Saturday, 29 August 2020

Guest Review: Psycho: The Autobiography By Stuart Pearce

In an era of superstar prima donnas, Stuart Pearce's total commitment on the pitch earned him the affection of football fans everywhere, who nicknamed him Psycho. He will forever be remembered for two penalties - one missed and scored - for England, but there is so much more to him than that. This book reveals the fascinating story of one of football's greatest personalities. PSYCHO is as honest and straightforward as the man himself.




Review: Stuart Pearce is a professional football player and manager. During his playing days, he earned a reputation as a tough, uncompromising defender. He made over 500 league appearances and was capped 78 times for England. Due to his playing style, he was nicknamed “Psycho” by the fans. However, his disciplinary record was reasonably good and he received very few red cards, certainly fewer than such an epithet would suggest. He states in the book that if he was shown a yellow card during a match, he would tone down his subsequent play to avoid a second yellow.

Born in west London, he did not follow a conventional route into professional football but, instead, played for non-league side Wealdstone for five seasons whilst training and working as an electrician. He was signed by Coventry City, with whom he spent two seasons, before signing for Nottingham Forest where he spent twelve seasons, comprising the bulk of his playing career. This was followed by short spells with Newcastle United, West Ham United and Manchester City.

The book describes his childhood and his introduction to the game, along with many of the colourful characters with whom he has played and under whose management he has served. It also includes his international career playing for England. His time with the national team coincided with two semi-final appearances, one in the World Cup in 1990 and one in the European Championship in 1996. Both of these games were decided by penalty shootouts, and there is a whole chapter in the book devoted to penalties.

Published in 2000, the book describes the author’s playing career up to his first season at West Ham United. During his time at Nottingham Forest, he took over as player/manager for a short period from December 1996 until May 1997. The last chapter in the book describes his thoughts on going into management when his playing career is finished. Since the publication of the book, this is what he has done, filling a number of coaching and managerial roles at both club and international level.

I found the book to be a fascinating account of someone who did not take a conventional route into professional football, although I found the timeline jumped around on occasions. It will interest all football fans, giving an insight into someone who was a formidable opponent on the field, but who comes across as a grounded, family man off it.


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