Despite being described by former national boss Bobby Robson as “the best English player he had ever seen”, injuries restricted the defender to just nine international appearances for his country, scoring his only goal in a 5-1 thrashing of Scotland in May 1975. An FA Cup winner with Ipswich Town, he was also widely recognised as their best player of all time.
Born in Carlisle, the 15-year-old Beattie was invited down to Liverpool to meet manager Bill Shankly, but when nobody from the club turned up to meet him at Lime Street station the youngster turned round and caught the first train home – an outcome that the Anfield boss later admitted was as one of the biggest mistakes of his career.
Liverpool’s loss was, however, Ipswich’s gain, and after making his debut for the Portman Road side at 18 he went on to play more than 300 games for the club. A member of the side that beat Arsenal 1-0 in the 1978 FA Cup Final, he missed the 1981 UEFA Cup Final through injury but was later presented with a winner’s medal in 2008.
His last game for Ipswich was an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City in April 1981 during which he broke an arm. He retired at the age of 28 after five knee operations in four years, making a very brief comeback with Colchester United, Middlesbrough and a couple of Scandinavian sides.
He was later employed in the media and worked for BBC Radio Suffolk up until his death.
Thrashed...scoring against Scotland