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Peter Beardsley sets a new standard

Kenny Dalglish bought John Barnes to Liverpool on 9th of July 1987 for £900,000. 8 days later Liverpool arranged Peter Beardsley's record transfer from Newcastle for £1.9 million. Peter eventually signed roughly a month later. As John Smith Liverpool's chairman at the time said: Peter is worth waiting for." and added: "This is the first time in the history of Liverpool - maybe in the history of any club - that two current England players have been signed in such quick succession."

Peter describes the events that led to his historic switch to Liverpool: "I still had twelve months of my contract to run and I was happy to honour it. There had been talk in the newspapers about various clubs such as Tottenham, Manchester United and even Real Madrid wanting to sign me but I never heard anything definite and thought nothing about it.

Then I heard Liverpool had made an offer. They had just sold Ian Rush to Juventus for £3.2 million and wanted to spend more than half of that on me. Newcastle called me to tell me they'd received the offer. Willie McFaul, the manager, told me that unless I agreed to sign a new three year contract with Newcastle, the club wanted me to go. I would have been happy to stay if the club had been ambitious and was intending to strengthen the team but there was no indication that Willie McFaul had any plans in that direction.

When things started to move Willie McFaul went on holiday. The club wouldn't let me speak to Liverpool until he returned and there was no-one who could give me details of the three year contract the club were apparently willing to offer.

Eventually I was given permission to talk to Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager, at what was supposed to be a secret rendezvous, a small hotel in Wigan. It only had six bedrooms and Kenny had booked one where we could talk in private along with both the Liverpool chairman and chief executive. Kenny was convinced that no-one would find us, but somehow the news leaked out and a couple of press men arrived. After Kenny gave the press the slip we were on our way to continue the negotiations in Southport.

I'd probably decided to sign for Liverpool even before I met Kenny Dalglish. Newcastle had made it clear they wanted me to go and no other club had come in with a firm offer. Kenny Dalglish wanted to sign good players and build a great team. A few weeks earlier Liverpool had bought John Barnes from Watford and I fancied the idea to play alongside him. They had also signed John Aldridge from Oxford and I knew he was a reliable goalscorer. They received a lot of money for Ian Rush but were prepared to spend it to achieve success. The talks went so smoothly that we agreed terms within an hour."

Beardsley made quite a contribution to his first season at Liverpool when the Reds destroyed the opposition with the attacking trio of Barnes, Beardsley and Aldridge. He scored 18 goals in 48 appearances and earned rave reviews all around. Rush arrived at Liverpool, but Beardsley was still a regular contributor to Liverpool's goalscoring. Beardsley's troubles at Liverpool started when Kenny Dalglish resigned and Graeme Souness took over. Beardsley regrets that his time at Liverpool ended way too early: "There was no way I would have asked to leave Liverpool, I was really enjoying my time there but Souness wanted me out."

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