Direct Line is all about fixing problems, and the company’s latest fix has been in support of the worst football team in the country.
Longford AFC play in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division Two, have secured no points this season and conceded more than 180 goals. A hopeless case?
Absolutely not. Enter England legend Stuart Pearce, who has been signed to the struggling side, with the help of Direct Line.
More than 13 years after retiring, the 53-year-old, is stepping back onto the pitch to lend his wisdom, experience, talent and passion to the grassroots club.
Let’s have a quick look at Stuart Pearce’s career highlights:
- Played more than 400 games for Nottingham Forest.
- Also played for Manchester City, Newcastle United and West Ham.
- England captain, he received 78 caps for his country.
- Managed Manchester City and Nottingham Forest among others.
- Scored the greatest penalty in the history of football when he smashed the ball past Spain’s keeper in the Euro 96 quarter-finals.
Pearce, dubbed Psycho due to his intense playing style, said: "I believe grassroots football is essential to the lifeblood of the game, so when Direct Line contacted me and asked me if I would like to come out of retirement and help raise the profile of Longford AFC, I jumped at the chance.
"I started out in non-league football playing for Wealdstone before joining Coventry City so I'm looking forward to working with manager Nick Dawe and helping a group of talented young footballers achieve their dreams. And hopefully transform both the dressing room confidence, as well as, the on the pitch performance together with seeing how far they can go up the league.
“I love an underdog and the fact that despite getting beaten every week they still turn out to play is fantastic.
“I have been back in training since signing, to get back to some kind of match fitness, well as much as you can do at 53. There has been great support from fans of all the clubs I have played for since Direct Line made it possible for me to play for Longford AFC. I just hope that I can repay the faith shown in me.”
The beautiful game is unpredictable, so there’s no telling how his home debut with Longford AFC will go, but keep looking at Direct Line’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for news on when Stuart Pearce kicks off his bid to fix football.