Kevin Beattie: Calls for statue of 'sensational player'

Kevin Beattie Image copyright Mark Murphy
Image caption Kevin Beattie died suddenly on Sunday aged 64

Calls have been made for a permanent memorial to former England and Ipswich Town footballer Kevin Beattie.

Beattie, who was regarded as one of Ipswich's greatest players, died suddenly on Sunday aged 64.

The club already has statues of Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey outside its home ground, Portman Road.

Floral tributes to Beattie have been placed at the statue of Sir Bobby and there will be a minute's applause before Ipswich's game tonight.

Tributes to 'complete footballer'

Image copyright ITFC
Image caption Kevin Beattie started 296 games for Ipswich Town, scoring 32 goals
Image caption There are statues of Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey at the Portman Road ground

The Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times newspapers are leading the campaign for a statue to honour Beattie.

Brad Jones, editor of the newspapers, described him as a "sensational player" who "connected with the fans".

"Beattie was a man of the people and I think there'd be something quite nice about the fact that this is something driven by the fans," he said.

Mr Jones said there were "a lot of hurdles to get over" to put a statue in place, including funding the estimated cost of £100,000.

But he said: "There's enough of us who feel passionately enough about this to make this happen."

As first reported in the Ipswich Star, there has been strong support on a Facebook page called Give Kevin Beattie a Statue in Portman Road.

Image caption Floral tributes have been placed at the feet of the statue of Sir Bobby

Beattie died of a suspected heart attack at home early on Sunday, the day after broadcasting live for BBC Radio Suffolk.

"Beat" first arrived at Portman Road as a 15 year old and made his debut against Manchester United in 1972.

He went on to start in 296 games for the club, scoring 32 goals.

Beattie was a PFA Young Player of the Year, an FA Cup and Uefa Cup winner and won nine caps for England.

In addition to the minute's applause, players will wear black armbands during Ipswich's match against Brentford at Portman Road.

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