Football League Expert & Columnist
Valley of dreams
Peter Beagrie explains why he loved playing at Bradford and why MK Dons' promotion bid stalled.
Last Updated: 26/04/13 3:40pm
Peter Beagrie is here every week on skysports.com answering YOUR Football League questions.
The former winger, who played over 770 games, representing clubs in all four tiers of the English footballing pyramid, including Manchester City, Everton, Bradford, Sheffield United, Scunthorpe, and Grimsby, forms part of the Sky Sports punditry team for all the big matches in the Championship, League One and League Two.
So if you have a poser for Peter, whether it's about your team, a player, match or incident that has caught your eye, or a wider point on the Football League, make sure you send it in.
Read below for this week's column where Beags discusses his favourite League Two grounds, whether Brian McDermott can get Leeds firing, MK Dons and more...
Got a question for Beags? Send it in using the feedback form at the bottom of the page...
Hi Peter, What is your favourite current League Two ground? Thanks, Dean Rose (Barnet fan)
BEAGS SAYS: That is an easy one for me to answer, Dean, as I enjoyed brilliant times - and a promotion to the Premier League - at Bradford's Valley Parade. I was supposed to be in the twilight of my career but had an absolute ball taking on the megastars of the Premier League; Newcastle, Chelsea and Arsenal were all defeated, while the glorious 1-0 win against Liverpool on the last day of the 1999-2000 season, when we secured our Premier League status against all the odds, will live long in my memory. I also loved playing at Cheltenham and Exeter purely because of the quality of the playing surfaces; being a winger I relished running with the ball and to not have it bobbling around my knees was a bonus! Stadia and pitches have improved dramatically since I played, though, and there are few ramshackle cabbage patches remaining - but I won't name any to avoid embarrassing groundsmen who are not blessed with the tools or the weather to create the bowling greens footballers crave.
Hi Peter, Is Brian McDermott the right man to take Leeds United forward? Thanks, Tim Jackson (Leeds fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Hi Tim, I think for the first time in a long while Leeds have a manager that ticks the vast majority of boxes and, most importantly, has the backing of the United faithful. Whites fans have had reservations over previous appointments due to the men in the dugout having a lack of experience or links with Leeds' longstanding rivals, but with the right backing Brian can build a squad that will relish the pressure of playing at Elland Road. McDermott has an understated manner which helps with his man-management, while he is also a great coach, but does need to bring quality to the club and will only be able to do that by receiving the necessary financial assistance from board. I am looking forward to seeing how Leeds recruit over the summer so I can judge the level of ambition of the new custodians of the club. Fingers crossed United can mount a real challenge next year and keep hold of young Sam Byram, who has had a fantastic debut season and looks at home on the big stage.
FLUFFED THEIR LINES
Hi Peter, Why have MK Dons fallen out of promotion contention this season? Pete Hoskins (Blackpool fan)
BEAGS SAYS: Simple, Pete. They have not been ruthless enough in front of goal; there have been mitigating circumstances, like injuries to key players at key times, but when you dominate possession you have to have devilment when goal-scoring opportunities arrive. MK Dons haven't had that, something manager Karl Robinson, who is as honest as they come, has openly admitted and subsequently a team myself and many others thought would finish comfortably in the top six will end up well outside of it.
CAN THE ROBINS SOAR?
Hi Peter, How would you rate Bristol City's chances of securing an immediate return to the Championship? Alex Burrows (Bristol City fan))
BEAGS SAYS: I have to take many factors into account before I can be bold enough to answer your question, Alex. Bristol City have accrued £40million+ debt in the last four seasons trying to get out or stay in the Championship, while the club record loss of £14m this term will lead to the sale of your best players and a reduced recruitment budget next year. These are debilitating factors but not impossible to overcome, as Doncaster are aware; Rovers were in a similar position last season but now go into their final game of this campaign, at Brentford, with a chance of securing automatic promotion from League One. Sheffield United, perhaps a better comparison to City in terms of budget, gates and expectations, have found out how tough a challenge the third tier provides, but if the Robins, managed by Sean O'Driscoll (pictured) can keep the core of the side together they have players who are more than capable of adjusting to life in a lower division and, possibly, jumping straight back out of it. Good luck next season.
Hi Peter, Do you anticipate Ipswich being involved in the promotion race under Mick McCarthy next year? Thanks, Marcus Leitch (Ipswich fan)
BEAGS SAYS: If you look at the impact Big Mick has made since arriving at Portman Road some people could have the Tractor Boys as dark horses for promotion next season, but I think a realistic finish, and one that that would suggest progression, would be inside the top 10. There is a lot of work to be done on the infrastructure from the youth team upwards, but Mick's common-sense approach and no-nonsense style is just what the doctor ordered after a couple of managers were backed with massive investment but could not bring a return. Honesty and realism need to rule for a while but keep daring to dream, Marcus.