That was the weekend that was: Beardsley repays old friend Tait

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The Independent Online
THE FORMER England international Peter Beardsley, having marked his debut for lowly Hartlepool United with a spectacular goal, will be 38 on 18 January - but believes he still has another two or three years in him as a player.

"The gaffer here, Mick Tait, told me he was 41 when he packed in, so I reckon I've got a few years left," Beardsley said.

Beardsley, whose most recent football has been for Fulham after finding himself frozen out at Bolton, turned down a chance to rejoin his first club, Carlisle United, in order to sign for Hartlepool but revealed it was a Brunton Park connection that made up his mind.

"I've owed Mick a favour for 20 years," Beardsley said. "He was at Carlisle when I was there as an 18-year-old and he really helped me and took me under his wing. This is a way of repaying the debt and showing my gratitude."

It took him only 18 minutes to do so, treating the biggest crowd of the season at Victoria Park to a scintillating volley from 20 yards when a clearance fell nicely for his left foot. Hartlepool failed to win but a 2-2 draw with promotionchasing Cambridge United was a creditable result after five straight defeats, and chairman Ken Hodcraft reckons Beardsley could spark a revival in the club's fortunes.

"He has signed for six months initially, but if he is happy we may be looking to keep him beyond the end of this season," Hodcraft said.