JAMES Beattie has revealed that he turned down offers from France, Greece and the Far East in the period before his move to Accrington Stanley as player-coach.
Beattie has been described as Stanley’s biggest ever signing after joining the Reds on Friday, linking up with his former Blackburn Rovers team-mate Leam Richardson at the Crown Ground.
The 34-year-old did not sign in time to feature in Saturday’s 4-2 home defeat to Northampton in League Two but started his coaching role at the game and is expected to make his playing debut against Edgar Davids’ Barnet at Underhill on Friday.
Beattie had been without a club since leaving Sheffield United in the summer and says he did not feel the offers he received were quite right for him, before being tempted to join Stanley by the opportunity of a role that also involved coaching.
“It was definitely a factor in me coming,” said the former Southampton, Everton and England striker.
“Obviously I’ve known Leam a long while and I’m happy to come and cast my eye over things and help in any way I can.
“But primarily I’m here to play and I don’t see my career playing wise ending for a few years yet.
“There are a lot of professionals out of work at this time mainly due to the economy, money issues at clubs and budgets.
“Sometimes you don’t expect to be in the situation but you find yourself in it.
“It has been frustrating, at times annoying, but it is what it is and you’ve got to just deal with it.
“I’m here now, and I’m ecstatic to be here and can’t wait to get started.”
And Beattie added that he has had plenty of offers to continue his career elsewhere since he left Sheffield United in the summer.
“I spoke to a few clubs,” he added. “There were a few offers that were there, offers from abroad, but I didn’t feel that was right at this stage of my career.
“There were offers from France, Greece and a couple from the Far East, but I don’t want that just yet.
“I know I’ve got a lot to offer still and the aim is to get on the pitch, help the team climb the league and try to help them in their development as footballers.
“The willingness and the ambition to play football is definitely still there, it’s still a massive part of my life.
“I’ve been given the opportunity and on top of that there’s the added responsibility with the coaching.
“It’s something that we spoke about at length. I know Leam and the staff are happy to have me here and I’m delighted be here.”
Beattie has joined Stanley on an initial deal until January, and both parties say they will consider extending his stay if things go well.
“Yes, that’s something we’ve talked about,” said Beattie, who watched form the sidelines as Stanley conceded three goals in nine minutes to let a 2-1 lead slip on Saturday as they were beaten 4-2 by Northampton at the Crown Ground.
“We’ll see how it goes and how everyone feels after seven weeks, and re-address it.
“We didn’t get off to the best start on Saturday but they’re a young bunch, they were gutted in the dressing room.
“That’s understandable but it’s good to see that they’re disappointed and they want to be better.
“It’s a totally different angle for myself to be a player-coach.
“If I see anything it’s just pointing it out to Leam and probably doing a bit of work with the strikers and trying to help them along.”
Beattie added that he had already been impressed with the potential at Stanley – both on and off the football pitch.
“It’s a good dressing room, there’s a good spirit there which is vitally important,” added the former England international who collected five caps for his country.
“I’ve been in some great dressing rooms myself and I know how important it is.
“I just want to try to contribute to that as well and any points I do see, I did that at half time on Saturday.
“At 2-1 when Boco scored I thought we were going to push on and get a couple more maybe but with being a young bunch the equaliser shell-shocked them a little bit.
“We sort of stood still for five or 10 minutes and I think it really hit them hard.
“We need to be able to get over disappointments very quickly on the football field because as you saw the game will just swallow you up.”