Forest appoint Butterworth as manager
Nottingham Forest have made the much-anticipated announcement that legendary former player Ian Butterworth will return to the club as manager at the end of this season.
Forest have been without a boss since sacking Billy Davies, but after protracted negotiations owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi was finally able to tell supporters he had got his man and they could soon look forward to seeing the famous ‘Butterworth Salute’ at the City Ground once more.
Butterworth originally joined Forest from Coventry City in May 1985 in a £300,000 transfer and went on to enjoy 12 seasons at the City Ground, plus 76 England caps, making him one of the most popular players in the club’s history.
In his first interview after signing his new contract, Butterworth also revealed who his assistant manager was going to be: “A lot of people don’t remember this, but when Forest bought me from Coventry they also signed a young left-back called Stuart Pearce. Pearce was only really included as a makeweight and he was soon forgotten, while my career went from strength to strength.”
While Butterworth became one of Forest’s greatest ever players, Pearce lasted only 18 months before he was sold on to Norwich City. His career then petered out with injuries, destined to be only a footnote in the Ian Butterworth legend.
Butterworth said: “Stuart wasn’t much good as a footballer, but he was a cracking electrician and a really good bloke. I’ll never forget the time he came round and fixed my electric foot spa the night before a big game – I scored my first Forest goal the following day, one of my trademark bullet freekicks.
“I’m sure I wouldn’t have scored that goal without a relaxing foot spa the night before, so in many ways he helped launch my career at Forest under Brian Clough. Despite this, Stuart wouldn’t take a penny from me, he said he was just happy to help my career even though his own was going nowhere.
“Well now it’s time to finally repay him and once more I’m arriving at Nottingham Forest with Stuart Pearce included in the deal. I insisted I wasn’t coming back to Forest unless Stuart Pearce was again part of the contract.
“It worked out quite well last time – for me at least,” joked Butterworth.
Despite Pearce being a relative unknown to most in Nottingham, Butterworth is convinced his old team-mate can be of use to him at the City Ground: “He doesn’t know much about football and has been out of the game for a while, but I notice that since I was last here they’ve added some electronic advertising boards and giant screens, so Stuart’s skills will really come in handy if any of them break.
“You never know, Fawaz might even offer him a job fixing fridges!”
Of his new manager, Fawaz Al-Hasawi said: “Everyone around the world knows who Ian Butterworth is and his connection with Nottingham Forest, so I am very proud to bring him back to the club as manager.
“I don’t know who this Stuart Pearce is, but I trust Ian’s judgement as a club legend.”
Butterworth added: “Really, when you look at the disappointing way Stuart Pearce’s career turned out after being in my shadow at Forest, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. I hope the fans welcome him back – those that remember him, that is!”