Not all heroes wear capes and the arrival of Mark Beard during the early stage of the 2006-7 season was great business by Boro’. The closure of the summer window didn’t stop gaffer Mark Stimson from getting his man; the midfielder out of contract and without a club at the time. In joining us, he brought much needed grit and experience to the middle of the park. Life under Stimmo had got off to a slow start, but Beard’s signature – like a couple of others after the season got underway – had the ship moving in the right direction.
The deal came about after Beard, who had left Southend United at the end of the previous season, asked his brother to ring around clubs. At the time, the player was out in Spain doing some coaching – but was looking to get back into the groove. Stimmo was a man he knew from their time together with the Shrimpers. A one-week trial was a success and the midfielder even agreed to play “for nothing” when he first arrived. He’d be (surprisingly) let go at the end of the season – but not before collecting his FA Trophy winners’ medal.
Mark Beard: After Boro’
Beard started to get off-the-field roles after leaving in summer 2007. His wisdom and experience helped to land the assistant manager’s role at St Albans City under another Boro’ old boy: Ritchie Hanlon. A year later, he moved to Cyprus to take up a coaching role. But he’d be back in England soon enough; signing for AFC AFC Wimbledon as a player and contributing towards the Dons’ Blue Square South title win. He ended his playing days at Haywards Heath Town, although did feature for Tooting & Mitcham United when boss there.
The midfielder is now firmly into coaching and, as of July 2023, was manager of Eastbourne Borough.