Why Leicester City gave Nigel Pearson the bird
The Sun says the club’s Thai owners “showed him the door over the fallout at the axing of his son”.
They decided to act after booting out James Pearson and two other players last month for making a racist sex tape during a club tour to Thailand.
Is it fair that Pearson should pay for the sins of his ignorant son?
Rory Smith notes:
The man who guided Leicester City to what may be the greatest of the Barclays Premier League’s great escapes might have felt that his remarkable recovery had made him bullet-proof.
Leicester supporters’ club chairman Cliff Ginetta says:
“I’m very shocked. The club are not happy with the way he ran the trip to Thailand.”
Pearson has some form. Last season he took hold of Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur by the throat. He’d allegedly told a fan to “f*** off and die”. Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha sacked him. Then his son Aiyawatt reversed that descions. Pearson was back.
He then did something remarkably stupid and bizarre. Pearson attacked journalist Ian Baker for being an “ostrich” after Leicester’s 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea. At a press confernce Baker had upset Pearson by asking the manager to expand on his own comments that the media were less than supportive of the team. Pearson gave Baker the bird:
Pearson: Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no.
Baker: Probably not.
Pearson: I can. You can’t. You can’t.
As Giles Smith quipped:
A complex piece of points scoring here by Pearson. Not only was the reporter an ostrich, he wasn’t even flexible enough to be an ostrich. Whereas Pearson wasn’t an ostrich, but at least he was flexible enough to be one.
But Pearson wasn’t sacked for being a one-man Bernie Clifton tribute act. Well, so says the BBC:
BBC Sport’s Pat Murphy has learned the 51-year-old’s sacking was “definitely not a football issue”. Murphy said the Thai owners acted because they were concerned about damage to the club’s reputation, while a Leicester statement said the relationship between Pearson and the board was “no longer viable”.
“There is no doubt that the image and the reputation of the club in their homeland of Thailand has been damaged by the behaviour of, among others, the manager’s son James on the ‘goodwill’ tour to Thailand.”
Murphy is not exactly best pals with Pearson. After the ostrich horrorshow, Murphy went to a Leicester City press conference and berated Pearson, who came over as chippy and not at all flexible (via).
PM: Nigel, why can’t you be more specific about the criticisms of your players from the media when on behalf of the media of the Midlands we are a bit baffled by that because we think we have been very supportive of the players this season?
NP: Do you? Okay, that is your opinion.
PM: Can you give us a specific example of the disagreement?
NP: No, I don’t feel I want to get into that sort of an argument with you.
PM: You are generalising about us…
NP: And you generalise about me! There you are.
PM: But I am giving you specific examples, I know how supportive the media have been.
NP: Do you?
PM: Yes, having spoken to a lot of the media this season I can’t get this at all that we are after you.
NP: I didn’t say you were. I said there had been criticisms and I will stick up for my players, and always will.
PM: There will always be elements of criticism when you have been bottom of the league for a certain amount of time, but many, many people have been saying you have been unlucky, that things have not gone your way.
NP: I think you are looking at your side of the argument through rose tinted glasses. That is something that I am not going to get into a discussion with you about today.
PM: It takes two to tango.
NP: It does indeed.
PM: You had a go at one of our reporters in my opinion unfairly.
NP: Well there you are. I think we have come in for some criticism and so have I when I think it is unfair. So there we are.
PM: Surely it comes with the territory?
NP: Well there you are then. Absolutely.
PM: When did it dawn on you to apologise? How soon after did you think, ‘ooh I was out of order there’?
NP: Again, I don’t think that is something I need to answer. I have apologised and I would, had it been a more private thing, I would have apologised one to one, but when it has been in the public domain, the public eye I think it is right to do it the way I have done it, and that is all there is to it.
PM: Did you speak to the owners at any stage?
PM: So it was your decision?
PM: There is a bit of a charge sheet developing here this season is there not?
NP: Possibly. Is that why you are here?
PM: One of the reasons I am here today is because every week you won’t do the type of press conference that other Premier League clubs do. If you did do it so it was in different sections then I would be here more often. I don’t see why I have to justify why I am here Nigel.
PM: The question stands…
NP: And I don’t see why I have to continue to take your one-sided view of this argument.
PM: You put it in the public domain.
NP: Absolutely, yes, I have.
PM: So the charge sheet, does that not bother you?
NP: Not particularly, no.
PM: You must sit back here and think ‘ooh, I have got a few things wrong this season in public or dealing with supporters etc. It is the worst charge sheet of any Premier League manager so far this season in terms of that kind of behaviour.
PM: You are in danger of appearing a bully.
NP: Am I?
PM: Yes. And paranoid.
NP: Paranoid? Okay. Anything else?
PM: Well, someone has to tell you.
NP: Okay, you are telling me?
PM: Hasn’t anyone ever told you that before? Has no one ever taken you to one side and said ‘Nigel, I think you are out of order here’?
NP: If they have then that is my business.
PM: Leicester have got such a good reputation recently in particular. So many people say what a great fightback this is. You could have been Manager of the Month. You still might be Manager of the Month.
NP: I don’t see what the point is. What is your point with that? Are you suggesting my job is to pander to your requirements?
PM: Of course not. What I will say to you is that the football world gets a lot of money from via media these days and gives you a very comfortable living, and you could treat them with a little more respect. Disagree with them by all means. Okay, you have apologised now but it has panned out into a big story, it didn’t need to be a big story. It is a 24/7 story all over 24 hours okay. It is all your doing.
NP: Okay. You have obviously been sent here to put your industry’s case forward.
PM: I don’t think I need to justify my motives but when a fellow reporter gets unfairly criticised byt a manager I will defend that reporter, that is instinct.
NP: Fine, and you are doing.
PM: Just as you would defend a fellow manager.
NP: And I will absolutely always support my players.
PM: I just think you are affecting the reputation of Leicester City by your conduct off the field.
NP: Do you? Okay.
You can’t rule out the role of media is ending Pearson’s Leicester City career. Not that the official club statement mentions any specifics:
“The board of directors recognises the success Nigel has helped to bring to Leicester City during his two spells in charge of the club, particularly during the last three and a half years. However, it has become clear to the club that fundamental differences in perspective exist between us. Regrettably, the club believes that the working relationship between Nigel and the Board is no longer viable.
“Leicester City’s owners, Vichai and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, and the board of directors would like to place on record their thanks to Nigel for the considerable contribution he has made during his time with the club and wish him well in future.”
No longer viable. Ouch!