Former England captain Stuart Pearce is set to come out of retirement at the age of 53 to help out a minor league side who have conceded 183 goals in 19 games this season.

The one-time defender, who was sacked as Nottingham Forest manager last February after a previous six-year stint in charge of England’s U-21 team, has signed up to play one match for Longford AFC.

The club play in Division Two of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League, equivalent to the 13th tier of English soccer. They have lost every game so far this season, some by as much as 17-0, and scored just three.

“I was intrigued by the chance to play for the team christened the worst team in England,” the Western Daily Press website quoted Pearce as saying yesterday.

“My last four managers have been Kevin Keegan, Ruud Gullit, Kenny Dalglish and Harry Redknapp and now Nick Dawe so it’s up there,” added the man who made 78 appearances for the national team and played in the 1990 World Cup semi-final against Germany.

“I come from the non-league system so I seem to have gone full circle. I just hope it doesn’t affect the crowd and the crowd don’t drop off now they know I’ve signed.”

The Western Daily Press said the club normally attracts a crowd of around six spectators.

Pearce – who earned the nickname ‘Psycho’ for his hard-man style of play – will be Longford’s oldest player and president Terry Godwin, 79, said he had never seen anything like it in 40 years at the club.

“My wife wanted Beckham but Pearce will have to do. I don’t know who’s got the nerve to ask for his subs (subscriptions) – I certainly won’t be asking him,” he said.

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