In defence of Jermaine Beckford TSS November 11, 2009 Leeds United 27 Comments Before last nights JPT game myself and a few other Leeds United fans got chatting to some Grimsby fans over the threat Jermaine Beckford would cause their defence. Whilst I was adamant they needed to keep him under control if they were to stand any chance of getting a result, the other Leeds fans did nothing but put him down. The Grimsby Town fans couldn’t believe what they were hearing and met the Leeds fans replies with complete derision. Surely a striker with such an impressive goal-scoring record is always a threat? Apparently not if you listen to some of our fans. In a lot of ways, Jermaine Beckford has fallen to the same fate as Mark Viduka before him. Despite his impressive goal-scoring record, he’s not the kind of player that’s going to run around like a headless chicken trying to get the ball. Instead, he’ll make sure he’s in the right position for the other players on the team to supply him with the ammunition he needs. Indeed, Jermaine Beckford is very much the League One equivalent to our Premier League Aussie frontman. Whilst I too can get frustrated with Jermaine at times, his record speaks for itself. The ones who insist on putting him down aren’t going to change their opinion of him, but it’s no coincidence he’s scored the amount he has. When the teams playing well and he’s supplied adequately, he’ll produce the goods. I admit there are a lot of games where Jermaine misses more chances than he takes. The fact of the matter is though; he’s a League One striker for a reason – he isn’t Thierry Henry who presented with a one on one opportunity will seldom fail to convert. If Jermaine Beckford was to convert every opportunity he was given, then he’d probably have scored 100 goals this season. The reality is that no striker converts every opportunity they get. If they did, then what would be the point of a defence and a goalkeeper? I think the main reason Becks gets such criticism though is because of what we expect from our players. We expect hard-working, battling players that fight for every ball. The Billy Bremner, David Batty and Alan Smith’s of this world that we once idolised. Taking Alan Smith as an example, the lad was never the most naturally talented footballer. His goal-scoring record was hardly first rate either, but he worked hard and fought for everything – much like Lucciano Becchio today – so to the Leeds faithful, he was a hero that could do no wrong. Jermaine on the other hand doesn’t tend to track back and fight for the ball. He waits for his opportunities like most strikers do and is always a threat when they come. He gets the stick he does because when Leeds United aren’t playing well, we expect him to change a game and produce something special. Look at Millwall in the play-offs last season. I aren’t going to try and make out like Jermaine had a good game because he didn’t, but then neither did a lot of players within that team. The penalty was a terrible miss that no player will ever forget, but the two goals conceded were the main reason we didn’t go through. Jermaine was the usual easy target though and the one everyone pointed the finger at. The same happened at Wembley the year before. Did anyone have a good game that day? The entire team didn’t turn up, not just Jermaine. The team needs to work as a unit for players to be affective; there are very few players throughout the world that can change a game single-handedly. I guess the arguments come up again on account of the Newcastle United rumour. People are debating whether we can cope without him or not. Personally, I think he’s a valuable asset, but one player doesn’t make a team and we should be able to continue strongly without him. £5m (if true) is far too much to turn down for a player who looks unlikely to sign his contract. That said, I’d be sad to see him leave. He’s done brilliantly for Leeds and should always be remembered favourably. Before an argument takes place below this post let me just clarify my position. I aren’t saying Jermaine Beckford is perfect, but we are lucky to have him. He’s done well for the club during his time here and should be celebrated, not subjected to endless whining. Wherever his future lies, I wish him all the best and thank him for the memories he’s provided.