Stuart Pearce spent 12 years at Nottingham Forest and played in over 500 games for them. When Forest were relegated in 1993 he stuck with them and helped them win promotion back to the Premier League. He became their caretaker manager in his last season at the club and even managed to win the Manager of the Month award in January. Forest were relegated though and he left at the end of the season.
As a devoted Forest player, he obviously hated Derby County, and explained this relationship in the book Deep into the Forest.
“No disrespect to Derby,” he said in 2005. “But I have to say I could never work for that club in any capacity. And I mean never. People might say I’m being ridiculous but that’s just just the way it is. Even if I was desperate and they were the only club around, I couldn’t do it. I’d rather go on the dole and take my chances. Away at Derby used to be the highlight of the season for me. I used to walk out at the Baseball Ground and give their fans a girly wave. Then it would be over to the Forest fans to give them a proper salute. I’d do the same in front of the Kop at Anfield as well – just to stoke up that little extra bit of ill feeling, you understand? There would be old woman at Derby shouting and screaming at me, coins landing round my feet and people spitting at me whenever I turned my back to take a throw-in. Christ, they bloody hated me. But, for me, that’s what football’s all about. I would think: ‘Yeah, that’s right, give me as good as you can – I’m representing that lot in the corner over there.’ Honestly, I used to love nothing more than walking out at a ground when you knew everyone hated your guts.”
Then in May 2006, he wore a Derby County shirt when playing in Ted McMinn’s benefit match against Glasgow Rangers. When he scored a goal, he kissed the badge in front of the Derby fans. We’ll assume he was on another wind up!