Stephen Pearson made his Motherwell debut against Hibernian at Easter Road nearing the end of 2000/01 season. He came on as a second half sub and helped Motherwell to a 1-1 draw. This game was actually headlined with ‘Well star John Spencer leaving to join Colorado Rapids in America. His first start for the club came on 28th April 2001 as Motherwell travelled to Tannadice, but sadly the young ‘Well side went down 1-0. The following season he really made his mark, lining up in the left midfield role. Pearo and Stevie Hammell made the left wing berth at Motherwell a really exiting one with over-lapping runs by Hammell and with Stephen Pearson not afraid to take on players and go on direct marauding runs.
In April 2002, Motherwell were placed into interim administration and 19 players were sacked as a result, Stephen was not one of them as he was clearly viewed as a sellable asset. A few days later Motherwell travelled to play Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and after a wonderful performance by the Steelmen, Stephen scored making the score line 4-1 to the ‘Well.
The 2002/03 he became a key player and a huge fan favourite in a youthful looking ‘Well side. The only criticism was his disciplinary record, seeing that he recieved yellow cards in eight occasions and being sent off twice many for being a tad over exuberant. Interest for this young star started to surface that clubs were interested and Leicester City tried to take advantage of the cash crisis at Fir Park when they only offered a paltry sum of £200,000.
At the start of season 2003/04, Motherwell travelled to play local rivals, Hamilton Accies in a pre-season friendly and newspaper and radio stations were reporting that Motherwell had knocked back an offer from Premiership club Leicester City and subsequently Stephen then handed in a transfer request as a result. Terry Butcher was quick off the mark to confirm this, but he stated that he wasn’t going on the cheap. Speculation about the youngster’s future started to die down and he eventually withdrew his transfer request, much to the delight of many Motherwell fans.
After a wonderful display in a match at Fir Park on 19th October 2003 in a 1-1 draw against Rangers, speculation grew that Celtic and a number of English Premier League clubs were interested in signing him. He followed this match up with an impressive game against Aberdeen in which the Steelmen were victorious 3-0. Due to his form and wonderful displays for the club, Berti Vogts called him up to the senior Scotland squad. He won his first cap when came on as a substitute as Scotland recorded a famous 1-0 over Netherlands at Hampden, made even sweeter by his former team mate James McFadden scoring the winner. As speculation about his future grew and with Celtic rumoured to be eager to sign him, Pearo seemed affected by this and his form suffered as a result.
It was clear the club wouldn’t refuse any reasonable offers due to the financial predicament they were under. It was no secret that Celtic were interested in securing his services and eventually put in a number of bids as they tried to capture him on the cheap, they finally put a 24 hour deadline on a bid they submitted. Motherwell received a fee of £350,000 when he left the club to head to Parkhead. Pearson was a popular player with the ‘Well fans but the manner of his departure rubbed many the wrong way as he appeared in a tabloid the day before the signing was completed under the headline “I’m luckiest Bhoy on Earth” where he was sporting a Celtic top in his family home.
At Celtic he had a few memorable moments such as representing the club in Europe, he put in an excellent performance against Barcelona which helped them on route to a UEFA Cup Final, he also won the Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year 2003/04 and won the Scottish Cup 2004 when he started in the 3-1 win over Dunfermline Athletic, Pearo would of course win many additional honours with the Glasgow outfit but injuries hampered his progress and he was at best a squad player.
Stephen eventually made a move to Derby County in January 2007 and he was reunited with the man that gave him his senior club debut in Billy Davies. At Pride Park, despite making well over 100 appearances his most notable act was scoring the winner in the 2007 Football League Championship Playoff Final which took the Rams to the Premiership, a goal which was described as ‘The £60 million goal’, due to the difference in money received between the two leagues.
Over the course of his career he would also serve Stoke City (loan) and Bristol City where he was hampered by injuries. The midfielder would later try his hand in the Indian Super League with Kerala Blasters.
Pearson arrived back for his second spell with Motherwell in January 2015 when Ian Baraclough added him to his squad as the side fought against relegation, he would play a pivotal role as the club required a two legged playoff against Rangers to secure their top flight status. In the first leg, we got a glimpse of the player of old when he intercepted a pass and went on one of his penetrating runs, he found Lee Erwin who in turn setup winger Lionel Ainsworth who made no mistake and dispatched the ball home and put the side 3-0 up at Ibrox, the side of course would record a 6-1 aggregate win.
During the 2015/16 season he helped the side into the top six of the league and despite entering the veteran stages of his career he had an impressive goal haul of nine. The club came to a mutual agreement in the summer of 2016 when they allowed the player to move back to the Indian Super League where he joined Atlético Kolkata.
Their had always been suggestions he would return to the club during the season and this would happen when he signed a short term deal in February 2017, by this point he struggled to regain his previous form as the side were entrenched in another relegation battle. Stephen made his last appearance in claret and amber in a 4-2 win over Inverness CT at Fir Park. It wasn’t mentioned at the time but he would eventually retire from playing, he would eventually become a football consultant.
|Date of Birth:
|2nd October 1983
|Place of Birth:
|Stoke City (Loan)
|Bristol City (Loan)