Mills: The Best Player We've Ever Had
Sunday, 16th Sep 2018 20:48
Legendary Blues skipper Mick Mills has hailed his team-mate Kevin Beattie, who died earlier today aged 64, the club’s best ever player.
Mills captained Beattie throughout his time with Town as Sir Bobby Robson built a side which became a major force in domestic and European football.
“I think he’s the best player that we’ve ever had, certainly he was the best player that we had through that successful 70s/80s period,” Mills told TWTD.
“And pretty much I would argue with anybody that he’s been the best player that Ipswich Town Football Club has ever had.
“With what he had, he was awesome. He wasn’t a trickster, he didn’t have many clever tricks, he didn’t complicate the game at all, he just had that amazing speed, amazing strength, amazing power.
“He had a wonderful left foot and he just managed to put it all together in a very, very simplistic way, never complicated anything and was pretty unique. He was up there with the best, no question about it.
“And I think secondly, as a person, if ever there’s been anybody that’s been suited to a dressing room when you’re talking about banter and a group of fellas, then Beat was absolutely ideal for it.
“He would never be short of a word, he would always be involved in any tomfoolery going on. An absolutely ideal personality for a dressing room.”
Beattie had a special relationship with manager Robson, who treated him almost as if he was his son.
“I think he had to,” Mills reflected. “He was the right person at the right time for Kevin. I think we all suffered with loneliness when we first left home and went somewhere very, very strange and many miles away from home.
“But I think Kevin would have suffered more than most. He needed people, he needed somebody to be a guiding light for him and there’s no question that Sir Bobby was the man that took that up and I think both Bobby and Kevin appreciated what they did for one another.”
Beattie won only nine England caps but Mills believes the Carlisle-born defender would have made three figures but for the injury problems which blighted his career.
“He would have done, there’s no question about it,” he insisted. “Unfortunately there are a lot of people who without question are international standard and should be up there with the century makers.
“George Best maybe didn’t do as much as he should have internationally, but Kevin’s was really purely and simply down to injury, he couldn’t quite keep his body right for a long enough period.
“Had he stayed relatively injury free, there’s no question, he got his first cap in 1975 so he got in early and his talent has been recognised at international level, the opportunity was there for Kevin but unfortunately he wasn’t able to take it.
“If he had got in and stayed injury free, then nobody would have shifted him. He could have chosen his position, if he wanted to play left-side centre-back then he could have had that one, if he’d wanted to be the left-back he could have had that. He was good enough, there’s no question. He’s as good as there’s been really.”
Comparing Beattie to the current crop of England centre-halves, Mills said: “We’re just beginning to get together a successful national team and you look at the centre-backs there.
“Kyle Walker went as a full-back, John Stones as a centre-back figure, they talk about Harry Maguire now commanding a massive figure if he was to move from Leicester.
“No disrespect to Maguire, he’s a good player and he’s done really well for England, but Kevin is a different level altogether. So, if they were £50 million or £60 million, you can double that easily.”
Photo: Action Images
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