Last week, we had the pleasure of Peter Beardsley’s company for three hours. Earlier, we had watched him in a bounce match on Newcastle United’s full-size indoor pitch. He’s still got it – the quick football brain, those lightning-quick Michael Flatley feet.
After the game, a young player came up to Beardsley – the reserve-team coach at Newcastle – and apologised for trying to nutmeg him during the game. Peter laughed it off, but it was a nice show of respect from the young lad.
Later, Beardsley told us that an academy player had found a classic Beardsley goal on YouTube, where he chipped giant Joe Corrigan. “But the goalie was so big,” said the awestruck youngster. Confronted by his genius, Beardsley was bang to rights.
We spent a thrilling 120 minutes listening to his stories. It made for an incredible podcast, probably my favourite so far. Beardsley’s human qualities shone through. He told us about the thrill he gets when fans approach him in the street, eager to share memories and talk football.
We were put in contact with Beardsley through the Carrick family, who we spent some time with after recording a previous podcast with Michael Carrick. The Manchester United midfielder and Beardsley share north-east roots and both came through the famous conveyor belt of Wallsend Boys Club, which has also produced Alan Shearer, Alan Thompson, Robbie Elliott and Lee Clark.
After the podcast with Michael, I met his father Vince Carrick, a remarkable character who has been actively involved in Wallsend for decades. His enthusiasm for grassroots football could power the national grid.
A few weeks later Vince sent on a few copies of a book he co-authored, ‘The History of Wallsend Boys Club’. It’s a terrific read, capturing the essence of a community club who are committed to instilling the right values in youngsters regardless of whether they become Premier League stars or plasterers.