Football people on TV: Peter Beagrie

Date published: Saturday 27th August 2016 11:46

Johnny sits down to watch an obscure League Cup game and finds Middlesbrough’s tricky winger Peter Beagrie looking back at him. Is he Sky’s go-to man for punditry on matches that hardly anyone is watching?


Fashion police
Always looks mother-pleasingly well-turned out. The sort of chap who purchases pricey suits and shirts at a Harrogate independent menswear retailer for gentlemen who are not concerned with passing fads. Does like a strong blue jacket and those heavyweight bulletproof shirts. Though retired for ten years now, he hasn’t gone to seed but certainly fills a trouser by virtue of simply looking 30% wider than ten years ago.

Used to sport an 80s ‘tache. It wasn’t flattering and he sensibly dispensed with it many years ago. One of those men who got a haircut in 1983 and has stuck with it ever since. Very sensible; choice and change is overrated. Take that capitalism.

Peter Beagrie Eddie Howe

Head appears almost square, with a big jaw that looks like it could take stiff right uppercut and still come back throwing wild punches and swearing.

Has a hard-faced, black-eyed look, which makes him capable of doing a proper stare ‘n’ sneer, as this picture taken alongside Eddie Howe and his constant Championship companion, Simon Thomas well illustrates. Sub text: “I’m feckin’ ‘avin you, like.”


Lingo bingo
A native son of Middlesbrough, he still wears the accent like a heavy winter coat. Even his nickname, ‘Beags’, is perfect for the accent. “Owee Beags, man, say ‘am drinkin’ lager in me perple werk shert, mind it’s totally baltic like, so give us a croggie yer bike yer auld gadgee.”

Is quite the cunning linguist. According to @footballcliches he invented the word ‘ambifootrous’ which is a little bit of poetry in a grey world. We know what he means, and it sounds like it should exist as a word but is entirely fictional. Good works Mr Beags.

This Vine also suggests a propensity for malapropisms, especially if a malaprop is some sort of cocktail.


During the Accrington v Burnley game he said “someone needs to ‘light the litmus paper'”. Again, we know what he means. Sometimes greater truths can be reached by oblique language.


Hits and misses
Seems to have been Sky’s Football League man forever, always on hand to talk about a League Cup game involving maybe Shrewsbury or Grimsby, or a game between someone really good and someone rubbish managed by Neil Warnock, and seems happy to have made this his niche in broadcasting. Also has worked on Norway telly these past six years, which is wonderfully left-field.

Decent playing career as a nippy winger. Used to do back flips. Hopefully still can.

Misses include a very unpleasant nightclub incident; a textbook footballer does nightclub groping, topped off with spitting in someone’s face, which is literally the worse thing you can do, Jeff. Of course, he was caught wearing white (the colour detail is important) knickers over his jeans and weeing into a basin in a ladies toilet. This was perhaps the least of his crimes on this night out.

As this behaviour was probably a PFM induction test, it doesn’t seem to have hampered his career since. If this had happened recently, I doubt his punishment would have merely been 120 hours community service, fined £240 costs and a further £1,000. 1991 really was a long time ago but let’s not pretend any of this isn’t disgraceful, even if it was NFTN. Normal for the Nineties.

Fans of the Championship tend to be very pro-Beags. He’s just always there for us and he knows all those obscure players at clubs you don’t pay enough attention to. What I especially like about him is that he rates players in context. In other words if he says someone is excellent, he means in this context, not in the wider scheme of things. Also he has a nice habit of occasionally addressing the camera directly, mid-conversation. That gives the viewer the impression he’s talking directly to them.

Is also somewhat frowned upon by some Boro fans with long memories as he jumped ship in 1986 when the club went into liquidation. Maybe it was the thought of having to play at Hartlepool United’s ground that did it – still the only ground where I’ve heard a posh man wondering if the smell of Bovril was actually miso soup.


Big club bias
Spends his working life outside of the limelight. Also being from the Boro makes it impossible to be in thrall to the bright lights.

Seems to really love the lower leagues and that strongly suggests a man who likes, to use a hairdressing analogy, the roots rather than the highlights.


Loved or loathed
As I say, Beags leaving Middlesbrough in 1986 just as the club was going into liquidation has, though 30 years ago, left a bitter taste in some of the fans’ mouths. This may just be the Cameron’s Strongarm, though.

In all seriousness though, I don’t really understand these sorts of grudges held against someone for 30 years. 30 years! For God’s sake. There’s nothing to be gained by it and to those who want to hold a grudge, have you never done anything wrong or inappropriate in your whole life? I know you and I know you have.

There was a famous hippy fella who once said, he (I’m sure he meant ‘she’ as well) who is without sin, cast the first stone. So much more unites us than divides us, we should try to remember that at all times.

The notoriously woo-woo-hoo-hoo-my head-is-on-fire Nigel Pearson once furiously called him “an overpaid punter, he is clueless”, which may well be a badge of honour for any pundit.

Attracted much sympathy last year when his wife, Lynn, died of cancer after a five-year struggle. The torment of that, on every level, should neutralise any unpleasantness towards him. We are all mortal, we all bleed red.

Social media research was very interesting and mostly positive.

‘Somersaults n motorbikes.’

‘Seems to just love football. Love his linguistic aerobics. Seems like a nice sort of chap.’

‘If you cast him as a rugged copper who’s too quick with his fists in a crime drama, he wouldn’t seem out of place.’

‘He’s Mr Football League, and as such it’s impossible to imagine him standing anywhere other than next to Simon Thomas.’

‘Doesn’t carry much gravitas or conviction. Seems like a man found behind the burger van at the last minute.’

‘An absolute shithouse of a man. The way he’d tip anyone but Boro to get promoted. It’s almost as if he thinks we don’t like him.’

‘A great ambassador for the Boro accent, and manages to sound erudite and enthusiastic with it.’

‘It is probably fair to say he is a ‘divisive’ figure on Teesside.’

‘Have to have the subtitles on when he’s talking. Can’t understand a word.’ (philistine!)

‘No real opinion on him as a pundit – but he was my hero as a kid and I had a ‘Beagrie 11′ shirt as a nine-year-old.’

‘Apparently the punditry equivalent of ‘too good for the Championship, not good enough for the Premier League’.’

‘I once played in a 5-a-side tournament with him. Nice guy. Catchphrase was: ‘Give him the crooked finger!’ (Sub him off).’

‘Outstanding Teesside accent. doesn’t try to be a PFM but looks like he still gets respect from the other pundits.’

‘He says 100% a lot…which is definitely a good thing…100%’

‘Knows a hell of a lot about a lot of clubs. His wider-than-the-Tees accent means he’ll never sit at the big table though.’

‘Very knowledgeable about the lower leagues but his accent always sounds like he’s asking a question rather than stating a fact.’

‘Always sounds excitable even when criticising.’

‘He’s always there to offer good analysis and seems genuinely interested in every game regardless of who’s playing. Like him.’ (I’d totally agree with this)


Proper Football Man
Almost certainly already has access to the key card to the PFM Premier Inn double room of depravity with free mini-bar (is there anything more desperate and weird than the hotel mini-bar? Especially when the hotel is 30 yards from an off licence).

After all, he’s got two main qualifications for PFM status. First an unsavoury incident in a nightclub involving two lovely ladies, white underwear, pissing and spitting. Mmm, white underwear. Secondly this quite extraordinary bantzathon, as documented in The Guardian.

‘While on Everton’s 1991 pre-season tour of Spain, Beagrie went on a boozy night out following a game with Real Sociedad. In the early hours he flagged down a Spanish motorcyclist who gave him a lift home. Upon arriving at his hotel he couldn’t wake the night porter, so Beagrie commandeered the bemused Spaniard’s bike, rode it up the hotel steps and straight through a plate glass window. Only it was the wrong hotel. Beagrie required 50 stitches.’

50 stitches!! Yes! Get in! This is Premier League class team-bonding – the fact most of it is illegal is only a sign of how PC and namby-pamby the world is. Just a bit of fun, officer. Here’s a couple of season tickets.

Beags is also a top, top, top nickname. One so good that we need never refer to you by your birth name ever. We like that a lot, because, for some reason, using a man’s actual name makes us feel gay.

His Twitter account reveals he joined in August 2013, made two Tweets and absolutely none since. Mmm, lovely. That’s the kind of relationship to social media every PFM loves, not least because having to say the word Twitter makes them feel like someone they would certainly call a nancy boy.

Obviously, it would have been better if he’d been a centre-half rather than a winger with a propensity for backflips. Who do you think you are Beags, Nils Lofgren? What do you mean who’s Nils Lofgren, Disco Pards?

The PFMs are against such outlandish celebrations as backflips because showing any joy or positive emotion dilutes the limitless well of paranoia and bitterness that lives in the soul of every one of them.

Given your intoxicated antics, Beags, you’ll not be afraid of a few pints of Reidy’s new sodium pentathol, soda crystals and cream soda shandy. Delicious. And it leaves your body clean both physically and psychically.

A night on the tiles at upmarket Harrogate hot spot ‘Posh C**t’ shouldn’t be out of bounds either. After all, that’s where you’ll find Miss Pig Iron Body of 1988 and she’s so hot, she’s molten. Put your bottle of Hi-Karate down, Pards, Beags is steaming in there. Oh no, he’s doing back flips. Have a word Deano and stop using TC as ventriloquist puppet, you know it makes his eyes water. You’ve gone too far now.

PFM application approved.


Beyond the lighted stage
A man who definitely pulls his weight in the charity football obligation stakes. Seems unlikely to be doing the rounds at modern art galleries, or taking a guided tour of Fountains Abbey. In short, personal life is a mystery but must surely involve watching football in pubs and drinking lager.


John Nicholson

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