Nigel Pearson was appointed as Derby County’s Manager on 27th May 2016 after agreeing a three-year deal
Following a successful playing career with Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Shrewsbury Town, East Midlands-born Pearson is best known for guiding Leicester City to the Premier League as Championship winners in 2013/2014 - and keeping the Foxes in the top flight the following season.
In a managerial career spanning over 400 competitive games, which began with Carlisle United, Pearson has also acted as Caretaker Manager at West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United and England Under 21s.
Pearson, who was a centre-back in his playing days, saw his footballing career begin in the early 1980s at local non-league side Heanor Town before, in November 1981, he was signed by Shrewsbury Town, for £5,000, and went on to make on 181 appearances for the Shrews.
His debut in professional football came on the opening day of the 1982/83 season – and scored his first-ever professional goal against Barnsley in March 1983. His fine form for Shrewsbury saw him signed by Sheffield Wednesday in October 1987, managed by Howard Wilkinson, for a reported fee of £250,000.
In his time at Hillsborough, which ran until the summer of 1994, he made 224 appearances for the Owls and during the 1990/91 season, as captain, Pearson was part of the Sheffield Wednesday side which gained promotion to the First Division – as well as lifting the League Cup at Wembley Stadium.
In 1992/93, Pearson impressed in the top flight and helped Wednesday reach the League and FA Cup Finals, but a broken leg in the League Cup Semi Final ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Interestingly, Pearson scored Sheffield Wednesday’s first-ever Premier League goal in the 1-1 draw away to Everton on the opening day of the 1992/93 season.
The final stop in Pearson’s playing career was Middlesbrough, who was signed by Bryan Robson for £750,000 in July 1994 – and went on to make 139 appearances for the Teesside outfit. During his time in the North East, as captain, Pearson played an instrumental role in Middlesbrough’s promotions to the Premier League in 1994/95 and 1997/98.
In his four-year tenure with Boro, Pearson was a runner-up in the FA Cup in 1997 and in the League Cup in both 1997 and 1998 before he announced his retirement from the game in the summer of 1998, ending with 544 appearances and 30 goals to his name.
After moving into coaching at the end of his playing career, Pearson first job in management came at Carlisle United in December 1998. He helped Carlisle stave off relegation on the final day of the 1998/99 season, with goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scoring a dramatic injury-time goal against Plymouth Argyle to send Scarborough to the Conference instead.
Pearson left Carlisle at the end of the season and joined Gary Megson’s backroom team at Stoke City in 1999, before being retained by Gudjon Thordarson until 2001. He joined West Bromwich Albion’s coaching staff in 2004 following Bryan Robson’s appointment and, in 2006, he had a spell in caretaker charge after Robson’s departure.
After leaving the Hawthorns, he joined Newcastle United as their assistant manager under Glenn Roeder and had a spell in caretaker charge before the arrival of Sam Allardyce in the summer of 2007. During his time with the Magpies, he was appointed as England Under 21s’ assistant coach and, in Stuart Pearce’s absence, was in charge of the 3-3 friendly draw against Italy – the first game at the newly-rebuilt Wembley Stadium.
After Allardyce’s departure from St James’ Park in January 2008, Pearson stepped in for a second spell in caretaker charge before leaving after the arrival of Kevin Keegan a few weeks later.
Southampton appointed Pearson as their new manager in February 2008 and oversaw a final day victory over Sheffield United to avoid relegation from the Championship – before departing at the end of the campaign.
In the summer of 2008, Pearson was appointed as manager of Leicester City and, in his first season as manager in 2008/09, guided the Foxes back to the Championship at the first attempt from League 1 – recording a club record 96 points and losing just four times in 46 games.
In the 2009/10 campaign, their first year back in the Championship, Leicester reached the Play-Off Semi Finals but were beaten on penalties by Cardiff City.
The summer of 2010 saw Pearson appointed as the manager of Hull City following their relegation from the Premier League. As Hull finished 11th in the Championship, Pearson led the Tigers to break a 66-year-old record with 14 consecutive away games without defeat.
After a strong start to the 2011/12 season, with Hull firmly in the promotion race, Pearson left the KC Stadium to return to Leicester City as their new manager in November 2011. With Leicester in mid-table at the time of his arrival, he rang the changes and guided the side to a ninth-place finish.
In 2012/13, following a strong summer of recruitment which saw the signing of future England forward Jamie Vardy, Pearson guided Leicester to a play-off finish but they were beaten by Watford at the semi-final stage – with a goal from Troy Deeney, moments after Anthony Knockaert had a penalty saved, settling the tie.
Leicester responded superbly in the 2013/14 and romped to the Championship title to reach the Premier League by some distance, which included a fine 20-game unbeaten run. In winning the league title, Leicester smashed their club record points total, for the second time under his management, by achieving 102 points.
As a result of Leicester’s promotion, Pearson was named as the LMA Championship Manager of the Year for 2013/14.
As the Foxes returned to the top flight, Pearson oversaw a memorable run in the latter stages of the 2014/15 campaign to preserve Premier League football for another season, as well as laying the foundations for their title success in 2015/16. During that strong end to the campaign, Leicester won seven of their last nine games to become just the third team to avoid relegation after being bottom at Christmas – with Pearson winning the Manager of the Month Award for April.
Chris Powell was appointed as Derby County’s Assistant Manager towards the end of May 2016 to coincide with the arrival of Nigel Pearson as the Rams’ new Manager.
Born in Lambeth, London, Powell began his playing career at non-league side Epsom & Ewell in the mid-1980s – however his time with the Salts lasted just a season as he joined Crystal Palace as trainee in 1986.
With chances at Palace limited, Powell was sent out on loan to Aldershot in 1990 – where he made 11 appearances - before moving to Essex-based club Southend United on a free transfer later that year.
Powell’s time at Southend proved to be a very fruitful spell after the left-back made just under 250 appearances for the Shrimpers and was a regular feature in the club’s rise from the third tier to the first through consecutive promotions.
He remained with Southend for six seasons until in 1996, an offer of £750,000 saw Powell transfer to Jim Smith’s promotion-chasing Derby County. Powell slotted into the Rams side seamlessly and made 19 appearances during the remainder of the 1995/96 season, helping the Rams to automatic promotion to the then-named Premiership.
After making 101 appearances for Derby in all competitions and winning Player of the Year in 1996/97, he joined Charlton Athletic in 1998 but was unable to save the Addicks from relegation to the First Division. The following season, in 1998/99, saw a change in fortunes for both Powell and Charlton as the Addicks gained promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Following promotion, Powell added to his existing top-level experience with Charlton, making 122 appearances between 2000 and 2004. It was a time that proved to be successful not just for his club career, but also internationally after he was picked for his England debut at the age of 31 by Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2001.
Shortly after the start of the 2004/05 season, Powell landed a move to local club West Ham United and played a significant part in the Hammer’s promotion winning campaign back to the Premier League via the play-offs at the end of the campaign. Powell’s stint at Upton Park lasted only a season, though, after he was unable to agree a new contract with club and subsequently moved back to Charlton on a one-year deal in the summer of 2005.
After serving a further year at the Valley, Powell moved to newly-promoted and experience-seeking Watford in 2006 – before he moved back to Charlton for a third time and made his final appearance for the club against Coventry in 2008 on the final day of the season.
During the close season of 2008, Powell trained with League Two side Bournemouth on a trial basis before opting to move to League One outfit Leicester City on a six-month contract - which was eventually extended until the end of the season as they were promoted as Champions under Nigel Pearson.
In 2009, under Pearson’s management, Powell signed a contract to become a player-coach. He announced that in 2010 that he would hang up his boots. His final professional game was, ironically, against Derby at the iPro Stadium on 27th March 2010 – bringing down the curtain a playing career that saw him make 763 appearances in club football and score eight times, as well as making five international appearances for England.
Prior to hanging up his boots, Powell acted as the Chairman of the Professional Footballer’s Association for five years and is a graduate of the LMA Certificate of Applied Management of Warwick University.
Having being retained on the coaching staff following the appointment of two different managers, Powell remained with Leicester until January 2011 before deciding to take up the role of manager at his former club, Charlton Athletic.
While his managerial debut with the Addicks began with a mid-table finish, in the summer of 2011, Powell signed 19 new players and lead Charlton to the League One title in his first full season in charge – a feat which saw him win the Manager of the Month on three occasions and also the LMA Manager of the Year.
The following season, Powell lead Charlton to a respectable 9th place finish in the Championship and the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup, before he was relieved of his duties in March 2014.
On the 3rd September 2014, Powell was unveiled as the new manager of Huddersfield Town and Powell guided the side to 16th place in the Championship before leaving the John Smith’s Stadium in November 2015, after nine months in charge.
First Team Coach
Kevin Phillips joined Derby County's coaching staff in September 2015.
The former England international striker joined Derby from Barclays Premier League side Leicester City, where he acted as first team coach under Nigel Pearson and Claudio Ranieri.
Phillips, 42, scored 287 goals in 665 professional appearances during his 20-year playing career, which included nine and a half seasons playing Premier League football and featuring eight times for his country.
Phillips’ professional playing career began in 1994, when he joined First Division Watford from Baldock Town before, after three years at Vicarage Road, he joined Sunderland in 1997.
He scored 35 times in 48 appearances in his first season with the Black Cats, followed by 25 in 32 outings as he helped fire Sunderland to the top flight in 1998/99.
Phillips took to the Premiership like a duck to water, scoring an impressive 30 goals in 36 league appearances in the 1999/2000 campaign. As a result, he became the first Englishman to receive the European Golden Shoe, as well as the Premiership Golden Boot and Player of the Season Awards.
Phillips remained a regular on the scoresheet during the next three seasons at the Stadium of Light before moving to Southampton, where he was a trainee in his early years, in 2003.
His next three moves were all to West Midlands clubs, Aston Villa (2005/06), West Bromwich Albion (2006/07 & 2007/08) and Birmingham City (2008/09, 2009/10 & 2010/11) before rounding of his playing days with Blackpool (2011/12 & 2012/13), Crystal Palace (2012/13 & 2013/14) and eventually Leicester City (2013/14) at the age of 40.
In total he scored 250 league goals with FA Cup, League Cup, Play-Off and European matches making up his final total.
During his career, he achieved promotion to the top flight on five occasions, with Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Crystal Palace and Leicester City - as well as lifting the League Cup whilst at Birmingham.
Early in 2015, Phillips received the Tom Finney Award at the annual Football League Awards to mark his achievements in Football League competitions.
First Team Coach
Popular former Derby County midfielder Inigo Idiakez joined Nigel Pearson’s coaching staff in July 2016.
The Spaniard made the move back to Derby from Premier League champions Leicester City, where he had been working in their Academy set-up as their Lead Youth Development Coach, to take up the position of First Team Coach.
Pearson took Idiakez to Leicester to help nurture their talent for the future and, after being impressed with his coaching skills, he opted to add him to his staff to work with Derby’s first-team squad alongside Chris Powell, Kevin Phillips and Pascal Zuberbühler.
Idiakez made 96 appearances for Derby between the summer of 2004 and August 2006 after joining from Rayo Vallecano.
He starred for the Rams under George Burley and scored 11 times in 46 appearances in the 2004/05 season as the side came narrowly close to gaining promotion, losing out to Preston North End in the Play-Off Semi Finals.
In that very same season, he was voted, by the supporters, as the club’s Player of the Year.
A further 11 goals in 44 appearances followed in 2005/06 before he joined Southampton, after making six appearances at the start of Derby’s 2006/07 promotion-winning campaign.
In total, he found the net on 22 occasions for the Rams and proved to be a fans’ favourite.
Pascal Zuberbühler became the club’s goalkeeping coach in late June 2015.
Throughout a decorated playing career, Zuberbühler played at the highest level for club and country.
His main success came in his native Switzerland at club level, where he went on to lift six Swiss league titles and three cups as well as play Champions League football over a 14 year spell that started at Grasshopper Club Zurich and took him to FC Basel.
On the international stage, he earned 51 caps for Switzerland featured in Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and the 2006 World Cup, the latter where he kept four clean sheets in four games as the Swiss bowed out to Ukraine on penalties in the last-16.
His performances earned him a move to the Barclays Premier League, where he played first for West Bromwich Albion, before finishing his career at Fulham after a brief spell back in Switzerland where he helped Neuchâtel Xamax earn promotion.
Zuberbühler has held the position of goalkeeping coach on three separate occasions with the Philippines national side as well as at Swiss top flight side BSC Young Boys.
Darren Wassall has been in charge of the Academy at Derby County since April 2009.
During his tenure as Academy Director, a number of players have progressed through the ranks into the first-team set-up including Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick, Jamie Hanson, Mark O’Brien and Mason Bennett.
In the summer of 2014, Wassall successfully oversaw Derby’s bid to achieve Category One status under the Elite Player Performance Plan.
He served as Caretaker Manager for one game in the 2013/14 season and also stepped up to the role of Head Coach in February 2016 until the end of the season, guiding the team to a play-off spot.
Wassall featured over 120 times for the Rams, after being brought to the Club by Arthur Cox.
He joined Derby in the summer of 1992 and soon gained a reputation as a reliable defender.
He was also a member of the side that won promotion to the Premier League under Jim Smith in 1997, before he left the Rams in 1997 to join Birmingham City.
Dr Bryan English
Chief Medical Officer
Dr Bryan English was added to Derby County’s backroom team during the summer of 2015.
English, who qualified in medicine in 1986, previously held the position of Medical Director at Chelsea between 2005 and 2011.
English worked under Jose Mourinho, Luis Filipo Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti during what is regarded as the most successful spell in the club’s history.
After leaving the Blues he also spent time working at Middlesbrough, while he has gained experience on the highest level in the field of Ice hockey, basketball, judo, track and field and tennis – as well as football.
English was also the Medical Director for UK Athletics at the Olympic Games in 2004.
Neil Sullivan is Derby County’s Head Physiotherapist following his arrival at the club in 2008.
He had previously held the same position at Oxford United over two spells - as well at Peterborough United - between July 2001 and September 2008.
Sullivan has degrees in Sports Therapy BSc (Hons) and Master of Science Advancing Practice (MSc).