Nigel Pearson’s infamous past from telling fans to ‘f*** off’ to ostrich rant

Lauded as the man who laid the foundations for Leicester City’s astonishing Premier League title win, Nigel Pearson turns 58 today.

The Englishman has managed nine clubs across a 23-year career in full-time management, including Watford, Southampton and Derby County, as well as the Foxes.

It was at the King Power Stadium where he enjoyed the greatest success, winning League One and the Championship.

But Pearson, now Bristol City boss, is arguably more famous for his antics rather than his tactical decisions.

Here, Daily Star Sport looking at some of the incidents from Pearson’s past…

Escaping a wild dog attack

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Pearson has a reputation for being a hardman, and his encounter with a pack of wild dogs in the Carpathian mountains does nothing to dispel that.

“There was five of them and what they do is that one goes for you and the others [circle] around until one of them can bring you down,” he told a Sky Sports documentary.

After escaping them both throwing himself into a patch of brambles, the dogs returned, with Pearson having just his walking poles with which to defend himself.

“I backed myself against a tree. I thought 'I don't want to get attacked from behind'. I was absolutely goosed by this point,” he said.

The Englishman did not go into any further details about his escape, merely stating that he “managed to get rid of them”.

He did not go into details about how he survived, saying only that he 'managed to get rid of them'.

Fighting a rival

With Leicester battling against relegation in their first season back in the Premier League, Pearson decided to show his men the fight he wanted them to show.

It came against Crystal Palace when James McArthur accidently took out the Foxes boss with a flying tackle.

Pearson at first laughed off the incident, putting his hands round the Palace midfielder’s throat, but the situation soon turned as he hauled McArthur to his feet before grabbing his shirt.

McArthur attempted to release himself, with Palace boss Alan Pardew even coming over to get involved, though Pearson insisted that the midfielder had brought it on himself.

“He said something to me. I don't have to reveal anything, do I? I think I'm more than capable of looking after myself,” Pearson said.

That’s not where this particular story ends though, with Leicester reported to have sacked their manager over the incident.

The Foxes eventually released a statement insisting that had not occurred, though members of the backroom staff had already been told he would be leaving.

The ostrich rant

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With Leicester flirting with relegation from the top-flight, Pearson gradually took a firmer stance in defending his team in the 2014/2015 season.

That was particularly the case following a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, when Pearson labelled a journalist an ostrich after he had questioned the Foxes boss about criticism he perceived the team were getting.

“Have you been on holiday for six months? Have you?” Pearson said in response.

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“I think you must have had your head in the clouds, away or on holiday or reporting on a different team because if you don't know the answer to that question, then I think your question is absolutely unbelievable.

“The fact that you don't understand where I'm coming from. If you don't understand that question then I think you are an ostrich – your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand?

“Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no. I can. You can't.”

X-rated response to fans

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That sole season in the top-flight under Pearson was ugly to say the least for Leicester, with the Englishman even confronting his own team’s fans.

Video footage emerged showing Pearson telling one supporter to “f*** off and die” during a defeat to Liverpool.

According to The Mail, Pearson snapped after being called an “utter t***”, with the two trading insults.

Pearson did later admit his part in the incident, though he did label the supporter an “idiot”.

“I replied to one idiot in the stands – if he doesn't like what he sees, then don't bother coming,” he said.

Derby farce

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Pearson was sacked despite keeping Leicester in the Premier League that year, eventually joining Championship Derby County.

But his reign as Rams boss descended into farce, with the manager at one point having to be physically restrained during a bust-up with owner Mel Morris.

Pearson was later suspended before leaving the club a few weeks later, with the reason for the exchange reportedly down to Derby players complaining about his management.

The Englishman had publicly rebuked them following a defeat to Blackburn, though Pearson was also furious that Morris would use drones to spy on training sessions.

The Rams chief wanted to be able to watch the sessions from anywhere in the world, but Pearson is thought to feel it was an invasion of privacy.

Dressing room fight

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Pearson next took charge of Watford, who were battling relegation from the Premier League during the 2019/2020 season.

The Englishman had kept them in the survival fight as they faced a crucial trip to West Ham United.

But the Hornets found themselves 3-0 down at half-time, with Pearson reportedly involved in an altercation with his players in the dressing room.

Watford sacked him after the loss, though captain Troy Deeney later insisted that nothing untoward had taken place.

“The gaffer didn't put his hands on anybody, he was just frustrated and had a firm talking to us. No-one was fighting, no-one was punched. There were no hands thrown,” Deeney said.

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