Stuart Pearce off the field has always been a rather different individual to Stuart Pearce on it or, these days, in the technical area. Having stalked the latter with something of the snarling, occasionally furiously pop-eyed presence of old, Pearce was calmly realistic after a match which suggested he has much to do to make his beloved Nottingham Forest into genuine promotion contenders.
One of the objects of his ire during the game, a member of the backroom staff who did not have the drinks bottles ready when an injury afforded the players a refuelling opportunity, can expect to be carpeted again on Monday morning. “That’s not gone away,” said Pearce.
“I know what it’s like to play the first game of the season, when it’s very warm and we have a break in play and there’s people sat on their arse not moving to get drinks for me as a player.
“Every strain of what we do at this football club has got to be professional, Premier League standard or above. Whether it’s achievable, I don’t know, but I’ll do my damndest.”
His relationship with the club chairman, Fawaz al-Hasawi, Pearce said, had actually been “galvanised” by the fallout that followed the sale of the defender Jamaal Lascelles and the goalkeeper Karl Darlow to Newcastle United for an undisclosed fee last week, before both were returned to Forest on season-long loans.
“We both know where we stand now,” said Pearce, who had claimed not to have known about the transaction before it was completed.
“At no time, and I must stress this, has he broken a promise to me. I’ve had conversations with other people at this football club, the financial people, in regard to the Newcastle situation, which I felt disappointed on, which I wasn’t totally kept in the loop, but not with the chairman,” said the Forest manager.
His opposite number, Jose Riga, must wish his problems were of a similar scale, though the Belgian was rightly proud of his cobbled-together team after they fought hard to restrict Forest to first-half goals from Michail Antonio, converting the rebound after Andy Reid’s shot came back off the inside of the post, and Chris Burke, this one a long-range effort.
Had Riga been able to field Ishmael Miller, signed last Wednesday, the Tangerines might have posed more of a threat, but the administrative chaos at Bloomfield Road meant the striker was among several new signings not registered in time to play.
“In six weeks a lot of things can happen, so we’ll see, but for sure I cannot stay in this kind of situation for a long time,” said Riga.
Man of the match John Lundstram (Blackpool).