When Blackpool almost ended Beasant's Career

Last updated : 02 December 2006 By The Seasider

One of Wimbledon's famous sons Dave Beasant recalls some of the high's and lows of his well travelled early career.

In the space of 12 incredible months Dave Beasant had been through more than most players experience in a career.

The start of the greatest year of his life can be traced back to May 14, 1988 the day when he captained Wimbledon to FA Cup glory over Liverpool at Wembley. Within weeks of making history as the first ‘keeper to skipper a side at Wembley - and save a penalty in the process - he was re-writing the record books again.

When he joined Newcastle for £850,000 in 1988 he became the most expensive goalkeeper in British soccer history. Little more than six months later he was on the move again.

Joining Second Division Chelsea may have been seen as a gamble, but if it was it paid off in sensational fashion when he celebrated winning the championship and securing a prompt return to top flight action.

Amidst all that Beasant, who also earned two call-up's to the England squad, wrote another memorable chapter into one of soccer's great success stories.

When Chelsea visited The Hawthorns, home of West Brom, on April 8, 1989 Beasant became the only current player to have appeared at all 92 League grounds.

“In actual fact I've played at 93,” he points out, “I played at Newport's ground before they went out of the League and I also visited Scarborough's for a friendly after they'd clinched promotion to the Fourth Division in the summer of '87.”

The start of the greatest year of his life can be traced back to May 14, 1988
The start of the greatest year of his life can be traced back to May 14, 1988
Wimbledon's Plough Lane was the scene for his League debut - and a game against Blackpool he'll never forget. “We lost 2-1 and I had a nightmare,” he recalls.

“I let their winning goal in through my legs and, as I was only in the team for the suspended Ray Goddard, I remember thinking to myself well, that's the end of my career as a professional goalkeeper'.”

Of course, it wasn't and Beasant has gone on to play on every League ground. Technically speaking, however, he didn't get to play at Scunthorpe's new Glanford Park and Bristol Rovers' adopted home in Bath - Twerton Park.
“I did play on their old grounds so I'm sure that counts,” adds Beasant who lists White Hart Lane as his favourite ground, “Wimbledon always seemed to do well there and it was on Tottenham's ground that we beat Luton to reach the FA Cup Final.

“I was never that keen on Northampton's ground - there was never any atmosphere because the ground was too open with the cricket pitch on one side - and Maine Road always seems to have been a jinx venue for me.”

One of his funniest experiences on an away ground was at Hartlepool ‘many moons ago'.

I was used to having things thrown at me from the crowd - apple cares, hot dogs, that sort of thing - but that was the first time I'd had a Mars Bar hit me,” he recalls.

“For a laugh I picked it up, turned to thank the supporters and put it inside my glove bag...much to their amusement. I never thought any more of it until a few minutes later when I heard this huge roar - well as huge as they can make at Hartlepool - from behind the goal and when I looked round a little lad was rifling my glove bag.

“There was about £50 worth of gear in the bag, but all he wanted was the Mars Bar back. I couldn't believe it.”

He retired in 2004, at the age of 45. He is currently goalkeeping coach at Fulham and the Northern Ireland national football team.