IT has been quite a season for Kendal Town’s influential midfield man Warren Beattie – a return to his spiritual home, a problematic knee injury and now the captain’s armband.
The 27-year-old began his third stint at Parkside Road in the 5-0 hammering of Wakefield back in September, making 14 appearances and scoring two goals since.
His homecoming was interrupted by a medial knee ligament injury sustained against league leaders Warrington Town in mid-October, subsequently missing 11 games which coincided with the Mintcakes losing form.
Often in the eye of the storm, Beattie made a goalscoring return to action before Christmas with his resurgence rubber-stamped in January when he replaced Danny Coid as the on-field general.
Having captained Preston North End Reserves as well as Lee Ashcroft’s Kendal in previous years, he is relieved to be back playing and proud to lead the team out.
“I have played for Kendal twice before and had good spells so I was always happy to return,” he said.
“I love the club and the people that work for it. I really enjoy playing here so it was an easy decision to come back.
“The injury was frustrating as we were doing really well at the time, in and around the play-offs, but then I found myself out for something like ten weeks.
“I worked with the medical team at Kendal and did a lot of rehab work. I was itching to get back and thought I was close after seven weeks but came back a little too soon.
“I rushed it and that set me back but I’m glad to get back playing. I didn’t lose too much fitness so was back into the thick of things pretty much straight away.
“It’s also good to have the responsibility of captaincy, that’s something I enjoy, and I appreciate Fozzie (Dave Foster) and Stringy (Michael Stringfellow) seeing me as a leader.”
Beattie has played for several non-league clubs since leaving hometown club Preston in 2005, including Bamber Bridge, AFC Fylde, Ashton United and Northwich Victoria.
And while the combative midfielder wishes life in professional football could have lasted longer, he retains fond memories of his time at Deepdale.
“To be honest injuries at the time didn’t really help me and I’m not making excuses but Billy Davies was there when I signed a professional contract,” he added.
“He then left straight away and I had to try and impress Paul Simpson who didn’t seem to have too much faith in the young lads in fairness.
“But I was there for ten years and in full-time football for four or five of those which is a dream for a lot of young lads so at least I got that chance, a lot don’t.
“I’m proud of what I achieved at Preston – I was captain of the reserves for two and a half years and made the bench for the first-team and travelled with them quite a lot.
“At one stage I thought I was going to make an appearance in an FA Cup fifth round tie against Crystal Palace when Paul McKenna went down injured and was told to warm-up.
“But just to be around the likes of David Nugent, McKenna and Graham Alexander was an absolute privilege.”
After falling out of professional football, America was a potential destination although Beattie finally made it abroad in 2011 when he headed Down Under with his family.
A nine-month spell with Perth side Armadale Soccer Club followed, with Beattie now helping young footballers tread a similar pathway.
“I left Preston and was playing semi-professional football, working long hours and went over to Australia for a lifestyle change more than anything,” he said.
“The initial plan was to play semi-professional football and try and land a deal in the A-league.
“If anything had come of it I would have stayed but I needed sponsorship from the company I was working for at the time and that was hard to get.
“I work as a delivery driver but also as a part-time football consultant now, helping young players play abroad.
“We work with coaches in America and look to get scholarships for young lads. We also get them doing what I did, going to clubs who then find them work.”
The full-time game may well be a ship which has sailed for Beattie, although Kendal’s engine room is now all the better for his presence and ever-increasing influence.
“I’m realistic and a grafter now, I concentrate on work and playing for Kendal,” he concluded.