Pearson: “Football Really Does Pale Into Insignificance”
By Kevin Affleck
Football continues remain of secondary importance to Nigel Pearson right now as the world realigns its priorities and seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus and treat those who have contracted it.
Pearson has been involved in the professional game for nearly 40 years and is proud to be Head of Coach of Watford, but feels talk of Premier League status and resumption of the season is misguided at a time when thousands of people around the world are losing their lives.
“Football really does pale into insignificance really when you see how something like this can affect us all,” said Pearson said on Episode Two of The View From the Vic podcast, which is out later today (Saturday). “It's a really difficult time for everybody, there is a lot of uncertainty, a lot of readjusting and I think it's become more shocking and more real as we move forward.
“I'm the same as everybody else and that's just adjusting to a different way of living at the moment. It's important we are all staying safe and making sure we do what we can do in our small way and help the overall picture, not just in our country but worldwide.”
Pearson revealed in an interview with The Guardian last month that his mum died unexpectedly three months ago. His parents were together for 64 years so he's moved his father into his family home during this lockdown period.
“My dad is staying with us,” he said. “I went to pick him up a couple of weeks ago and he's now with us. We're being very careful as he's 86. He's my head gardener and I'm his apprentice! He's doing a great job.”
Pearson manages his squad with a real light touch and he's trying to combine his role as a son, a husband to Nicky, a father to James and Hannah with one of mentor to his players.
“There is the element of still trying to be in contact with the players,” said Pearson. “I've spoke to half the squad today, just to check in and see how they are. A lot of the players are away from their families and we have to try and understand what it means to people. Both my kids live in Sheffield and I walked to see them today and talked to them through the window. But if you are living away from your family it makes it even more difficult psychologically. We have to look after our own, that's the most important thing, but I don't think a day goes by when most people don't spare a thought for people having a more difficult time. It's a worrying time but what it does do is sharpen people's conscience about what it means for other people.”
The Head Coach is also regularly in touch with his coaching staff and the medical team as they seek to execute a remote programme for the players and plan for the resumption of training.
“We had a staff meeting via Skype the other day,” said Pearson. “There were 16 of us on it. It took two hours as we've got to try and communicate in different ways. When that many people are on a Skype call, everyone has to mute and only unmute when you are going to talk otherwise there is too much background noise. It takes a bit more patience.
“We have to find different ways of keeping in contact with each other and also have to remember we work no different to any other work force. Some are a bit vulnerable at the minute and without contact. Some are alone. There are lots of things we meed to consider in terms of the well-being of people. As an ordinary bloke I'm just adjusting in the same way as everybody else but with my work head on, there is still the element of trying to keep some sort of cohesion among the football staff, keeping in contact with the players. A lot of them are young men who don't have family around. My time is very much split between ... keeping in touch with staff and making sure we keep on top of situations professionally but the bigger picture and the priority is everybody and looking after ourselves and each other. That at the moment is the priority.”