Pearce: Stop Whining

Stuart Pearce has called upon the moaners of the Premiership to put up and shut up. He insists he has no qualms about the decision to send him off against Everton - which cost him the three match ban from which he returns this weekend.

He reveals that his recent habit of conceding vital free kicks or penalties will not have an adverse effect on his decision whether to quit this summer or not - any more than the likelihood of him winning Hammer of the Year award will necessarily persuade him to stay on.

And he reckons that complaining about referees' decisions all the time simply highlights a person's own shortcomings. And, for good measure, he says he won't bat an eyelid if he helps send Manchester City down at the weekend!

Stuart is back after a three match ban which was the result of the fourth sending off of his career and he admits: "It's been a bit of a nuisance not being available - having spent much of last year not being able to play, when you are fully fit it is disappointing to miss games.

"There's a lot more lot more bookings and sendings off floating around but it was bad play by myself and that is why I was sat out watching matches.

"I regret the challenge; it has cost us the game and cost me three appearances. Any time is a bad time to miss games; the bottom line is as a player you don't want to miss games.

"I know over the length of my career how disappointing it is to miss matches through injury so the last thing you want to do is sit in the stands fully fit.

"But I don't think I'm mellowing out in my personality. I don't see any other way to play the game; I'm not necessarily talking about fouling people but going in and being reasonably physical, but fair with it."

Stuart was an interested, if reluctant observer, on Saturday, and says of the sending-off of David Batty which so enraged David O'Leary: "I know Bats reasonably well and I think sometimes his reputation goes before him but I think you have to say 'some you get some you don't.'"

Despite O' Leary saying the decision was wrong, it is significant that Leeds have not appealed against it. While no apology has been forthcoming from Batty either, Joe Cole has had the good grace to defuse the situation by generously suggesting the challenge was accidental.

Stuart adds: "The referee is out there to make decisions and it is a difficult job; I never like to criticise them, I just like to say that it is swings and roundabouts over the season. The referees, in the main, get the decisions 99% right and we just have to let the refs make them."

And, defending Joe Cole from any accusations of going down too easily, which was the inference of the Leeds boss' comments, Stuart says:
"Joe is not that way inclined at all, he never strikes me as that sort of person; he has not got the reputation of feigning injuries in any way, shape, or form.

"There is a man there getting paid to judge what is right and what isn't so let's let him get on with the job.

"Their job is hard enough as it is without idiots like me sticking in their four pen'orth in every time a decision goes against me. If some of the professionals would give the referees a bit more respect the game would tick over a lot better than it does with the criticism that is levelled at referees.

"You'll never ever change a ref's decision; once he has made it that is it. They are the first to hold their hands up and say 'we will never get all our decisions right' any more than a player will get everything right.

"The only way you are ever going to get a goal is through someone making a mistake. Put it this way: I wish I'd made as few mistakes this season as referees have during our games - then we'd have had a better campaign.

"I'd hate my performance to be analysed like their's is week in, week out and game in, game out."

With Stuart shortly to decide on his future will the events of the last couple of weeks have an adverse effect on his decision? Or, by the same token, if he is named Hammer of the Year later in the month, as the smart money suggests, will that give him the desire to carry on?

"No, these things won't make a difference," he insists. "There's no outside influences: I'll take a level view over everything that's gone on and hopefully be having a chat with Harry very very soon.

"To be honest if I did receive the award I would be delighted and it would be a massive feather in my cap.

"It is voted for by supporters and they see you every week but as far as any future plans are concerned it wouldn't have any bearing on me any more than being sent off and suspended a couple of weeks ago would."

First, though, is the little matter of the now 39-year-old Stuart - his birthday was on Tuesday - getting back to action on Saturday.

"I'm desperate to win a game," he says. "The next one is at Manchester City and if we win that we are safe from relegation and that will put Manchester City down.
"So they will be going hell for leather and the bottom line is the next game is the only important thing."

One assumes that he will return to the starting line up after not being risked in the reserve game against Spurs midweek. And what a match to return to...

"If we don't win any of the last three I'll be very disappointed," he says. "You're as good as your results and the league table - after 35 games you can't say you are unlucky.

"I certainly know if we get a result at Manchester I wouldn't shed a tear for Manchester City.

"But, at the end of the day, I don't expect anyone to shed a tear for me or West Ham."