‘He was a powerhouse’ – Ipswich legend Kevin Beattie dies aged 64
Figures from across the footballing world and beyond have paid tribute to Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie, who died on Sunday morning aged 64.
Beattie spent around a decade with the Blues scoring 32 goals for the team and becoming a fan favourite. It is believed he died after suffering a suspected heart attack.
With Town, he won both the FA Cup and UEFA Cup and was the first winner of the PFA Young Player of the year award in 1973-74.
Due to injury, he retired in December 1981 but later returned to play for north Essex clubs Colchester United, Clacton Town and Harwich & Parkeston.
The defender also earned nine caps for England between 1975 and 1977.
Sir Bobby Robson once described him as the best England player he had ever seen.
Years later Beattie continued to be regularly voted Town’s best-ever player among fans.
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“The football club has lost their best player,” said former England and Ipswich captain Mick Mills, “It’s a great loss to the club it really is.”
He described Beattie as “an absolute powerhouse”.
“He played football without thinking about it,” said Mills.
“If the team needed something special Kevin was the one who usually did it.”
Off the pitch Mills said that Beattie was “a very nice person”.
“He was always involved in the banter that was going on.
“He was really good fun.”
Speaking to Ipswich Town’s website former Town midfielder John Wark described Beattie as the best.
“It was right Beat is at the top of the supporters’ poll as well,” Wark said.
“I was privileged to be just behind him in the vote and I was also privileged to play with him.
“He was the best player at the Club in my time there.
“He had the lot - strength; pace; he was the best in the air; he could hammer a ball.
“We called him ‘monster’ and that is what he was - a monster of a player.”
Paul Mariner who played for Town alongside Beattie, posted on Twitter last night:
“Just landed in Boston from LA and was greeted with this news. I am shocked. “He was the first player to greet me after my move to Ipswich.”
Former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks expressed his condolences: “He left us with some sensational memories.
“He was a defender who could attack. He could run like a sprinter and jump like a gazelle.
“He excited all of us who stood on the terraces. It’s just terribly sad.”
Former England star and football pundit Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: “Sad news. Wonderful player.”
Ex-England goalkeeper Ray Clemence said: “What sad news to hear of the passing of Kevin Beattie a great player and character.
“Thoughts are with family and friends.”
Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton said: “Very very sad to hear this news a terrific player for Ipswich Town and the country my deepest condolences to the family one of the best players of his generation.”
Tommy Smith, who left Town last season to play in the US described the impact Beattie had had on him.
“So sad to hear the news of ITFC legend Kevin Beattie passing away.
“He was always so supportive to me and such a gent to my family and friends. He will truly be missed. RIP Kev.
“My condolences to Kevin’s family and friends at this very sad time.”
BBC Radio Suffolk’s Mark Murphy confirmed Beattie’s death on Sunday afternoon.
He said: “Kevin was my BBC Radio Suffolk co-host on Life’s a Pitch for the past 7 years and I am proud to call him my friend.
“When I started the programme all those years ago his was the first name on my team sheet. He was without doubt the greatest ever footballer to pull on the Ipswich Town shirt.
“The fans idolised him and he loved the fans with equal measure. He would be mobbed wherever we went and he loved it! To say I’m devastated is an understatement, I will miss him terribly.”
Terry Baxter who used to commentate on games with Beattie said: “Incredibly sad to hear of the passing of my former co-commentator and Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie.
“I’ll remember so many matches covered together, of course, the Wembley Play Off final and most importantly the laughter on those long away match journeys.”