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Stuart Pearce ‘fulfilled’ by Nottingham Forest return

Nottingham: Stuart Pearce has revealed he would not have felt ‘fulfilled’ had he failed to grasp the opportunity to manage Nottingham Forest after spending 12 years at the club as a player.

But the fan favourite insisted he now has to start again and forge a new reputation with the aim of returning Forest to the Barclays Premier League as manager.

Pearce yesterday signed a two-year deal at the City Ground, where he was last employed in June 1997 having stepped in for four months as caretaker boss the season the club went down. But the former England Under 21 head coach will not take over from stand-in Gary Brazil until July 1 because of personal and commercial commitments.

It presents the odd possibility that Brazil could get Forest promoted from the Championship via the play-offs — they are two points shy of the top six — and still relinquish control in the summer.

“I hope he does,” said Pearce, who made more than 500 appearances in a Forest shirt. “The greater good is not me, the chairman or fans, it is the whole club and we want to play in the highest possible league.”

Pearce insisted he was not concerned by possible interference from owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, who again promised he would keep his role solely that of chairman. Neil Warnock suggested Al Hasawi wanted influence on team selection and signings, leading the Kuwaiti to declare he would write a clause into the manager’s contract preventing such actions.

But Pearce said: “I have no clause in my contract about interference. Relationships, like everything in life, need working on. I don’t know the chairman, since before last Monday we had never met. It’s down to me to build a relationship with him and him with me.”

Forest legend and club ambassador John McGovern yesterday expressed his fury at Warnock saying that there was “no one you could talk to — at the club — English-wise that knew about football”.

“I thought it was racist, actually,” said McGovern.

Warnock last night responded: “To accuse me of racism is ridiculous. No one there knew what they were doing, that’s all I was saying.”