Monday, June 11, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 19: Peter Beardsley


Voted in at number 19 in our ’100 Players Who Shook The Kop’ series is twinkle-toed Geordie genius of the great late eighties team, Peter Beardsley
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Peter Beardsley

Years at Liverpool: 1987 to 1991
Position: Forward

Date-of-birth: 18/1/61
Birthplace: Newcastle

Signed from: Newcastle United (July 1987)

Games played: 175
Goals scored: 59

Honours won: First Division Championship (1987/88, 1989/90), FA Cup (1989), Charity Shield (1988, 1989, 1990)

Peter Beardsley was a star performer in one of the greatest attacking sides ever assembled at Anfield but, had it not been for an error of judgement by Ron Atkinson, it could have been in the red of Manchester United that Beardo enthralled spectators in the eighties. It may come as a surprise to some Kopites that a player they revered so much was once on the books of arch-rivals United and there's no doubt they’ll thank their lucky stars he didn’t stay there. He was at Old Trafford for just six months as a youngster before Atkinson mistakenly deemed him surplus to requirements. He then secured a dream move to his hometown club, via a spell with Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada, and quickly set about making a name for himself in the famous black and white stripes. He netted a terrific volley for Newcastle at Anfield during our double-winning season of 1985/86 and the then Reds boss Kenny Dalglish must have made a mental note because when Ian Rush left for Juventus during the summer of 1987, Beardsley's name was high on his shopping list. The diminutive Geordie was one of the most sought after players in the British game and it took a then massive club record £1.9 million to secure his services. Some may have baulked at investing so much in one player but the dissenting voices were soon silenced as Beardo more than repaid the fee by establishing himself as a vital component in a mouth-watering attacking triumvirate that wreaked havoc across the country during the unforgettable title winning campaign of 1987/88. He inherited Dalglish’s famous number seven shirt at Anfield and one of the greatest compliments that can be paid to him is that his style of play was reminiscent of the King. His spellbinding close control would bamboozle opposition defenders and leave them tearing their hair out in frustration. After turning them inside out he’d stun them with a perfectly executed shot past the keeper when they least expected it, or he’d skip past them as if they weren’t there and then unselfishly tee up a team-mate to score. Fellow new signing John Barnes may have stolen the plaudits early on but the more astute observers in the Anfield gallery appreciated straight away just what an equally special player Beardsley was. His first competitive goal in Liverpool colours came in the second game of the season at Highfield Road. It was a solo effort that oozed class and one that would become his trademark. A thunderous volley against Mersey neighbours Everton, in front of an exultant Kop, a couple of months later cemented his status as a fans favourite and to prove it a fan ran on from the Kemlyn Road to plant a kiss on his forehead! A quiet lad off the pitch, Beardsley was a wonderfully gifted individual who was happy to let his football do the talking on it. Although not a prolific scorer of goals he was a joy to watch as the Reds embarked on a trophy-winning spree that yielded him two league titles, the FA Cup and a host of new admirers. With respect, Beardsley was one of most unlikely looking footballers but his hunched shoulders, pudding bowl haircut and twisted jaw belied a player of supreme class. His twinkle toed trickery constantly had the crowd on the edge of their seats and it came as a big surprise when Graeme Souness sold him to Mersey neighbours Everton on the eve of the 1990/91 season. The fact he continued to excel for a number of years after leaving Anfield made it an even more mystifying transfer but Liverpudlians can console themselves in the fact that for four years they witnessed the mercurial Peter Beardsley at the peak of his game and we'll be forever grateful for that.

Sold to: Everton (August 1991)

Claim to fame: Scoring a hat-trick v Manchester United in 1990, the last Liverpool player to do so

No comments: