Centre forward John Pearson joined Terry Dolan’s Tigers on loan in January 1992 following injuries to both Darren France and Paul Hunter, which limited City’s forward options. Pearson went straight into the first team and scored in his second appearance, a tight 3-2 Associate Members’ Cup tie win against Preston. City then scored only three times in the next six games and while the club’s form picked up in February and March with an undefeated run of nine games, Pearson was unable to trouble the opposition keepers again and returned to his parent club Barnsley after three months.
John Stuart Pearson was born within a quarter of mile of Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough football ground and left school at 15 in the late 1970s to join the Owls’ apprentice scheme. Pearson was handed his League debut a few days after his 17th birthday and he made a remarkable start to his senior career, scoring in each of his first four appearances. Despite this impressive start he was used sparingly for the rest of the 1980/81 season but was evidently a hot prospect for the north Sheffield side.
Developing under the guiding hand of manager Jack Charlton, Pearson was used as a support striker, often as substitute, during the 1981/82 season and at the the start of the 1982/83 season he scored five goals in the opening three League games – he ended the season with seven goals as the Owls finished in the top six of the Second Division and reached the FA Cup semi final, losing out to Brighton. John was a more regular presence in the 1983/84 season as Wednesday powered to top flight promotion by finishing second in the Division Two table. Pearson was used sparingly in the 1984/85 season as the Owls achieved a top half First Division finish thanks to the goals of Imre Varadi and Lee Chapman – though John did contribute two top flight goals against Nottingham Forest in August 1984 and Coventry City in March 1985. In May 1985 Pearson left his boyhood club and signed for ambitious Second Division side Charlton Athletic, having made 128 appearamces and scored 27 goals for Sheffield Wednesday.
In his first season at The Valley Pearson won his second promotion in three seasons as he contributed 15 goals, the best season’s haul of his career. As with his time at Wednesday, Pearson was used sparingly by Charlton in the top flight and in January 1987 he returned north to sign for Second Division side Leeds United. John was Leeds’ first choice centre forward for the rest of the season and he scored four goals to assist the Peacocks to a play-off place. Having eliminated Oldham Athletic in the semi-final, Leeds then faced Pearson’s former club Charlton in the two legged final – in the early years of the play-offs the 19th place side in the First Division played off against three Second Division sides – and Charlton prevailed after the two legged final finished all square and a replay at Birmingham’s St Andrews ground was required.
For the next three seasons Leeds continued their attempts to return to the top flight, eventually succeeding as Second Division champions in the 1989/90 season – by this time Pearson was a rarely-seen support striker. After scoring in his first top flight appearance of the season against Sheffield United, Pearson was used as a late substitute for most of the season before spending the last three months on loan at Third Division Rotherham United. His 11 starts and five goals for the Millers were added to the 127 appearances he made for Leeds, scoring 12 goals.
Pearson transferred to Second Division side Barnsley in the 1991 close season, after scoring on his Tykes debut Pearson’s form dipped and his January 1992 loan to Hull City was designed to restore his confidence. After returning to Barnsley for the 1992/93 season and taking his appearance tally for the club to 40 (with five goals), Pearson joined Carlisle United in August 1993. Only 9 appearances in a season and a quarter for the Cumbrian side led to his contract being cancelled in November 1994, after four appearances in two months at Mansfield Town John joined Cardiff City in January 1995. Twelve goalless appearances for the Bluebirds drew his senior career to a close, apart from a single guest appearance for his first club Sheffield Wednesday in a June 1995 Intertoto Cup tie against Swiss side FC Basle. In total, Pearson’s 15 year playing career yielded 421 senior appearances and 66 goals.
John dropped into the non-league scene in 1995, playing for Merthyr Tydfil and Sheffield FC amongst others. After a few years out of the game Pearson started a second career as Radio Sheffield’s pundit for the Sheffield Wedneday matchday commentary team, a role he later transferred to televised games on the iFollow platform. After a spell working as a mortgage advisor Pearson joined the Sheffield Wednesday Football in the Community programme in 2009 where he spent many years organising charity events.
Date/Place of Birth: 1 September 1963, Sheffield
Hull City First Game: 11 January 1992, Stockport County H (Division Three), 28 years, 132 days old
Hull City Final Game: 28 March 1992, Leyton Orient H (Division Three), 28 years, 209 days old
Sheffield Wednesday (1979-1985), Charlton Athletic (1985-1987), Leeds United (1987-1991), Rotherham United (1991, loan), Barnsley (1991-1993), Hull City (1992, loan), Carlisle United (1993-1994), Mansfield Town (1994), Cardiff City (1995), Merthyr Tydfil (1995), Stalybridge Celtic (1995), Ashfield United, Chorley, Hallam FC, Sheffield FC
Hull City Record
Career: 17 apps, 1 goalsJohn Pearson
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