The Curious Case of Stuart Pearce and his Brother the Linesman…

by Richard D J J Bowdery,

Sibling rivalry? Just a lark on the wing

Psychology writer Marian Sandmaier once said of brothers and sisters: “A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity.”

I wonder if she could have had one Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce in mind when she penned those words..?


For it was on the 24 September 1986 when Pearce was indeed the keeper of his siblings identity, at least until after the game.

The occasion was a League Cup second round match: Brighton and Hove Albion versus Nottingham Forest. Stuart Pearce was Forest’s left back that day.

And on the wing, sporting a rather fetching red and yellow flag, was one R D Pearce, Stuart’s…er, brother!

The story goes that when the officials came onto the pitch that night Stuart had no idea that his brother would be one of them.

Now that may well be the case. But if so why, after the game, did the full-back go into the officials changing room with a birthday present for the linesman?


In his autobiography, ‘Psycho’, Pearce explained how he tried to wind-up this particular match official that night. He said: “It was funny running up the wing and having my brother alongside me on the touchline. He could have [had me] booked…because I kept taking the mickey out of him. ‘Oi, you ginger d***head,’ is one thing I remember calling him. Perhaps it is a good thing that he never became a League referee…”

Brighton v Nottm ForestForest were held to a 0-0 draw but progressed after beating Brighton 3-0 in the second-leg two weeks later at the City Ground. They were eventually beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the fifth round. The Gunners went on to win the trophy that year beating Liverpool 2-1 in the final at Wembley.

There is something else of interest to note from that evening. One of the linesman spotted an infringement which led to a Brighton goal being disallowed. No prizes for guessing who the linesman was…


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