Look at Sir Alex Ferguson when he started at Manchester United. He was close to getting the sack but he was given time.”

Ferguson reportedly came within one game of getting the sack at Manchester United, with an FA Cup tie against, ironically, Forest expected to result in a loss and his dismissal from Old Trafford after a number of years of mediocrity. However, a Mark Robins goal gifted the Red Devils victory, and Ferguson went on to win the trophy that season - and create the Manchester United that is known today.

Whilst it is wise to believe that every club should follow the United approach, nowadays the pressure of success is too large for many clubs to take, and managers lose their jobs far too early. If Forest can stick with Pearce for the remainder of the season, then they can start to build for next year, and maybe, just maybe, a new dynasty will be created at the City Ground.

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