STUART ‘PANCHO’ PEARSON (DOB: June 21, 1949) Manchester United player, 1974-80
Pearson started his career with Hull City as an out and out centre forward. With luck he had a supplier in Wagstaffe, an old fashioned winger who hit the by-line and crossed the ball. He also had a hell of a shot on him (when United signed Stuart I thought that we may have gone for Wagstaffe too). Any way I digress. Stuart struggled at the start of his spell at Hull for the simple reason he succeeded their local hero, Chris Chilton. Initially his confidence took a bit of a knock, but Stuart being Stuart won the fans over with hard work, skill and finishing of the highest order.
Pearson joined United in 1974, for the sum of £200, 000, just after we were relegated to the second division. ‘Pancho’ was one of the men responsible in United bouncing straight back to the First Division. He enjoyed a season forwards dream of – he scored 17 goals during his first campaign, plus his overall play was superb. He had a goal celebration where he would raise his right fist and pump his chest out…
Stuart’s second season produced 13 league goals plus a solitary goal in the FA cup (against Wolves in a sixth round replay). From a personal point view I did not enjoy the FA cup that season. United reached the final, only to suffer to defeat at the hands of Southampton. We were so poor, it was unbelievable. With a forward line of Coppell, McIlroy, Pearson, Macari and Hill you expected something better. Stuart was just not at the races that day. Thanks to Stuart’s goals and assists United finished third in the league behind Liverpool and Q.P.R.
The 76-77 season saw Stuart score another respectable 15 league goals to help Man United finish sixth. He also scored United’s first goal in the 2-1 cup final victory against Liverpool. The 77-78 season, he reached double figures yet again, knocking in 10 league goals. However, United dropped even further down the table (finishing eleventh) and were knocked out of the FA cup early at the hands of West Bromwich Albion. During the 78-79 season, Pearson suffered a bad knee injury and as a consequence he made only two appearances – both in the FA cup. In 1980, Stuart moved to West Ham where he helped the Hammers win the FA cup (in 1980). He however never fully recovered from his knee injury and retired from professional football in 1982. He represented England on 15 occasions (between 1976-78) and netted 5 goals. Stuart now leaves in Spain, but returns for every United home mate, where he can be seen answering questions and giving speeches in the executive suite.
“Pancho” was a good player for United, in the respect he tried his heart out and was never scared to miss a chance (he missed some sitters, but by the same rule he scored some blinders), but he was always there for the next opportunity and if he missed, he’d get up and try again. He was a player the working man liked, because he was one they could relate too. He would think nothing of spending time with supporters after a game answering questions, but that was Stuart, not the greatest, but very good… and worth the red shirt..!
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