Ian Pearce

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Ian Pearce is a former English centre half, who was born in Bury St Edmonds on 7th May 1974. His brother Ed is a former Rugby Union player. Pearce began his career with Chelsea, but only played 4 league matches for the Stamford Bridge club. His last appearance for the club came on 5th September 1992 in a 2-1 defeat at Liverpool. Pearce came off the bench in the 12th minute after Paul Elliott was stretchered off with a career ending injury after a challenge from Dean Saunders.

In October 1993 Pearce joined Blackburn Rovers for a fee of £300,000. The tough tackling defender made his league debut for the Lancashire club on 15th January 1994 in a 2-1 win at Sheffield United. Pearce scored his first goal in professional football for Rovers on 27th April 1994 in a 2-1 victory over West Ham. He established himself as a regular in the Blackburn back four by 1994/95, forming a solid defensive partnership with Colin Hendry. He picked up a Premiership winners medal at the conclusion of his second Ewood Park campaign. The next two seasons for Pearce were severely interrupted by injury however.

In October 1997 Pearce joined West Ham United for £3,500,000. Pearce made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle on September 20th 1997. He was a key component of Harry Redknapp's side in his first two years at Upton Park, and scored his opening goal for the club on 8th March 1998 against Arsenal at Highbury. Pearce was injured in West Ham's opening game of the 1999/2000 season against Tottenham, ruling him out for the entire campaign. He made his long awaited comeback on 28th October 2000 in a 1-0 win over Newcastle. Pearce failed to get a really good run of games under his belt until 2002/03, when he featured in 33 matches as The Hammers were relegated.

Pearce joined Fulham in January 2004 after half a season of Division One football with West Ham. Andy Melville moved in the other direction to Upton Park as part of the deal. Pearce made his debut for The Cottagers on 31st January 2004 at Tottenham. The former Blackburn stopper was hampered by injury throughout his spell at Craven Cottage. His best season in terms of games came in 2006/07, when he played in 23 matches. Pearce scored his first and only goal for the club on 31st March 2007 in the last minute of a 1-1 draw with Portsmouth. He came off the bench for Fulham in their 2-1 loss at Aston Villa on August 25th 2007, making him one of only a handful of players to play in the first 16 seasons of the Premiership.

On 22nd February 2008 Pearce joined Southampton for a month on loan. He made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe a day later, and looked solid. Injury prevented any further appearances however, and Pearce returned to Fulham shortly after.

Pearce was released by Fulham in the summer of 2008 and had spells in non league, at first with Oxted & District and later Kingstonian. On October 9th 2009 Pearce joined Lincoln City as a player and assistant to his former Blackburn team mate Chris Sutton. He made his debut for The Imps on 17th October 2009 in a 1-0 loss at Northampton. Pearce remained at Sincil Bank until Sutton resigned as manager in September 2010. He returned to Kingstonian as a player in 2011.