In recent months I’ve noticed a muttering of criticism about Peter Beardsley.

‘Lackey’, ‘yes-man’, ‘brown-nose’ – you know the sort of thing.

My first reaction is this: free speech is all very well and all that, but you can only go so far – these people should be strung up by the heels and whipped.

But then I think – no, we are civilised people after all, let’s look at the thing in a mature, reasonable manner.

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So, painful though it is, let me try to set out the case against our Peter. It is that he has made himself a part of a hated regime. Not only has he taken Ashley’s thirty pieces of silver, but he is an enthusiastic yes man, speaking up for the regime whenever he’s given the opportunity. And because he has been such a hero to the club, his current complicity in what is happening at our club is the ultimate betrayal.

That, in brief terms, I think is the case against.

So how do we defend him?

A little while back I went for dinner with some non-footbally, artistic types. After we’d eaten, once the butler had cleared away the plates and we were sitting with our port and cigars, I put out the opinion that Peter Beardsley was an artistic genius.

I was scoffed .

“Genius?!! – but the man is a fool – he can hardly string two words together!” was the gist of their response.

But I persisted. I described in eloquent and, frankly, moving terms his artistry as a player – the way he played with a sort of innocent enthusiasm about him, the way he could run with the ball at his feet, full-pelt, and then sort of lift one leg and wave it about a little bit just above the ball, all the time going full-pelt.

If you saw him you know what I mean. But even then they wouldn’t accept that he was a genius.

“He might have been really good at his job, but it was just a physical skill. That doesn’t make him an artist, any more than a really good bricklayer or carpenter is an artist.”

What to say to that? Well, I said, what about Pavarotti? Was he an artist, or did he just have a physical skill. Or what about Nureyev, or Margot Fonteyn? Or Jimi Hendrix? If you’re happy to call all of those people artists, why not Peter Beardsley.

peter beardsleyOr come to that, what about Van Gogh – we’re all happy to say that he was an artistic genius, but for all we know he might have sounded as thick as two short planks if you’d talked to him. And would it matter anyway. The important thing is that he could paint, the rest doesn’t matter.

Now, none of that )my arty conversation) really happened (or most of it didn’t at any rate). But the two morals of the story are these. First of all, that Peter Beardsley was a genius and an artist with the ball at his feet. But also, second, that just because you’re a genius at one thing doesn’t mean that you’re a genius at everything. We just have to appreciate the wonderful bit, and the rest, well the rest doesn’t really matter.

I was a bit worried about what Peter would do with himself after he stopped playing. I sort of feared the worst. Here was someone who had been able to express himself on the field better than almost anyone, but was probably not going to be able to do the same off the field. He never seemed the type who was going to go into management, or into punditry with any success. As it has turned out, his current role seems to me to be about right.

So he’s in a job which is probably right for him. But then some will say, that doesn’t matter, he’s taken Ashley’s money, that he might be a part of our history, but now he’s a part of the problem.

And what I’m saying in response to that is that it’s not fair to expect anyone to be great at everything. Peter is a hero, but he’s not a superhero. A lot of us have been in a position where we’ve had to work for someone who we thought was a complete tosser. But how many of us have had the courage to say, no, you can stuff your salary, and here’s what I think of you. A lot of us might have dreamed about doing it, but you’ve got to have the moral courage of a Kevin Keegan to do that sort of thing. Most mortal men just bite their lip, bank their wages, and carry on.

Some might wish that Peter would say, no, up with this I will not put, throw his cards in the air and lead us all to the barricades. But he’s not Danton, or Che Guevara. He’s our Peter, and that’s enough.

And one last thing. There are people who take the view that Ashley is the Great Satan, and that everything and everybody associated with him and his regime must be bad. But it’s not as simple as that.

Back in the 80s there were a lot of us who thought Mrs Thatcher was evil through and through, utterly without redeeming features. But that didn’t mean that every policeman, every civil servant, or even every Tory MP working at the time was evil just by association.

And again, a lot of people thought in 2003 that Blair’s decision to invade Iraq was mad, and that the whole affair was a piece of lunacy. But that didn’t mean that every soldier who went to fight over there was a mad lunatic. It doesn’t work like that. Most of them were just doing their job. And that’s what Peter’s doing now.

So there you are. A mature, reasoned discussion. And anyone who still doesn’t agree that Peter Beardsley should be beyond criticism to a Newcastle fan – well they should be taken out and shot!

(For the avoidance of any doubt, in case there’s anyone from MI5 looking, that last bit was meant to be irony.)

  • Faustino11

    He’s a sell out and he’s sold out his club, his fans and people like Keegan who were huge parts in his becoming a legend here

  • LeazesEnder

    Thats the difference between an Artist and an ‘Artiste’…. public performers are artistes!

  • dont believe the hype

    The club have all but issued a statement saying they don’t want to win a cup or play in Europe, Peter Beardsley seems more than happy not only to go along with this but speak up for those implementing the policy.

  • LeazesEnder

    dont believe the hype Maybe he did speak up against this regimes policy… but nobody could understand what he said?

  • A lex

    Wrong. I feel I was in a similar position a few years ago. Therefore, I found another similar role which didn’t compromise me as much and left.

  • PaulNewsome

    Beardsley is simple. I don’t mean stupid, just simple and humble. He just wants to work in football and he’ll be very grateful to anyone who gives him the opportunity to do that.

  • killyted

    imho the best player to play for nufc. yes he toes the party line but that comes from the days when he brushed the floors at Fields packaging

  • DownUnderMag

    Most of the criticism surrounding Pedro surrounds his ability and track record as a coach rather than his association with the current regime.  
    Like it or not, as great a player as he was, his record as youth coach is not exactly striking.  Yes we’ve had a number of kids come through, but the vast majority of them  are now on-loan at some lowly conference side (or Rangers) while other have just been let go altogether. I’ve said many times, we should be getting regular first teamers through the system, not world class players, but just good solid players.  When we do finally give players a chance, they look lost, unfit, underskilled or all of the above, which if you ask me all bar lack of skill points firmly at lack of proper coaching to prepare them for the first team (yes skill is too, but lack of a particular skill in a certain area may just be because they’ve been favouring strengths or just don’t have the ability to hit that long ball or put in a top goal clearing tackle).

    I just think there is a disjointed link or lack of altogether, between the academy, reserves and senior squads.  For me these should all be aiming in the same direction.  We don’t rely on U-18 success, or winning the FA Youth Cup.  The academy should be feeding the reserves which should be feeding the senior team.  This means players should be familiar with tactics being used, training methods, their fitness should be there ready to step up into the next level.

    Under previous managers, this was never seen because they were never around long enough.  but it is so apparent that despite a settled number of years with the same staff in place, there is still no link.  There is still no sense of natural progression.  Something must change and if it means getting different coaches in then so be it – Beardsley will always be a club legend, but maybe, just maybe, it is time for him to step down and let someone else try their hand of getting the most out of these kids!

  • No Brainer

    Can’t beat the artistic craft of a quality carpenter, its nearly as worth while as admiring a Peter Beardsley mazy run.

  • No Brainer

    DownUnderMag Most of the criticism surrounding Pedro surrounds his ability and track record as a coach rather than his association with the current regime. 

    and how bad is his coaching, how many of his players are there that have gone through in to a premier league first team squad and how have you judged that against his peers at other premier league clubs?

    Man City
    Man u

    I think maybe your correct in terms of setting the kids up to work through the current nufc FT coach’s system methodology, it may surprise you to find out that the club do that with all players on elite contracts under Steve Common’s guidance at age 14 upwards.

    I find it hard to believe that you think Aarons, Ameobi, Dummett and armstrong are unfit. Really they’re unfit?

  • No Brainer

    killyted Nicely (realistically) put

  • Albert27

    People shouldnt grief pedro. Man is THE greatest player of all time. He aint going to slag off fat man. Pedro loves the toon and football. Hes that much of ahumble gent that in his mind hes probably counting is lucky stars that hes involved with his boyhood club.

  • Demented_Man

    Simple he may be; a simpleton he is not.  He understands better than most the damage Ashley has done to the club yet, far from speaking out, he has gone beyond the call of duty in his praise of the regime.
    Aside from that, he’s not a very good coach either.

  • wor monga

    This club needs, and has always needed the likes of Peter
    Beardsley, and any of the useless pr*cks who think otherwise should disappear
    back up their anonymous keyboard orifices….

    He was the local lad who did his ‘talking’
    on the football fields (with the best), and learned more about the game that
    way than any of these ‘Mag know-alls’…who learned about the game only by
    copying what some hack of the Daily Whotsit told them was gospel or by copy and
    pasting some PL statistical page on the net.

    It bothers me somewhat…when I see the disrespect he gets
    from some of the pundits on here who think they can change things at this club
    by staying away…and then spilling their guts out like the heroines in some
    Victorian melodrama!!

  • shadsdad

    “takes Ashleys money” applies to everyone employed by NUFC so it’s a bit rich to single out skeletor.
    Not only that but todays kids are a far cry from a decade or two ago when you would have given anything to play for a big club, or indeed, any club.Too much money too soon and determination and graft go out of the window.

  • A few years back I went to my mate’s to watch a video of Peter Beardsley’s goals, and before he put it on he jokily commented, “Mind, it’ll bring a tear to your eye.”
    He was only joking, but I did seriously have a lump in my throat watching the video at how amazingly uniquely brilliant some, in fact most, of Beardsley’s goals were.  He was just off the scale.  In fact I get a bit emotional even just thinking about some of his goals.
    I try to look at the Peter Beardsley from those days as a different person from the Peter Beardsley of now.  I think his days as a player means that we shouldn’t criticise him, or get angry when he toes the party line, but at the same time there’s no point denying the facts.  If Beardsley wasn’t currently employed by the club then obviously his comments would be different.
    As I say, Beardsley’s time(s) as a player means I could never bring myself to criticise him, but I also don’t want to rewrite the current facts, or pretend that the situation is something other than what it is.  Other people at the club make me angry, but with Beardsley I just accept the situation in a matter of fact, non-angry way, and basically just try to think of Beardsley the player, rather than any other Peter Beardsley.

  • dont believe the hype

    wor monga 
    You don’t seem like the most pleasant of chaps wor monga.

  • GToon

    There are different types of intelligence. Have a look at this website –> 
    I would also challenge anybody who thinks that they are as intelligent as Pedro in whatever field to prove that their mind can process information and function as quickly as his could. He could read a situation minutes before it happened, process that information and get his mind to instruct his body to react faster than those around him. He was kinesthetically excellent. Just because he didnt also excel at the other types of intelligence proves nothing. Do we question Einstein because he couldnt do a hundred kicks up or accept his intelligence lay elsehwere. You should also consider the fact that conversationally Pedro was extremely sharp too as footballers have to be. He had to read a situation and give direct, unambiguous instructions quickly to a teammate. Only the other day i heard some clown on 5Live saying footballers strengths didnt lie in linguistics. The guset made this slow laboured point in between a millions ums and arrs as he struggled to choose his words, under no apparent pressure. Amazing eh!! Having met Pedro recently i can also say he is a really decent bloke which i would also argue is a lot more important than how clever he is.

  • RexN

    It’s a great debating point and as with others, in my judgement he is the best player that I have ever seen consistently.

    I don’t know what else he could do for a living and recognise that players’ wages when he was around were not as high as they are now, so presume he needs some form of employment. As a coach, he is in a position to inspire the long term future of the club, preferably after Ashley has gone. From what I have seen, his Under 21s play to the same sort of system as the first team but with considerably more flair.It was not his fault that the previous manager only played the youngsters in a crisis or a cup. He seems to be a worthy successor to Tommy Craig’s heritage.

    That having been said, his comments come from a perspective that his quality of life would change considerably were he to have to find employment outside the region. I can understand why he has to make positive comments about the regime. Although I love my kids to bits, I would be a bad father if I didn’t point out where they may do things that I disapprove of. Similarly, it is perfectly understandable if anyone wants to disapprove of some of the things that Peter B has said.

  • Sickandtiredstill

    wor monga There’s a few who do it about players no longer with the club too (and they are posting here) . Works both ways.

  • Jarra MIck

    As many have said he is the best newcastle player I ever saw, and I started going in the early seventies. I agree he needs a job and who in their right mind would slag their employer off? Where I lose all sympathy and my hero worship of him is his aggressive defence of Ashley and his regime. Anyone who has been to the little [email protected] talk ins will know what I mean. I think we can all agree and cherish our memories of Beardsley the player as one of our best but I think the majority will agree he is now a little Cnut who I wouldn’t pi55 on if he was on fire!

  • Jarra MIck

    Aye 1957 but he doesn’t have to go out of his way to big up this bunch of cnuts. That’s what he’s done and no matter how good a player he was he is now an apologist for the worst bunch of cnuts to ever set foot inside our club and he should be ashamed of himself. I understand why people are trying to justify his actions but just like those trying to defend Ashley they are defending the indefensible.

  • DownUnderMag

    No Brainer DownUnderMag I don’t think those players are unfit now, but they have been training with the first team now for a long time.  When they all got games, none of them could last a full match, after 10 minutes Sammy was huffing and puffing.  
    Those clubs have all produced players, they may not play for those clubs any more but they have still produced them.

  • No Brainer

    Is this not a case of acclimatisation from reserves to pl first team? – often termed match fitness very few 19-21 year olds in tge pl these days

  • DavidDrape

    Jarra MIck u/stand where you are coming from with all this & agree again re talk ins but maybe the over riding factor was he wanted a job on his doorstep without having to move away & also the challenge/opportunity to work with youths/kids development but keeping his head down and saying nowt he would pssibily get away with but defending ashley i agree again i can’t accept.

  • DavidDrape

    Jarra MIck or was it he couldn’t turn the money down or he needed to keep the pennies rolling in about all else? maybe all his past earnings are tied up and he needed pocket money?

  • Albert27

    I cant believe what i am hearing? Everyone is entitled to their opinion but some of the comments about beardsley is disgusting. If any of you have met the man for autographs, a word or at the pitz – he is a finehumble honourable man. He loves being part of football and especially newcastle united. Do u think he likes our current plight? Its just disgusting. Have some respect for a good bloke and a toon god.

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