Call to Action

Peter Beardsley and the Newcastle United failure to safeguard young players

Peter Beardsley is one of Newcastle’s finest ever players.

Over two spells at the club he made 321 appearances and scored 117 goals. His legendary status was secured long ago.

He went on to work at the club in a number of coaching roles, most recently as head coach of our under 23 team.

Many Newcastle fans were surprised to learn that Beardsley had been accused of racist comments while coaching at the club.

Newcastle United never announced the outcome of their own investigation but his contract was eventually terminated. Beardsley continued to insist that he was innocent but he was banned from all football related activity for 32 weeks after the FA found him guilty of acts of racist discrimination.

The panel found that Beardsley had used the word ‘monkey’ to describe a player of African origin and told black players “you should be used to that” on a team‑building trip to the outdoor adventure park Go Ape. He was also found to have questioned the legitimacy of an African player’s age.

I was shocked to learn what Beardsley was charged with saying and this certainly raises many questions about safeguarding procedures at the club.

Why did the club not reveal the details of their own internal investigation and why did it take them so long to announce that Beardsley had left the club? The club will no doubt remain silent as it always does.

Peter Beardsley claimed that suitable training was not provided by the club. This is not really acceptable anymore as charities such as ‘’Kick it Out’ and ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ have been campaigning against racial discrimination for a number of years now and provide extensive training courses.

I also worry that Beardsley felt his legendary status at the club meant that he would not be held to account for his actions. We have seen several examples at various clubs where young players were concerned about reporting bullying and harassment as they were fearful about implications for their career.

We have seen this happen in other industries too and it is alarming that so many people have been able to use their power and influence to get away with these abuses.

Newcastle United urgently needs to review its safeguarding procedures. It is not acceptable that this was allowed to happen and it must never be allowed to happen again.

You can follow Kieran on Twitter @KJR90


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