Pearce uncertain in new Forest regime

Nottingham Forest began life under new owners yesterday amid fresh uncertainty over the future of their player-manager, Stuart Pearce. He was expected to reveal plans to spend a pounds 16m transfer fund following Monday's sale of the club to a consortium headed by the owner of Saracens rugby union club, Nigel Wray, and the former Tottenham chairman, Irving Scholar.

But at a low-key press conference at the City Ground, the new regime failed to deliver firm backing for the man who stepped into the breach when Frank Clark resigned in December. Pearce even suggested he might stand down himself if it would help Forest avoid relegation from the Premiership.

Property developer Wray, the main financial muscle behind the pounds 19.1m offer which shareholders voted overwhelmingly to accept on Monday evening, was back at his desk in the City yesterday, leaving the new chief executive, Phil Soar, to take charge at Forest.

Scholar, who took a 16 per cent stake in the club with Wray holding 27 per cent, was at the news conference but sat away from the platform, where Pearce was flanked by Soar and the incumbent chairman, Irving Korn. With no opening address from Soar - and no endorsement of Pearce's position as manager - it was left to Pearce to do most of the talking. The message that came across was that neither he nor his new employers are sure about his role in Forest's future.

Pearce spent an hour and a half in talks yesterday morning, not with Soar but with Scholar, who has been asked to advise the club as football consultant.

"Mr Scholar was very forthright and we learned a lot about each other," Pearce said. "There were one or two issues raised concerning my future and we talked about the possibility of having a general manager. It is difficult to combine all of the things I have to do at the moment, including playing for England.

"I was probably put in the position prematurely. In other circumstances, if anyone had asked me if I wanted to be manager of Nottingham Forest I would have said, `yes, when I've finished playing.' "

Pearce, 34, has told the new owners he will continue until the end of the season but hinted he could stand down before then. "I'm happy to go along with whatever is going to be for the benefit of the club," he said. "If I felt that stepping down as manager and just carrying on as a player would help us stay in the Premiership I would do so without hesitation."

There was no tub-thumping about buying new players, despite Forest's plight in the bottom three of the Premiership and with the transfer deadline just three weeks away. Soar said privately he would be relying on Scholar to help in transfer dealings and Pearce admitted it was part of the job he did not relish. "Sometimes the financial business can keep you away from the training pitch and that's where I enjoy being," he said. "We are on a learning curve really. If it be that someone else deals with other clubs we will do that."

The new owners won control when they received the backing of 189 of Forest's 202 active shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting.

While no one imagines that Wray, reputed to have made pounds 60m from property and media deals, does not see Forest as an investment, the involvement of Soar probably appeased those who wanted to see the management retain a local flavour. Although he lives in Berkshire, the 49-year-old author and publishing executive was brought up in Bilborough, on the city's outskirts, and has been watching Forest since he was nine. As a season ticket holder he has many friends at the club.

Scholar returns to football six years after selling Tottenham to Alan Sugar for a reported pounds 8m. He and Soar have known one another since the mid-1980s, when Soar was engaged to write Tottenham's official history. He pioneered football's entry into the Stock Market, floating Tottenham long before even Manchester United could see the benefits of such a move.

Forest's new owners plan to float this year, joining the bandwagon of clubs trying to raise money in the City.

Forest in pounds 50m flotation, page 21

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor