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James Beattie

Squad number 9
Position Striker
Date Joined 4 January 2005
Joined from Southampton
Signed by David Moyes
Transfer fee £6M
Debut v Plymouth (A)
8 January 2005
Contract duration 4½ years
Contract expires June 2009
Final (sub) v Chelsea (A)
 13 May 2007
Left Everton 5 August 2007
Destination Sheffield Utd
Transfer fee £4M
Born Lancaster, Lancashire
Date of birth 27 February 1978
Height 6 ft 1 in
Nickname(s) Beatts, BT
Honours England international

Once knew where goal was
Lacks pace
Prone to putting on weight

Soccerbase Datafile

When James Beattie was signed in January 2005, Everton had had their best start to a season since 1985, holding on to third place up until Christmas, only to briefly climb to second before slipping down to fourth by the New Year.  It was enough to make Everton an attractive proposition for James Beattie, the Southampton striker who was much sought-after by Aston Villa after he faded somewhat from the England scene.

David Moyes secured Beattie's signature as his first move in the January 2005 transfer window, the £6½M deal beating the £5¾M paid for Nick Barmby almost a decade before and was, at the time, a new club record.

The price seemed a little excessive in today's revisionist market, but may have signaled a disaffection with the significantly cheaper foreign players who represent something of a risk, as we know to our cost!

But enthusiasm for the new face was tempered by wisdom that asked: "Would he fit in with the current team?  Would he force Moyes to abandon the 4-5-1 formation?  Would he actually score the goals we need?"

David Moyes clearly had no worries... although some of the allusions used in his welcoming speech awaited verification:

"This club has had a string of great centre-forwards and James for me is a mix of Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray all in one.  If he can be that — and everybody knows how good they were for this club — then we will have a great player.  I believe he can be that sort of player.  He can operate on his own up front and he can play in a partnership.  He is hard working and good in the air, and the goals he has scored in recent years shows he is among the very best".

"We hope he can be a new talisman [argh!] here.  We have signed him for the right reasons.  He is a big step for us in trying to catch the really big clubs we find ourselves rubbing shoulders with at the moment."

Southampton received about £4.8M for Beattie, who  signed from Blackburn six years ago in a deal worth £1M.  A proportion of the remainder of the fee went to Blackburn as part of a sell-on clause and Beattie also received a £1M cut.

It was during his time at Southampton that James really came to national prominence when he scored 20-odd Premiership goals and earned a call-up to the full England squad. Injury restricted his appearances at the St Mary's before Moyes came looking for a solution to his goalscoring problems.

Moyes elected to blood Beattie at the first opportunity, at Plymouth in the FA Cup, despite his lack of match fitness, and he rewarded everyone by playing Osman back in for the opening goal.  But his start to life at Goodison was spotty at best, although he did score a couple of goals, including one against his old club at Southampton.

Then, just eight minutes in to a massive game against Chelsea, came a bizarre and inexplicable moment of madness.  Blocked by Gallas when chasing a lost ball, he first ran into and then blatantly head-butted the Chelsea defender.  Red card; three-game ban, and a huge debt accrued to Everton and to the fans....

And Beattie failed to repay that debt on his return, tweaking his medial ligaments in training and spending another three weeks or so on the sidelines.  The much-heralded six-million pound man was turning into a laughing stock, as much for his weight as his absence through suspension and injury.

What made matters worse for Beattie was his unsuitability to the 4-5-1 formation favoured by Moyes, a fact that appeared to be glaringly obvious to everyone except Moyes himself. His aerial prowess and lack of pace served only to perpetuate the long-ball style usually reserved for Duncan Ferguson but his lack of pace. 

So it was no surprise that the lack of service from midfield that characterised the Blues' abysmal start to the 2005/06 and their depressing elimnination from both the Champions League and UEFA Cup at the first hurdles mean that Beattie was unable to live up to his pre-season promises.

Everton managed a pathetic 34 league goals that season — the lowest ever in their entire history.  Beattie scored 10 of them and, on the evidence of the second half of the campaign, when he finally looked to be settling into life at Goodison he would have scored more with better supply.

During the team's best spell of the season between January and mid-March 2006, scored six times, two of them exquisite efforts that offered glimpses of what he really is capable of.

When the squad numbers were released for the 2006-07 season, Beattie was honoured with the coveted and famous Number 9 and it would be interesting to see if having close friend Andy Johnson as a foil up front will enable him to live up it.

Sadly, the answer was a resounding "No".  Despite great faith expressed in him by his manager, Beattie simply failed to deliver and his appearances became more inept as the season progressed.  By the spring, with McFadden and Cahill both injured, and despite being talked up by everyone from the manager down, he finally slipped behind both upcoming youngsters Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan in the pecking order.

It was widely expected that he would be shipped out in the Summer of 2007 but he somewhat surprisingly retained the No 9 shirt and the confidence of his ever-hopeful manager until just before the first game of the new season.  Then, in stepped Bryan Robson (a fine judge of player if ever there was one... *ahem*) and a bid for a cool 4M... DONE!

By any measure, Beattie had been poor for much longer than his last season at Goodison.  Honoured with the coveted Number 9 shirt, he did not do it proud, despite the claims of some that he "worked hard" and "ran his arse off".  Yes but his job was to score goals! 

His explanation, however, simply defied belief: "Last season was a bit of a nightmare.  If the manager doesn't fancy you any more you get frozen out and that's what happened to me."  Errm... 35 appearances and two goals from the penalty spot.  Nothing to do with the manager, James; all down to you.  Buck your bloody ideas up or ship out!

By Michael Kenrick,
Last updated August 2007

Everton Career
Season Squad
Apps (sub)
Apps (sub)
Apps (sub)
7 (4)
2 (0)
9 (4)
29 (3)
4 (1)
33 (4)
15 (18)
1 (1)
16 (19)
51 (25)
7 (2)
58 (27)

Prior Club Record
Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
1996-1998 Blackburn Rvrs 1(3) + 2(2) 0 + 0
1998-2004 Southampton 161(41) + 27(4) 68 + 8


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