Goal.com's Top 50 English Players: Peter Beardsley (31)

We continue to count down the fifty greatest English gents of all time and at number 31, it's Geordie icon Peter Beardsley...
No.50 - John Terry
No.49 - Tony Currie
No.48 - Terry Butcher
No.47 - Gerry Hitchens
No.46 - Paul Ince
No.45 - George Camsell
No.44 - Wayne Rooney
No.43 - Jackie Milburn
No.42 - Roger Hunt
No.41 - Rio Ferdinand
No.40 - Wilf Mannion

No.39 - Frank Lampard
No.38 - John Barnes
No.37 - Nat Lofthouse
No.36 - Eddie Hapgood
No.35 - Chris Waddle
No.34 - David Platt
No.33 - Phil Neal
No.32 - Johnny Haynes

Peter Andrew
BEARDSLEY

Born 18 January 1961 (1961-01-18), Newcastle-upon-Tyne

England 59 caps, 9 goals

Clubs Carlisle United, Vancouver Whitecaps, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Everton, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City (loan), Fulham, Hartlepool United, Melbourne Knights

There are enough quirky facts about Peter Beardsley to keep a pub quiz team happy for weeks. The only man to play for both Liverpool and Everton, Manchester United and City; the man who was turned down by his boyhood club before going onto to spend three spells there and become a local hero; he made his name in Canada; he played in goal in an 8-1 defeat; he once scored four for England - against Aylesbury; the list goes on.

Yet beneath the quirky trivia and the quirkier appearance, there is a true legend of the game, a man universally regarded with warmth and affection in England, and a player in whom many English fans would like to think they see their own love for the sport and its traditions mirrored.

Born in Longbenton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Beardsley was actually released from a boyhood trial with the Magpies and began his professional career at Carlisle United. The slightly built playmaking forward was a hit in the Border City, making 104 appearances and scoring 22 goals in three seasons .

CAREER HIGHLIGHT

World Cup '86
His success in the lower tiers of English football prompted interest from abroad and he joined North American Soccer League outfit Vancouver Whitecaps in 1982, spending three summers there and playing 73 games in total.

It was then that he came to the attention of Manchester United. Manager Ron Atkinson signed Beardsley on a five month trial, only for the young Geordie to make one subsitiute appearance for the Red Devils, against Bournemouth in 1982. It was then time to go home. 

Arthur Cox brought Beardsley back to Newcastle and his forward partnership with Kevin Keegan took the Toon back into the top flight in 1983. He matured and developed in the First Division, and his creativity and livewire footballing intelligence took him to the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, where his partnership with Gary Lineker helped take the Three Lions to a controversial quarter-final exit at the hands of Argentina.

In 1987, Kenny Dalglish paid £1.9 million (an English record at the time) to take Beardsley to Liverpool, who at the time were the dominant force in English football. His enthusiasm and skill made him a hit with the Kop, and his 59 goals in 175 matches helped the Reds win two league titles and an FA Cup before he left in 1991 - for Everton, of all places.

New Anfield boss, Graeme Souness, had embarked on his own attempt to re-model the club at the time, and Beardsley found himself surplus to requirements. He won over the Goodison Park faithful, though, and became one of only two men ever to have scored for both the Reds and the Blues in a Merseyside derby. He also retained the affection of the Liverpool support, who blamed Souness for his unwanted departure.

He returned to Newcastle in 1993 and, with Kevin Keegan at the helm at St James' Park, helped to forge a place in history as the creative fulcrum of Keegan's team of entertainers, who lit up the Premier League with their buccaneering brand of attacking football, but sadly just did not end up 'loving it' quite enough and never won a trophy to show for their gloriously entertaining play. Beardsley cemented his place in local folklore, though, and stirred a chord in the hearts of many supporters when he celebrated netting a penalty kick by running over to celebrate with his son, who was a Newcastle ball-boy at the time, thus reinforcing the family ethos that underpins so much of footballing life in the north east of England.


Although many would have expected his career to fizzle out, Beardsley's impish love for the game meant that he just couldn't stop playing, and he turned out for a whole host of clubs as his career ended, with a loan spell at Manchester City making him the only man to have played for both the blue and red halves of Merseyside and Manchester. He even found time to give a bit back to his native north east by turning out 22 times for Hartlepool United in 1999, before a brief spell in Australia finished things off.

A true fans' favourite, Beardsley is now coaching in the Newcastle academy set-up and he remains the Geordies' most capped England international, a true local hero.

HONOURS


Football League First Division Champion (Liverpool): 1987/88 & 1990
FA Cup Winner (Liverpool) 1989
Football League Second Division (Newcastle United): promoted 1984, Champions 1992/93.
Awarded MBE 1995

DID YOU KNOW...There could have been a hundred of these for 'Pedro', but one of the best is that he appeared in an episode of long-running BBC Television soap opera 'Eastenders' in 1998. He was in the background at Terry and Irene's wedding, for those with the video tapes...

Zack Wilson, Goal.com


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