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Career ladder: Chris Beardsley

19 November 2012

Name:Chris Beardsley
Position: Striker
Date of Birth: 28/02/1984
Club: Preston North End
Previous Clubs: Mansfield Town, Worksop Town (loan), Doncaster Rovers, Kidderminster Harriers, Rushden and Diamonds, York City, Kettering Town, Stevenage.

What do you remember about your first ever match?
As a fan, I remember watching Derby County against Luton Town in what I think was the old First Division. I think Luton won it 3-2, and I believe the assistant manager at Preston North End now, John Dreyer, played for Luton that day. It was around 1988/89.

As a player, my debut was on December 28th 2002 away at Gateshead for Mansfield Town. I've got it on a shirt downstairs in my house, that's why I can remember the date.

Who was your childhood hero?
Paul Gascoigne. I was six when Italia '90 took place.

When did you realise you had a chance to progress in the game?
I went to Derby at 11 and I was there for five years, so I had a pretty good grounding. I suppose when I got to Mansfield I sort of had the realisation that if I could do well for the team, I had a good chance of becoming a professional.

Which coach has had the biggest influence on your career?
The gaffer at the minute [Graham Westley] has obviously been massive for me, he's signed me three times. In my early years, Stuart Watkiss at Mansfield gave me a wide chest and introduced me to the first-team squad, then signed me at Kidderminster Harriers as well. So they have both influenced me at different stages of my career.

What did you spend your first wage packet on?
It was probably just some clothes.

Does your squad number have a special meaning to you?
I was pretty successful with it at Stevenage so I've just kept it at Preston - number 20.

Who did you last swap shirts with?
When we played Tottenham twice in the FA Cup at Stevenage last year I got one in both games. I got Ryan Nelson's in one game and then Younes Kaboul's in the other. I gave the Nelson one to my mate who is a massive Spurs fan, then kept Kaboul's.

How has the game changed for the better since you became a pro?
I'd say the guidance the kids get has changed. When I started, 12 or 13 years ago, it was still about having a good drink on a Saturday night as a team, and doing the same on a Tuesday, and I suppose as a kid in that period you presumed that was the way to be a part of the first-team squad. Whereas now, kids are pushed away from that side of it and there's a lot more guidance on how to look after your body.

If you could have coached yourself when you were a teenager, what advice would you have passed on?
Don't leave anything to chance, don't leave anything in the locker, always put everything in each day. Don't have any regrets of falling short.

If you stay in the game at the end of your career, what will you do? a) Manager b) Coach c) Scout d) Physio e) Pundit?
I'm not sure. I've got my UEFA B coaching badge and I've done some coaching with some kids, which I loved. I've also got a media degree and I do enjoy that side of it. I'd love to stay in the game, and I'd be more than happy with them two roles. I think I'd like to stay hands on, though, I would want to be in and around the training ground.

What do you want to be best remembered for at the end of your career?
Just a player that you knew what you were going to get from.

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