Here’s the back of the programme for the first leg of the Brighton’s cup tie against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in the Littlewoods Cup in 1986.
Take a glance at the name of the linesman with the red and yellow flag, R.D. Pearce. Surely just a coincidence that he has the same surname as Forest’s left back? Or is it?!
Writing in ‘Psycho,’ his autobiography, Stuart Pearce explains how his brother Ray took up football officiating, eventually finding his way to running the line at the Goldstone Ground:
He progressed through non-league into the Football League and ran the line in top matches. The big age difference between us meant that when he was asked the usual questions about whether he had any relatives in the game he answered quite truthfully that he had not.
I’m not sure that makes complete sense, unless Ray Pearce was only ever asked the question only once, before Stuart became a pro…
Anyway, the punk-lovin’, tough tacklin’ Pearce continues:
A trivia question that would flummox even the most knowledgeable football fan is when did two brothers take part in the same game with one playing and one officiating? It happened to us when he ran the line in a Nottingham Forest League Cup tie at Brighton. He disallowed a goal for Brighton! I had no fears, however, about his honesty. He would err on the side of Brighton rather than favour me.
No one knew, apart from the Forest team. It was funny running up the wing and having my brother alongside me on the touchline. He could have booked me because I kept taking the mickey out of him – ‘Oi, you ginger dickhead,’ is one thing I remember calling him. Perhaps it is a good thing that he never became a League referee because it would have come out eventually that he was my brother.
Is it too late to demand a replay?