By Kevin Affleck
Club legend Paul Robinson says Nigel Pearson has all the characteristics as a coach and a person to bring about a change in results and fortunes at Vicarage Road.
Robinson was at West Bromwich Albion in 2004/05 when Bryan Robson and Pearson masterminded a rise off the foot of the table at Christmas to beat the drop on one of the most dramatic final days in Premier League history.
The left-back is delighted that Pearson and his hometown club have now teamed up and feels the players will respond to his style of management.
“He's a good character,” said Robinson, who is now Under-18s coach at Birmingham. “He's a leader, he demands respect off everyone and once he's got that respect, he fully gives you the respect back. There are obviously a few things he needs to sort out but I think he will do really well.”
Pearson has a reputation as a bit of a disciplinarian, and the players were left in no doubt about what he expects following a meeting on Sunday, but Robinson has seen a lighter side to him, too.
“He is 100 per cent no-nonsense,” said Robinson. “No-one will be stepping out of line, no-one will be allowed to disrupt the dressing room, but I'd describe him as a soft, gentle giant. He gives you that love, that respect, will have a laugh and a joke but he'll want plenty back. If you respect Nigel and work hard, you'll do well under him.”
Robinson turned out to be exactly Pearson's type of player and the pair got on famously. The new Head Coach referenced the role Robinson played in that season when West Brom beat the odds when chewing the fat before his first interview with the club on Sunday.
“We had a great relationship,” said Robinson. “He knew what I was about, knew I was a character but knew when it came to work, that I'd throw my body on the line. I loved my time with him and we fully respect each other. We got on well on and off the pitch and he was a massive part in us staying up at West Brom. Everyone loved playing for him and once he gets Watford settled, everyone there will want to play for him.”