Unforgiven 2 Starring Danny Mills

Unforgiven 2 Starring Danny Mills

Former England full-back Danny Mills made the BBC's normally soporific Saturday results show "Final Score" a little spicier than usual yesterday by dredging up an old feud he has kept burning with Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce.

When coach of Manchester City eight years ago, Pearce had dropped Mills in favour of Micah Richards, and according to Mills, accused him of falsely claiming injury.

Mills had clearly never forgiven the former England captain for this slight and with Pearce under pressure with only two wins in 20 games in charge of Forest, Mills relished the chance of going in studs-up again, five years after hanging up his boots.

"He is not a great coach, not a great tactician and not a great motivator," Mills told the press earlier this week.

Stuart Pearce.
Stuart Pearce
"He is very predictable. After 10 games people work him out," he went on. "He doesn't have the depth of football ability to back it up."

Ouch! Revenge, the dish best served cold as ever. While the press often exaggerate and manufacture spats between managers or players, or players and managers, this feud does seem to be the real thing.

Pearce replied equally frostily, "I do apologise for putting Michah Richards in Mills' place at Manchester City."

Garth Crooks, the former Tottenham striker, sat alongside Mills, said nothing but smirked at two grown men bickering over the past. Handbags at ten paces, as they say.

Pearce was allegedly on the brink of the sack before yesterday's clash between Forest and local rivals Derby County, and when Henry Lansbury headed into his own net with a quarter of an hour gone, he must have been expecting the P45 form, while Mills must have been chuckling away.

Yet Forest, outplayed for most of the game, snatched an unlikely equaliser with a quarter of an hour to go and an even more astounding winner in injury time. Pearce exploded with cathartic joy on the touchline, an outburst on a par with his Euro 1996 penalty kick against Spain.

Pearce may well face the sack sooner or later at the club he famously skippered, and Mills may well be correct in his criticism. The two are not about to go dancing together, and while neither can crack open the champagne, this bout went to Pearce on points

Watching ancient and unresolved spats from a distance, now that's entertainment.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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