Kintore, Aberdeenshire born right or left back (he had long spells on either side) Andy Beattie began his football career with Inverurie Loco Works in 1932 where he established himself as an accomplished full back before attracting the interest of English First Division club Preston North End. They paid £135 for him in March 1935, Beattie making his Football League debut at West Bromwich Albion in May 1935. He didn’t appear again for their first team until September 1936, but later that season he featured in three of Preston’s FA Cup ties, including their semi final victory over West Bromwich Albion and the FA Cup Final at Wembley, when The Lilywhites were beaten 3-1 by Sunderland.
He was awarded his first cap for Scotland in a 3-1 victory over England at Hampden Park in front of a crowd of nearly 150,000 in April 1937, and went on to win a further 6 caps through to December 1938.
In 1937-38 he missed only one match as Preston again made the FA Cup Final, where they triumphed 1-0 over Huddersfield Town at Wembley, also finishing third in the League Championship. He was again an almost ever present in 1938-39 but his career was severely disrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. In spite of spending part of his military service abroad Beattie was also to gain a further five unofficial caps for Scotland during wartime internationals and appeared as a ‘guest’ player for several clubs. Most notably though he helped his own side Preston North End secure the 1940-41 double of the North Regional League Championship and the Wartime League Cup, which they won by beating Arsenal 2-1 in a replay after a 1-1 draw.
After the War he returned to Deepdale and played six times for them in the 1946 FA Cup competition, and then made 27 campaign appearances in the first post-war League season, 1946-47, before retiring in March 1947 to become secretary-manager of Third Division (North) club Barrow having scored 4 times in 147 appearances for Preston. Barrow had long been ‘also rans’ and in the 25 years since they joined the Football League and had already been forced to seek re-election five times, but Beattie’s arrival was to change all that. The 1946-47 season saw them finish 9th but Beattie was to create a local sensation by having his players report back for pre-season training a whole month before the new season’s start. The new team spirit he fostered paid rich dividends and, after beating Halifax Town 2-1 on Boxing Day, his Barrow team topped the table for the first time ever.
Beattie’s ‘Bluebirds’ would at last finish a creditable seventh and also experienced some FA Cup success along the way. A club record gate of 14,081 saw their 3-2 ‘derby’ victory over Carlisle United in the first round before a 1-0 success at non-League Runcorn set up an away tie at Chelsea in round three. Some 44,336 crammed into Stamford Bridge to see Beattie’s team lose 5-0, but the attendance is still the largest in front of which Barrow have ever played. Finally a third club record gate was achieved on Good Friday when 11,644 watched a 1-1 draw with Wrexham, their biggest ever crowd for a home League fixture.
Beattie then shocked Barrow when, only two weeks before the 1948-49 season was due to begin, he handed in his resignation following a dispute with the club Chairman. After the board refused to accept this, the Chairman and another director resigned and Beattie carried on, but his team began to slip down the table and attendances fell.
By the end of March 1949 he at last left the troubled Bluebirds to join Stockport County, also a Third Division (North) club, whom he transformed from a mid-table side into promotion challengers in late 1951-52 as they finished third. It was then that First Division Huddersfield Town approached Beattie and asked him to become their manager in April 1952. The Yorkshire club offered Beattie a reported salary of around £2,500 but despite his efforts to save the club from the drop he was simply too late. Huddersfield were relegated to Division Two for the first time in their history but Beattie, then one of the youngest managers in the Football League, and who had now nailed two lucky horseshoes to his office wall, was already planning ahead.
During the summer months he was to make three crucial signings. Full-back Ron Staniforth and utility player Tommy Cavanagh followed him across the Pennines from Stockport County, whilst inside forward Jimmy Watson came down from Motherwell to pep up the attack. Under Andy Beattie, Huddersfield Town performed strongly in Division Two; during 1952-53 Town and Sheffield United left the rest behind with United eventually pipping Town for the title by two points as both Yorkshire clubs gained promotion. Along the way Huddersfield had also recorded an 8-2 thrashing of Everton, a 6-0 beating of Barnsley, and 5-0 wins over Lincoln City and Southampton. The entire defence of Jack Wheeler, Ron Staniforth, Laurie Kelly, Bill McGarry, Don McEvoy and Len Quested played in every fixture, as did winger Vic Metcalfe, while 30 goal top scoring centre forward Jimmy Glazzard missed only one match as The Terriers gained an immediate return to the top flight.
Back in Division One, Beattie’s team then continued the charge despite being wracked by injury, and eventually finished in a very creditable third place in the League Championship. They were just two points behind runners up West Bromwich Albion and six behind champions Wolverhampton Wanderers. This remains Huddersfield’s highest finish in the Football League since World War Two, yet a decline was soon to set in. 1954-55 saw them slip down to 12th spot, despite a run to the FA Cup quarter finals, and Beattie offered to resign that August only to be persuaded to stay on. At this point Town appointed Bill Shankly to assist Beattie, the two men having been former team mates at Preston North End years earlier, but relegation was again around the corner.
Meantime Beattie became Scotland’s first manager in February 1954, although his brief tenure was something of a farce. In the middle of the 1954 World Cup held in Switzerland, Scotland’s first entry into the competition, he resigned after claiming his four-game stint with a squad of 13 players placed him in an impossible situation. Shortly afterwards they were hammered 7-0 by Uruguay and were knocked out of the tournament.
Huddersfield struggled in vain to avoid the drop in 1954-55, in a season that saw the emergence of future England World Cup winning full back Ray Wilson, and they succumbed to the inevitable ironically with Sheffield United, the side with whom they had been promoted three years before. Beattie resigned in November 1956 as he felt he had taken the team as far as he could. Bill Shankly was thus left in charge as Beattie sought out a new career as a sub-postmaster at Penwortham, Preston, where he could spend more time with his wife and four children.
However, football had been his life and in May 1958 he answered the call to manage Carlisle United, where he stayed until moving to top flight Nottingham Forest in March 1960. In March 1959 he was once again appointed Scotland manager, but resigned in November 1960 because of his commitments with Forest. He had three seasons at The City Ground, leaving in July 1963 before his next stop at Plymouth Argyle, where he was appointed manager in October 1963. There he helped stave off relegation from Division Two in 1963-64 but his next job was to end in disaster.
He was appointed caretaker manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers in November 1964, replacing Stan Cullis. The team were bottom of the table at this point, with just three points. Beattie was unable to halt their slump and the club dropped to the Second Division after 23 seasons in the top flight. He began the new season still at the helm but resigned after nine games, ending with a 9-3 thrashing at Southampton in September 1965.
After a stint scouting for Brentford, Beattie’s next port of call was Notts County, who made him ‘advisor’ to Peter Doherty in December 1965. In March 1967 County made him general manager where he remained until joining John Harris at Sheffield United as assistant manager in October 1967, and before retiring he also held coaching or scouting positions with both Walsall and Liverpool.