Rob Finch on 21 September 2018
Kevin Beattie very much regretted not receiving a medal for Ipswich’s Uefa Cup final win in 1981. He had played in most of the earlier rounds and was an instrumental figure in dumping the much-fancied St Étienne side, containing Michel Platini, out of the competition 7-2 on aggregate.
By the time the final came, Kevin was not even allowed on the bench, as he had broken his arm in an FA Cup semi-final – a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City, a few days earlier. Because he was wearing a cast, rules dictated that he was not permitted to sit on the bench, so he never got a medal, as only the starting XI plus substitutes qualified.
Listening to Kevin’s sadness about those circumstances as I worked on a biography of him (The Greatest Footballer England Never Had – the Kevin Beattie Story), I started a petition to get him a medal. Eventually this led to Kevin receiving a medal at half-time during the 2008 Uefa Cup final. Platini, by then president of Uefa, made the presentation.
It was a terrific night and Platini and Kevin spoke for quite a while afterwards. It was clear that he had great respect for Kevin, as well as for the Ipswich side of that era. It was a nice interlude in what was an often difficult life.