Kenny Jackett and Stuart Pearce - Q & A

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Wolves boss Kenny Jackett and Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce reminisce about their experiences together before tomorrow's showdown.


So you knew each other as kids?

KJ: "We played youth football together. It was a Sunday League team – he was actually from Wembley way, Sudbury – Queens Park Rangers territory really.

"We seemed to have one of these managers that picked up kids from everywhere. We'd be picking up different kids from roundabouts and everything!

"Geographically there was quite a long way between us but we ended up playing at under-14, under-15, under-16, through those years. Stuart was a left-sided centre-half then and I played left-back or left side of midfield.

"We were just a couple of kids playing Sunday League football."

SP: "I know Kenny very well from the Sunday football – we're good friends.

"He did keep me out at left-back, but I used to play in the centre in those days! We had some good players in the Sunday side.


"But it was a long time ago!"

Q. How do you regard each other as players/characters?

Former team-mate Stuart Pearce celebrates during his playing days at Nottingham Forest.

KJ: "He was a very good player and came through late after completing an electrical apprenticeship, as everybody knows.


"He always showed that fearlessness back then too – he was a really good player. He came into the game reasonably late but I think he had offers to turn pro earlier.

"He came out of non-league and went straight to Coventry and went straight through to the England team within a couple of years and won 78 caps.

"He's certainly very down to earth as a person and as a character. The people who have been at the clubs he's been at would say he's very hardworking.

"It's a trait he's got and it runs right the way through his teams and his clubs.

"He's a really good guy and everyone within football would say he's a very good character, very honest, he's good company and a really good bloke. He's generally just a very sound character."

SP: "I have a lot of respect for him. He loves football – he's a football man who's devoted his life to the game. Wherever he's been, he's done a sturdy job.

"He knows the game very well, he speaks well and is a good man manager."

Q. Did you always think each other would make it in the game?

KJ: "Yes – he always had really good ability, a great left foot and was always a good competitor – that was always a big strength of his."

SP: "I don't think you ever, in your teens or even your 20s, believe that you're going to stay in football for such a long time.

"For me, it was all about enjoying playing football at that time.

"It was a good side, with some very good players, but you don't think about going into management at that age."

Q. How have you kept in touch?

Kenny Jackett takes on the QPR defence back in 1988.

KJ: "The early part of our playing careers coincided, so we were in touch then and then probably less when I was a youth coach because we didn't come across each other that much.

"But I'm back in the first-team scene and I see him around a little bit. It depends where you in the country geographically as well."

SP: "We've kept in touch. I went in to coach at Millwall (as England Under-21s coach) when he was there and I do keep an eye on what he does.

"I spoke to Kenny in the summer and he felt as though their momentum could take them through into the Premier League."

Q. You were reunited at Manchester City. How did that come about?

KJ: "I will always be thankful to him because he gave me a job at City when I'd been out of work at Swansea.

"It didn't last too long – I went there in the February I think as Under-21s coach and Stuart got the sack at the end of the season.

"But I learned a lot – it's a good club to work for and it was a good period, so I'll always be thankful to him for giving me that opportunity.

"I stayed on then during the course of the next season and he went straight into the England Under-21s job which he did for five or six years, very successful as well."

SP: "When I was Manchester City manager and Kenny was available, after leaving Swansea, I wanted to take him into the club.

"He became my reserve team manager. He worked with me and also with Sven Goran Eriksson after I had left."

Q. How do you rate each other as managers?

KJ: "It's a great opportunity for him at Forest – you always felt at some stage, he'd have a go there.

"You see certain players at clubs and you think somewhere along the line, if it works out, they're going to be manager there.

"I'm sure that would be the case with Stuart and Nottingham Forest. It's a great chance for him now at a very good club.

"After the international experience, which has been extensive, coming back into club management is a really good chance for him and I'm sure he'll do very well.

SP: "I like Kenny, I have a lot of respect for him. He's a modern manager who doesn't get washed away with any hype.

"He's done a fantastic job at Wolves, at Swansea and elsewhere. He's probably gone under the radar a little bit, in terms of the job he's done.

"In six years at Millwall, what he achieved there was incredible. I don't think he's been anywhere and not achieved relative success.

"They've done brilliantly; they won the league very comfortably. Kenny has done a wonderful job.

"They've started the season fantastically well, when you look at their league position. I think he's done a fantastic job at Wolves, he's one of the most under-rated managers in the league.

"When you look at the way they've started the season, it would indicate they could be very close to promotion. I think it's a good football club with a fantastic manager and a group of players who work for each other."

Q What about tomorrow's game?

KJ: "It seems a long time since we've played at home and it's a great opportunity for us.

"We want to get back to our best performances and we've got to put on a good display at home and really get that crowd behind us.

"Putting on a good performance at home after two losses is vital because we don't want it to develop into a poor run.

"To be a good team you do need both to be compete, mix it up, keep clean sheets and grind games out.

"Our tally of clean sheets hasn't quite been enough."

SP: "It's nice to come up against somebody like this and go into a tactical battle with them.

"Wolves were beaten at Derby, but Derby are a very good side and they might turn over a few teams between now and the end of the season.

"They'll be a tough nut to crack, Wolves.

"It's a fantastic game, we've sold all our tickets – 3,000 or so, I believe – so it should be a fantastic atmosphere and a great game."

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