Date: 30th March 2016 at 4:56pm
Written by:

Thomas Kevin Beattie was born in Carlisle on the 18th December 1953 and as a young 15-year-old, The Beat was invited to discuss terms with Reds manager Bill Shankly and Liverpool.

But after arriving at Lime Street Station, there was no-one there to greet him and with no money in his pocket, he promptly jumped on the first train back to base.

Later the outspoken manager of Liverpool football club Bill Shankly said angrily, “If he hasn`t got the brains to find his way to Anfield from the station then we don`t want to sign him.”

Many years later, the controversial Scotsman admitted that it was one of his worst errors of judgement he had made in football and so it was to prove!

In 1971 Bobby Robson made sure there was someone to meet him at Ipswich station and it was the good man himself!

Beattie is arguably the best ever player to don an Ipswich shirt and even now, he ranks highly among Town fans who sadly never got to see him play in the flesh.

He was an awesome defender, who was not only as powerful as an Ox but had sometimes the deftest of touches and the ability to hang in the air, before straining his neck muscles to unleash exocet missiles from the edge of the box!

He stuck fear into forwards too with his no-nonsense tackling and dogged determination to win those fifty fifty challenges.

As if this was not enough, he also had fire power in his feet as well and scored some memorable goals from distance and the only goal he scored for England was a stunner against Luxembourg.

In 1971 he made his debut at just 18 years of age and against a Manchester United side that included George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton to name but three.

He passed the audition and within weeks he had not only been called into the England Under-23 squad but Sir Alf Ramsey had invited him to train with the full international team as well!

Sadly, injuries were his achilles heel. Knee injuries in particular and it was his knee that forced him to watch on from the stands for both legs of Town`s UEFA Cup final triumph against AZ 67 Alkmaar in 1981 which must have been devastating.

He was the first-ever recipient of the P.F.A. Young Player of the Year award in 1973/74 and got a FA Cup winners medal in 1978 when Arsenal were defeated 1-0 at the old Wembley that could easily have ended up in a rout!

I had the pleasure of watching him play so many times and the memories of this wonderful defender will be forever young.

If he had not had a gardening accident in 1977, I feel sure that Ipswich Town would have won the league and it is maybe because of this that I want underdogs Leicester City to do it this time.

They may be a city and not a Town but in the modern game they are still minnows compared to the big spenders of the Premier League and it would do English football the world of good if they won it!

As for our Kev, he made far too few appearances for Town because of those knees and he would persistently battle through those pain-barriers just to get onto the team sheet.

For the record he made 224 appearances for Ipswich Town scoring 24 goals and 9 more for England that should have been 90 had it not been for those dodgy knees that curtailed his career at just 27.

The Beat will always be a living legend to me and as Sir Bobby said, he was the best English-born player he`d ever seen.

I share that view and in an age when image and high earnings are destroying the modern game, let The Beat have the last word.

“I still get stopped all the time to sign autographs. I love it because without those fans I`d be a nobody and you can’t take those memories away.”

Frank Weston – editor of Vital Ipswich


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