James Beattie enjoyed a glittering career, and the Lancashire-based striker is still considered as one of the more ‘underrated’ players in the early days of the Premier League. After spells at Blackburn Rovers, Southampton, Everton, Sheffield United, Stoke City and Rangers, Beattie managed to rack up 443 appearances, finding the net on 131 occasions.
So, where did it all start for James Beattie?
Born in Lancaster, Lancashire, Beattie came through the ranks at Ewood Park, and Beattie eventually went on to sign professionally for Blackburn Rovers in 1995 following Rovers’ Premier League success. When Beattie first joined the club, he joined as a trainee after impressing during his time on the Blackburn Schools team.
In terms of Beattie’s career at senior level, James made his first-team debut for the Lancashire-based side in October 1996, in a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at Ewood Park. In a ‘frustrating’ two-year spell, Beattie made just seven first-team appearances, and failed to get on the scoresheet during his time at Ewood Park, before he was transferred to Southampton at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.
In the Summer of 1998, Beattie joined Southampton, valued at £1 million. As part of the deal, Kevin Davies (pictured above) made the switch to Ewood Park from Southampton in a £7 million move. Beattie’s initial impact was delayed due to a series of injuries, but in November 2000, Beattie produced a staggering run of form.
After 18 months without finding the net in a frustrating period, Beattie produced ten goals in ten matches, lifting ‘The Saints’ into a comfortable position in the Premier League table. However, after that initial red-hot run of form, the goals ‘dried up’ a little for Beattie as he found the net just twice during the remainder of the campaign.
In March 01′, Beattie was awarded a new four-year contract by Southampton. However, the goals dried up for James as he failed to find the net in 17 consecutive matches. But despite the loss of form, Beattie remained focused and confident in his ability. In September, Beattie returned to form as he found the net 14 times, despite a two-month spell on the sidelines due to injury which he sustained against Manchester United in January 02′.
During the 02/03 campaign, Beattie enjoyed his breakthrough season in the Premier League, and established himself as an elite Premier League footballer. Beattie managed to find the net on 23 occasions as he finished the campaign as the third-highest Premiership goalscorer and the highest English goalscorer for that particular season.
Beattie’s fine run of form helped to guide Southampton to the 2003 F.A Cup final, despite a 1-0 loss to Arsenal at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Beattie’s run at Southampton eventually came to an end in January 2005 as he joined Everton for a £6 million transfer fee. During Beattie’s time at Southampton, he found the net a total of 68 times in 204 appearances for the club.
In the early stages of Beattie’s career at Goodison Park, the Lancastrian found it difficult to adjust to life at Everton, and in only his fifth appearance for the club, he was sent-off for a headbutt on Chelsea’s William Gallas, leading to an automatic three-game suspension.
During the 05/06 campaign, Beattie ‘found his feet’ at Goodison Park, as he finished the season as Everton’s top-scorer, with ten goals in the Premier League and one in a 2-1 home defeat to Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stage.
In the 06/07 campaign, Beattie found it difficult to get consistent game-time under Everton boss David Moyes. Beattie made 33 Premier League appearances during the season, but 18 of those appearances came from off-the-bench, and managed to score just twice.
After being out of favour at Goodison Park, it was reported that former-club Blackburn Rovers were interested in securing his services, but it was Sheffield United that managed to secure the services of the Lancastrian striker.
In August 2007, Beattie joined the Blades in a £4 million move from Everton, this being the biggest transfer fee ever paid by Sheffield United at that time. Beattie got off to a flying start to life at Bramall Lane as he found the net on his Championship debut against Colchester United. Beattie continued in fine form, scoring on a regular basis, and he was named Championship ‘Player of the Month’ for August/September.
Beattie found the net on 22 occasions throughout the 07/08 campaign. This made him the second-highest goalscorer in the division, alongside former Southampton teammate Kevin Phillips of West Bromwich Albion. At the end of the campaign, Beattie was named the Blades’ ‘Player of the Year’.
In the 08/09 season, Beattie continued his strong form as he netted 12 goals before the turn of the year. But, with the Yorkshire club trying to reduce costs, Beattie made a return to the Premier League in January 09′ as he made the switch to Stoke City for a £3.5 million fee.
Beattie made a strong start to life at Stoke City, scoring his first goal for the club in a 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Beattie went on to score seven goals, helping Stoke retain their place in the Premier League. In the 09/10 campaign, things didn’t start too well for James, a number of injuries hampered his pre-season training, and he left the field of play against Chelsea after just ten minutes.
With fears of a suspected broken ankle, X-rays revealed ankle ligament damage. Beattie made a full recovery, and won his place back in the team, surprisingly at the expense of a resurgent Dave Kitson, and Beattie returned to scoring ways by October. However, a reported ‘altercation’ between Beattie and Tony Pulis resulted in the striker falling out of favour at the club.
After falling out of favour at Stoke city, Beattie signed a two-year deal at Ibrox. The signing of Beattie became the club’s first permanent signing in two years due to financial constraints. The striker made his debut for Rangers immediately, playing in their opening Scottish Premier League fixture against Kilmarnock.
Beattie didn’t feature too much for the Scottish side, and was restricted to just five league starts in the first half of the campaign, due to injuries and loss of form. Unable to hold down a place in the team, Beattie was allowed to join Blackpool on loan for the remainder of the season.
Beattie made his full debut for Blackpool during a 5-3 defeat to his old club Everton, and went on to make nine appearances for the club, but he failed to find the net as the sunk to relegation from the Premier League. In the summer of 2011, Rangers terminated Beattie’s contract.
Beattie joined League Two outfit Accrington Stanley on 9 November 2012 in a player/coach role. Joe made his debut on 16 November, when he came on as a 79th-minute substitute for Will Hatfield in a 1-1 draw away at Barnet. On 20 November, Beattie scored a 9th-minute penalty in Stanley’s 3-1 win away at Fleetwood Town. Following the departure of manager Leam Richardson, Beattie expressed an interest in taking the position.
Beattie earned his first senior England cap in a friendly against Australia, during his most successful season with Southampton in 2003. Australia went on to win 3-1, and Beattie played the entirety of the first-half, before being replaced by Francis Jeffers. Beattie’s brief International career came an unfortunate end as England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson opted to choose Emile Heskey over Beattie, despite Heskey having scored five goals fewer then Beattie in the previous campaign.
In May 2013, Beattie was appointed Accrington Stanley‘s new manager replacing Leam Richardson, but after 16 months in the role, Beattie left the club by mutual consent.
In June 2015, Beattie was appointed first-team coach at Premier League club Swansea City, coaching the team’s forwards. He joined former teammate Garry Monk’s coaching staff. In December 2015, following monk’s dismissal, Beattie left the club alongside Pep Clotet and Kristian O’Leary.
On 1 July 2016, Beattie rejoined Clotet and Monk at Championship club Leeds United as first-team coach. Leeds finished seventh in the Championship during the 16/17 season, and Beattie played a large part. In May 2017, Monk resigned as Leeds United manager, leaving behind his backroom staff.
In June 2017, Beattie followed Garry Monk once more, this time to newly-relegated Championship side Middlesbrough as a first-team coach. On 23 December, he was sacked along with Garry Monk.
Beattie was appointed first-team coach of Championship side Birmingham City when Garry Monk took over as manager on 4 March 2018. The Blues finished the 2018/19 campaign in 17th position, but Monk and Beattie’s side have made a promising start to the 2019/20 campaign, picking up four points in their first two matches.