Wembley shootout heartache foils unique Pearson/Slade double

BOSSES Nigel Pearson and Russell Slade both used to play cricket for Hucknall.
BOSSES Nigel Pearson and Russell Slade both used to play cricket for Hucknall.

A heartbreaking penalty shootout at Wembley foiled a promotion double by two Football League managers with coincidental links to Hucknall.

Both Nigel Pearson and Russell Slade played cricket for Hucknall at the old Gatehouse Ground, off Linby Road, in their younger days.

But while Pearson (50) steered Leicester City to the Championship title and promotion to the Premier League, Leyton Orient boss Slade suffered an agonising defeat last Sunday in the League One play-off final.

Orient threw away a 2-0 lead against Rotherham United before losing the shootout 4-3 to complete a frustrating season in which they led the table for many months.

Slade (53) played for Hucknall’s pioneering youth cricket sides in the late 1970s. Although born in Wokingham, Berkshire, he grew up in the Nottingham area.

He was a talented footballer too but never played professionally, choosing an academic path instead and studying for a degree before becoming a teacher.

However, he later began to work for Notts County, graduating to become assistant manager to Howard Kendall.in 1995.

From there, he embarked on a management career that took him from caretaker manager spells Notts and Sheffield United to permanent posts at, Scarborough, Grimsby Town and Yeovil before The Os.

Pearson was born in Nottingham and was a friend of one or two Hucknall cricketers, which led to him turning out for the club in the mid-1980s.

The defender enjoyed a fine playing career at Shrewsbury Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough before going into management.

As well as Leicester, Pearson has bossed Hull City and Southampton and had a couple of caretaker spells at Newcastle United and one atWest Brom.