Kevin Beattie: Liverpool’s loss was Ipswich Town’s gain....But sadly, an injury-plagued career
Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie was born in 1953 and made 307 appearances for Ipswich Town.
He scored 32 goals for the Blues, was an FA Cup and UEFA Cup winner and most impressively he was, as a Town player, PFA Young Player of the Year 1973/74 – the first winner of the award.
Born in Carlisle on December 18, 1953, Beattie joined Town in July 1971, although it was almost Liverpool he went to.
Much closer to his Carlisle home than Ipswich, as a 15-year-old, Beattie had been invited to discuss terms with Bill Shankly at Anfield.
Arriving at Lime Street Station and with no-one there to greet him and with no money in his pocket, he simply jumped on the first train home.
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However, Liverpool’s loss was Ipswich Town’s gain, leaving Liverpool supremo Shankly to admit years later, he missed out on a top player.
Beattie joined Ipswich Town in July 1971, Bobby Robson giving him his senior debut in August 1972 in a 2-1 win at Manchester United, aged just 18.
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Robson nicknamed Beattie “Diamond” by his Ipswich manager Bobby Robson because he felt his scouting system had unearthed a real gem!
It was just two years later Beattie was given his full England debut, April 16, 1975 in a 5-0 win against Cyprus, aged 21.
Beattie’s third cap (of nine) saw him score his only goal for his country.
A rampaging run from left-back at Wembley Stadium he charged forward to join a Kevin Keegan-inspired counter attack and headed his cross over Scotland keeper Stewart Kennedy as England destroyed the Auld Enemy 5-1 in the Home Internationals.
But knee injury continued to plague Beattie and his final England appearance was against Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifer on October 12, 1977. England won 2-0.
Back at Portman Road and despite injury, Beattie was forming a thunderous central defensive partnership with Allan Hunter as Ipswich Town under Robson became a force in English football.
In 1978 Ipswich Town won the FA Cup, their first major trophy since the Division One title in the 1961/62 season.
But injury continued to plague him and he missed out on the 1981 UEFA Cup final against AZ 67 Alkmaar, although he received his winners medal in 2008, following a petition that he should have one.
His final game for Ipswich Town was on April 11, 1981 when Town crashed out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage against Manchester City, weeks before the UEFA Cup final. Beattie broke his arm in the game.
He retired from the game in December 1981 but later returned to play for Colchester United, Middlesbrough, Harwich & Parkeston, Sandvikens IF, Kongsberg IF, Nybergsund IL-Trysil and Clacton Town.
Continually voted Town’s best-ever player in numerous polls, Beattie died, in the early hours of Sunday morning, aged 64.