Nigel Pearson has been reflecting on the “bizarre but wonderful” experience of being in charge at Carlisle United when Jimmy Glass scored.

The former Blues boss said the goalkeeper’s goal in 1999 was an “incredible” time at the outset of his managerial career.

And Pearson said his spell at Brunton Park, culminating in the miracle of May 8, helped to shape his future in the dugout.

Pearson went on to manage at the top level with clubs such as Southampton, Leicester, Hull and Watford, and spoke about his memories of the astonishing finale to the 1998/99 season on the ITV Football Football podcast with Mark Pougatch and Andros Townsend.

“It was an amazing event, although not one I would particularly choose to go through [again]…” the 57-year-old said of the unforgettable 2-1 win against Plymouth which, combined with Scaborough's draw with Peterborough, saved United's skins.

News and Star: Nigel Pearson pictured at his unveiling as United boss in the 1988/99 seasonNigel Pearson pictured at his unveiling as United boss in the 1988/99 season

“The back story was that we went into the last few games of the season with no goalkeeper and got special dispensation to sign Jimmy on loan [from Swindon].

“The day he walked in the door he was a breath of fresh air in terms of what he brought as a character and man, his personality.

“Our game [on the final day] was finishing much later because a Plymouth player [Paul Gibbs] broke his leg. When Jimmy decided to trundle up and make himself a hero it was a bizarre but wonderful thing to be a part of.

“The day we stayed up, we were all aware Scarborough had drawn their game. Afterwards I saw images of them celebrating [before realising Glass had sent them down]; it was great for us to survive but when you see what it means for other people it’s quite difficult.”

Glass’s injury-time strike prevented United from dropping into non-league and spared the club from deeper disarray at a time Michael Knighton’s ownership was entering its crisis period.

Pearson had been appointed manager during the 98/99 season, charged with keeping the Blues in the Football League.

It came shortly after the then 35-year-old’s top-level playing career, with clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough, had come to an end.

“I went into my first job as a manager with no experience; I had retired from playing the previous summer and it was a baptism of fire,” he said.

News and Star: Pearson speaks to fans from the Main Stand after Glass's miracle goal kept United in the Football LeaguePearson speaks to fans from the Main Stand after Glass's miracle goal kept United in the Football League

“In many ways it was an experience which shaped a lot of the things that subsequently happened.

“I was lucky to play most of my career in the top two divisions, [though] I’ve managed in all four leagues [since then] – it was quite a humbling experience, and refreshing.

“It’s really great to work with people who remind you what it’s all about. It was an incredible time in my football career.

“One moment in a game can influence your career. It was my first job, and had it ended in relegation…”

Pearson said that experience, and other survival battles during his managerial career, were memorable for the “quality of people” at the clubs concerned – “a band of brothers pulling in the same direction”.

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