Matty Pearson determined to help happy days return for Huddersfield Town

IN his time at one of his former clubs in Accrington Stanley, new Huddersfield Town signing Matty Pearson acquired the unflattering nickname of ‘Mr Angry’.

HAPPY MAN: Matty Pearson, pictured at Huddersfield Town's Canalside Training Ground after his move from Luton Town. Picture; John Early/Getty Images
HAPPY MAN: Matty Pearson, pictured at Huddersfield Town's Canalside Training Ground after his move from Luton Town. Picture; John Early/Getty Images

The former Barnsley and FC Halifax defender laughs at that particular moniker these days. His return to his West Yorkshire roots has certainly made him ‘Mr Happy.’

Although when it is business time and he is lining up in the blue and white of Huddersfield in 2021-22 and barking out the orders from the heart of the backline, it might be easy to deduce why he earned his early sobriquet.

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Pearson told The Yorkshire Post: “I am totally different on and off the pitch.

GOOD TIMES: Matty Pearson celebrates with Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman after beating Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park. Picture: Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

“Once I start playing, it is all a bit serious and obviously, you want to do well and I will try whatever I can. Off it, I am pretty chilled out.

“On it, I’d like to think I can bring some defensive qualities and am someone who shouts and tries and organises. That is what I will try to bring and I hope it works.”

When Keighley lad Pearson strides out for Town in August, there will be a justifiable swell of pride among family and friends. In many respects, it will represent the completion of a journey.

Some sporting stories are good for the soul and his particular tale is one of those.

ON THE UP: Matty Pearson, left and Danny Lowe applaud the Halifax Town fans after beating Guiseley in a playoff semi-final. Picture: Mike Cowling.

After a 10-year association with Blackburn Rovers as a youngster, Pearson was released by the Ewood Park outfit and then handed a further character examination after being told by his next club Rochdale that he was free to go after one season.

The former Oakbank School pupil and Long Lee Juniors player rebuilt his career at Halifax, combining playing commitments with the part-time Shaymen with fitting garage doors with his father before a return to the professional realm with Accrington.

After spells at Barnsley and Luton Town Pearson – who turns 28 in August – arrives at Huddersfield as a proven Championship defender and someone who has earned his stripes the hard way.

On some tough times and working for a living with his dad, he continued: “When I was at Halifax, I was training on Tuesday and Thursday nights and then playing on a Saturday. Obviously, you get bored if that is all you are doing every week and I went and worked throughout all my time at Halifax.

MR ANGRY: Luton Town's Matty Pearson and Watford's Isaac Success exchange words after a clash during their Championship clash at Kenilworth Road on April 17. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

“From there, I moved to Accrington and it just took off from there and I got recognised a bit.

“I have worked hard to get back up. I started at Halifax in Conference North and worked my way all the way up to this level.

“At Barnsley, the manager changed and he didn’t know who I was, basically. If you look at my last eight or nine seasons, I have mainly played around 40 games a season and if you do that, you cannot be no good.

“I’d like to think I will go to Huddersfield and do exactly the same and hopefully, it works out alright.”

EARLY DAYS: Matty Pearson in action during a pre-season friendly match between Morecambe and Blackburn Rovers at the Globe Arena back in 2011. Picture: Clint Hughes/Getty Images

While Pearson’s sole season at Oakwell in 2017-18 did not go the way he envisaged, his time at Luton was restorative.

An integral part of the Hatters side who lifted the League One title the following season – above his former club Barnsley – Pearson formed a solid central defensive partnership along Hull-born Sonny Bradley over three seasons, with the pair helping the Bedfordshire outfit consolidate impressively in the Championship.

Away with home in the south he may have been, but there remained a thriving Yorkshire contingent in the shape of Pearson, Bradley, James Bree and Jordan Clark – and also several other former Barnsley players in the Luton dressing room.

Now Pearson finds himself back in the White Rose county and has extra reason to savour the prospect of fans returning to stadiums next season, with June 30 being the seat renewal deadline for season cards at Huddersfield.

Pearson added: “We had a running joke when Luton signed all the ex-Barnsley lads and there were quite a few when we played Barnsley. We had quite a strong Yorkshire group down there and it was good.

“Coming back home will bring the best out of me. It is where I want to be and I will give everything to make it work.

“There were a few decisions to make. I had the options of a few clubs and to stay at Luton.

“I had just had a little girl and wanted to come back here. Until I went to Luton, I had always lived in West Yorkshire and it is nice to get back home and to come to a club like Huddersfield made it perfect.

“Football-wise, I am coming into my best years and have got lots to offer for the next three or four years.

“I am looking forward to it getting back to normal, having some atmosphere in the stadium and playing in front of people.

“I can get some family watching me, especially my grandparents who have not been for a couple of years now.

“It will be nice for them to come back and watch. All my family and those of my missus, Lucy, are all from up there.”

A strong, imposing stopper, Pearson possesses all the traditional qualities you want in a centre-half, but there are more strings to his footballing bow.

Part of his time at Kenilworth Road coincided with the tenure of an innovative and widely respected coaching figure in Graeme Jones, with the one-time Doncaster Rovers striker – currently part of England’s backroom staff at the European Championships and a former assistant at Belgium – working with him in 2019-20.

Jones’s input in his career has helped prepare him for his new challenge at Town, whose head coach Carlos Corberan is also renowned for his technical training approach and desire for players to play out from the back.

Pearson, one of five new Town additions with Jordan Rhodes, Lee Nicholls, Ollie Turton and Josh Ruffels having also signed, continued: “Huddersfield is a good club and having the chance to go there and help them is something I could not turn down.

“Luton were getting a few more players and were chopping and changing what position I was playing.

“The best thing for me is to play centre-back and a fixed position and kick on from there.

“Huddersfield have had a bit of a turn-around, but they still have quality players and there’s no reason why we cannot do well.

“As long as we can tighten it up at the back, there is no reason why we cannot be further up the table.

“The manager and where he has been under the Leeds manager and learning from that was an attraction. They have shown us a few sessions on how they want to play and it is interesting.

“Under my old manager Graeme Jones at Luton, it was similar. We tried playing and at times we played well. But you just need to be careful playing like that because you can be open.

“When it works, it works and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t work and you can see when it doesn’t. Hopefully, we can see the benefits and make it work more.”