Rangers' fan Beat looks for little bonus

KEVIN Beattie is looking for a little bonus tonight when he gets presented with his UEFA Cup winners' medal - 27 years after Ipswich Town lifted the trophy.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis>

KEVIN Beattie is looking for a little bonus tonight when he gets presented with his UEFA Cup winners' medal - 27 years after Ipswich Town lifted the trophy.

The Blues legend is hoping to meet Rangers legend John Greig tonight at the UEFA Cup final between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg, at the City of Manchester Stadium.

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UEFA president Michel Platini will hand Beattie the medal he missed out on as he was injured for the 1981 final when Town beat AZ Alkmaar.

But while it will be a thrill to meet the Frenchman who was in the St Etienne side that Town beat home and away in the quarter-finals, Beattie is also keen to meet boyhood hero Greig.

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Beattie said: “When I was growing up in Carlisle I used to like Rangers. They weren't that far away in Glasgow and people used to travel north to the games at Ibrox.

“I lived on a street full of Catholics but it didn't bother me, I still preferred Rangers.

“My favourite player was their captain, John Greig and I'm told he now works for the club. I would be just thrilled to meet him at the final as I pick up my medal.

“He was a great player, a real schoolboy hero of mine and I'm going to feel like a schoolboy all over again when I get to Manchester.

“I will have a great time there. It might be 27 years since I last played for Ipswich but when I get that medal in my hands it will have been well worth the long wait.”

The presentation is down mainly to the efforts of Rob Finch who wrote the defender's autobiography and then started an on-line petition, backed by the EADT, for Beattie to receive his medal.

Beattie said: “I never envisaged such a high profile presentation. It couldn't be any bigger with Platini involved - he must have forgiven me and Ipswich for that pasting we gave St Etienne over in France.

“I want to say a special thank you to everyone who supported the campaign. I couldn't be happier with the outcome.”

“I can remember how frustrating it was to learn that only the 16 players on duty in the final would receive a medal and I gave up hope a long time ago that I would ever get my hands on one.

“Even when UEFA turned round and said they would put things right I never anticipated all this fuss.”

Now 54, Beattie featured in eight of Town's UEFA Cup-ties in a season when Robson's team chased an unprecedented treble of League Championship, FA Cup and UEFA Cup.

Beattie fractured his arm in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, little realising that he would never kick another ball for the club he joined as a 16-year-old from his native Carlisle.

He said: “I was gutted at the time to miss out on the UEFA Cup win because we had failed to win either of the two domestic honours and we were desperate not to end the season with nothing.

“If I'd had my way I'd have played in the two games but plaster casts were slightly heavier then than they are now and there was no way it would have been allowed.

“I had no idea I would never play again. I got over the broken arm, of course, but my knees were shot to bits and the specialist said they couldn't take any more punishment.”

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