Peter Beardsley

Peter Beardsley

Football player infobox
playername = Peter Beardsley

fullname = Peter Andrew Beardsley
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1961|1|18|df=y
cityofbirth = Newcastle upon Tyne
countryofbirth = England
position = Midfielder
youthyears =
youthclubs = Newcastle United
Wallsend BC
years = 1979–1982
clubs = Carlisle United
Vancouver Whitecaps
Manchester United
Vancouver Whitecaps
Newcastle United
Newcastle United
Bolton Wanderers
Manchester City (loan)
Hartlepool United
Melbourne Knights
Doncaster Rovers Total
caps(goals) = 104 0(22)
053 0(20)
000 00(0)
028 00(9)
147 0(61)
131 0(46)
081 0(25)
129 0(46)
017 00(2)
006 00(0)
021 00(5)
022 00(2)
002 00(0)
022 00(0) 763 (238)
nationalyears = 1991–1992
nationalteam = England B
nationalcaps(goals) = 002 0(0)
059 0(9)
manageryears = Years
managerclubs = Club
England "(assistant manager)"

Peter Andrew Beardsley MBE (born 18 January 1961, Newcastle upon Tyne) is a renowned English former footballer of the 1980s and 1990s, who once set a record transfer fee in the game and represented his country 59 times between 1986 and 1996, once as captain.

Club career

Early career

A product of the famous Wallsend Boys Club in North Tyneside, Beardsley was released as a teenager by hometown club Newcastle United but found his way back there in 1983 after successful spells with Carlisle United (126 appearances scoring 26 goals) and Canadian NASL outfit Vancouver Whitecaps, who signed him from Carlisle for £275,000 on 1 April 1982. He had also played the 1981 summer season with Vancouver. He stayed there for just over five months before Manchester United came looking to bring him back to England. His only appearance came in a League Cup against Bournemouth in the autumn of 1982.

Beardsley rejoined Vancouver on a free transfer on 1 March 1983 but again his stay was a short one. He was on the move once again on 23 September 1983, this time to rejoin Newcastle.

Newcastle United

Beardsley signed for Newcastle for a fee of £150,000, although when they had let him go earlier they could have signed him for nothing. The pacey, incisive and skillful forward made his debut for the Magpies the day after he signed, 24 September, in the 1–1 2nd division draw with Barnsley at Oakwell. Beardsley was an instant hit with the Newcastle supporters, scoring and setting up spectacular goals. He went on to celebrate promotion with his team-mates, who were captained by Kevin Keegan in his final season as a player. They finished in the final promotion spot behind winners Chelsea and runners-up Sheffield Wednesday.

Beardsley scored his first goal for the Magpies on 19 October 1983 in their 2–0 victory over Cardiff City at Ninian Park. His first goals at St James' Park came in Newcastle's next fixture, against Manchester City. United beat City 5–1 and Beardsley scored his first ever hat-trick.

In his first season in the First Division division, Beardsley scored 17 goals in 38 league games as Newcastle finished in 14th position. During the following campaign he played in all of Newcastle's 42 league matches, scoring 19 goals. In one fixture against West Ham United, Beardsley ended the game as a stand-in goalkeeper. The game ended in an 8-1 defeat for Newcastle, with Beardsley concededing the last 3 goals.

Upon returning from the World Cup, Beardsley helped Newcastle to another mid-table finish (11th), scoring 11 goals in 27 appearances, and won a further six caps for his country, before Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish sought Beardsley's signature. The offer was too good to refuse with Liverpool then involved in an intense battle for domestic supremacy with bitter rivals Everton, so after making 164 appearances and scoring 61 goals for Newcastle (all in the league), Beardsley swapped the black and white stripes of Newcastle for the red of Liverpool.


Liverpool paid an English record transfer fee of £1.9 million to bring Beardsley to Anfield on 14 July 1987. He was signed at the same time as John Barnes, the Watford winger who would be voted PFA Player of the Year for the 1987-88 season. They were added to John Aldridge, who had signed during the previous campaign, with the three tearing Arsenal apart on Beardsley's debut at Highbury for Aldo to score after just nine minutes of the opening day of the 1987–88 season, 15 August 1987. Liverpool went on to win 2–1 and this would shape the rest of the season for the Reds.

Beardsley's first goal for his new club came on 29 August 1987 in the 4–1 victory over Coventry City at Highfield Road, with Beardsley scoring in the 83rd minute. He helped Liverpool to a record-equalling 29 league matches undefeated as Liverpool convincingly strolled to the League title. Beardsley became a darling of the Kop, scoring goals and making plenty more as the side suffered only two League defeats all season. However, there was disappointment at the end when Wimbledon denied them the 'double' with a shock 1–0 win in the FA Cup final, a game in which Beardsley "scored", only for it to be ruled out by the referee who awarded Liverpool a free-kick for an earlier foul instead of allowing play to continue.

Liverpool returned to Wembley and won the FA Cup the following year, but lost their League championship with virtually the last kick of the last game of the season against Arsenal. They did win the championship again in 1990, but Beardsley had gradually found himself falling out of favour with manager Kenny Dalglish, who bought Israeli international Ronny Rosenthal to replace him during the title run-in. With the reds foundations by now crumbling fast, Beardsley was replaced by David Speedie in late 1990, just two months before Dalglish's resignation as manager.

During Beardsley's Anfield career he played in 175 matches and scored 59 goals, but it was his vision, guile and all action style of play that endeared him to the Anfield faithful, so much so he was voted in 19th position in the 2006 poll 100 Players Who Shook The Kop, conducted by the [ official Liverpool Football Club web site] ; over 110,000 supporters worldwide voted for their 10 favourite players of all time.

In June 1991, Liverpool signed Derby striker Dean Saunders and despite the departure of David Speedie, Beardsley's first-team chances at Anfield were looking slimmer than ever, and a transfer from Anfield seemed inevitable.


Liverpool's derby rivals, Everton succeeded in gaining 30-year-old Beardsley's signature when he joined them on 5 August 1991 for a fee of £1 million. He made his debut on 17 August in a 2–1 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

Beardsley crossed the city to join Everton, a move which would normally incur the antipathy of the Liverpool supporters. However, he was forgiven because the fans were unhappy that Beardsley had not been retained and blamed the club, rather than the player. He played well and scored freely for the blue half of Merseyside, though Everton never achieved anything greater than a mid table finish in the league during his time there.

During this two-spell he became, along with David Johnson one of only two players to have scored for both sides in a Merseyside derby.

The one thing all Evertonians agree on is that they never had Beardsley in their side long enough and wished he had joined them sooner. He finished as the club's top scorer by the end of his first season at Goodison Park and again showed his dynamic quality during his second season, but off the field Everton were suffering financial difficulties and when former club Newcastle offered Everton 1.5 million for Beardsley it was a sum they couldn't turn down.

After just 95 matches for Everton, scoring 32 goals, he was on his way back to his home town club Newcastle.

Return to Newcastle

On 16 July 1993, Beardsley re-joined Newcastle for £1.4million, where his old team-mate and strike partner Kevin Keegan was manager. Newcastle had just won promotion to the Premier League as Division One champions, and in 1993-94 they finished third and qualified for the UEFA Cup, with Beardsley scoring a total of 25 goals and his strike-partner Andy Cole scoring a club record of 41 goals in all competitions. He played for a further four years at the club, almost captaining them to the FA Premier League title in 1996, but they were pipped to the title by Manchester United.

During his second spell at St James' Park he racked up 157 appearances and scored 56 goals, bringing his overall total after two spells with the club to 321 appearances and 117 goals. This equates to a goal every 2¾ matches, a decent ratio for a player who was seen by many as a provider rather than a goalscorer. It is this period of his career that Beardsley regards as the time when he peaked. In this second spell, along with strike partner Andy Cole and Cole's eventual successor Alan Shearer, Beardsley was a founding member of the Newcastle teams known as "The Entertainers".

Later career and retirement

He left Newcastle on 18 August 1997 for £450,000, joining Bolton Wanderers, where he made 21 appearances but was unable to save them from being relegated from the Premier League. He then went on loan to Manchester City, where he played six times. This loan spell made Beardsley the only player to play for both top flight teams in Liverpool and Manchester.

He then moved to Fulham, where he made 28 appearances in two separate loan spells, eventually signing for them permanently. He then went to Hartlepool United on a free transfer, and played 22 times. Doncaster Rovers were his last English side, with Beardsley playing for them 22 times before leaving them on the 30 November 1999. At this stage they were in the Nationwide Conference.

In 1999, Beardsley served as assistant manager to Howard Wilkinson during his first caretaker period as manager of England. England faced, and lost, to World Champions France in a friendly in Paris.

He finally ended his career at the age of 38 when he played twice for the Melbourne Knights in Australia, achieving a yellow card in one game for wearing his shorts backwards, only noticed in injury time by the refereeFact|date=February 2008.

In 2003 Beardsley was the subject of a Premier League inquiry, after it was claimed that he had bullied two Newcastle United youth players. He was cleared of the charges. [cite news
title=Beardsley cleared of bullying
publisher=BBC News
] Beardsley left Newcastle in 2006, when Glenn Roeder took over as permanent manager of the club. He believed Newcastle should go in a different direction. Beardsley now works in a media role at the club.In 2007, his former boss at Everton Howard Kendall stated he was interested in taking over as manager of the Republic of Ireland National Team with Beardsley as his assistant. Beardsley was also linked with a return to Newcastle in January 2008 when Kevin Keegan returned as manager for a second spellFact|date=February 2008.

International career

During his first spell at Newcastle, Beardsley became a regular in the England side and teamed up with striker Gary Lineker, who described Beardsley as "the best partner I could ever have".

Ironically, it was Lineker who made way for Beardsley when manager Bobby Robson gave him his debut as a substitute on 29 January 1986 in the 4–0 friendly victory over Egypt in Cairo. His first goal came in his fourth appearance, on 17 May 1986 in the 3–0 friendly win over Mexico in Los Angeles.

Having only made his debut in January 1986, Beardsley's performances for England won him a call-up for the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico. England scored seven goals in the tournament, of which Lineker scored six (winning the Golden Boot for doing so); the other goal came from Beardsley in a 3–0 victory over Paraguay in the second round. England had failed to score a goal in the first two matches of the finals, but in the third match – Beardsley's first start in the tournament – they beat Poland 3–0. Beardsley contributed in that match with a spectacular cross to Steve Hodge, which allowed Hodge to make England's second goal for Lineker.

Despite falling out of favour in the Liverpool line-up, he maintained his place in the England team and featured in both Euro 88 and the 1990 World Cup. He was given the honour of captaining England on 17 February 1988 when they drew 0-0 in a friendly with Israel.

During his second spell at Newcastle Beardsley was recalled to the England team, and ultimately ended his international career while still at Newcastle in 1996, after gaining 59 caps and scoring 9 goals.

Beardsley once scored four goals for England against Aylesbury United. These did not count towards his international tally, however, as this was not an official international match.

Personal life

In 1995, Beardsley was awarded the MBE for services to the game. He is married with a daughter and a son. Beardsely totally abstains from alcohol because, as he said in an interview, he doesn't like the taste of it. He was terrified of swimming until he recently overcame his fear.

Steve Davis once played a frame of snooker with Peter for Comic Relief that raised £1,000. Beardsley makes regular appearances for charity in the North East, reminiscing on his time at Newcastle, at football talk-ins.

Beardsley is briefly mentioned in the Red Dwarf episode "Better Than Life" as the star of the (fictional) remake version of the film "Casablanca". He is also mentioned in the song "My Book" by the band Beautiful South.


Football League First Division (Level 1) 1987/88 and 1989/90

FA Cup 1988/89

Charity Shield 1988/89, 1989/90 and 1990/91

Football League Second Division (Level 3) 1998/99

Notes and references

External links

* [ Official Liverpool FC profile]
* [ Profile at]
* [
* [ English Football Hall of Fame]

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