I said before todays game that I hoped Jermaine Beckford would be the one grabbing Sunday mornings headlines rather than Rickie Lambert. Whilst my wish came true, the reasons he’ll be grabbing the headlines aren’t quite what I had in mind.

When taken off as a substitute today in place of Max Gradel, Becks threw the kind of tantrum that makes him so hard to like for many Leeds United fans. Clearly annoyed at seeing his name go up, Beckford left the pitch as slowly as possible, which led to boo’s from the Kop and around Elland Road. Jonny Howson encouraged Beckford to come off with him (as he was also being substituted) but the strikers teddy had long since left the cot and he continued his snail-paced walk to the touchline. Once there, he decided to head straight for the tunnel rather than join his fellow team-mates on the bench, no doubt leaving Elland Road straight afterwards.

When Beckford’s number originally came up, it was met with a cheer from the Leeds fans, but also encouragement for the striker with his name being chanted from the stands. Once the fans had realised he’d thrown a strop however, the mood changed and the crowd turned totally against him.

Simon Grayson was right to remove the striker. He’d not had a bad game, but nothing had fallen for him throughout and he’d struggled for decent chances. In fairness to Becks, what he had done, he’d done well. He’d passed the ball, chased it a bit and worked much harder than he often does. However, he was clearly getting agitated at some of the referee’s decisions (as we all were) and it seemed obvious it wasn’t to be his day.

Regardless of how frustrated he may be lately, his attitude is inexcusable and shouldn’t be tolerated. The Leeds fans made their feelings known with a chorus of ‘there’s only one Simon Grayson’ as Becks sulked his way off down the tunnel. It’s a team game and these kind of selfish actions won’t win you any fans at Elland Road, no matter how many goals you contribute a season.

Beckford’s behaviour will no doubt grab the headlines in League One tomorrow morning, but it shouldn’t detract from what was a much improved performance from Leeds United. With Patrick Kisnorbo alongside Richard Naylor, Rickie Lambert and co. struggled for opportunities throughout. Aside from a few nervy moments in injury time, Kis was always on hand to clear the danger and Southampton were kept at bay throughout.

Attack-wise, Leeds were also good. There were some stray crosses and a few broken down moves with bad passing, but on the whole we dominated and looked good going forward. Becchio played a blinder, holding the ball up when needed, playing people in and fighting to win it back in the opposition half. Although he deserves all the criticism he’ll get over the coming days, Beckford played his part too. He had a couple of half-chances, but what did impress me was his willingness to chase the ball and play others in. He can be very lazy sometimes, but he wasn’t guilty of that today.

What Leeds did best today though was closing down all over the park. Southampton were very rarely given any time on the ball. Whether it was a striker on the edge of the area or the goal-keeper trying to kick it up field, there was always someone in a white shirt moving in to put pressure on or stick a foot in and ultimately, that’s what made the difference.

After Beckford had finally left the pitch and Grayson’s changes were put in place, you started to feel we were going to snatch a winner and Leeds didn’t disappoint. It was Robert Snodgrass who got us the three points with one of the most beautifully struck goals you’ll see this season. Twisting and turning to create space outside the area, Snoddy found an opening and let fly, curling it in to the top corner from distance. A wonderful goal from the Scot and a well deserved three points for the Whites.

TSS man of the match
A coin flip between Lucciano Becchio and Patrick Kisnorbo for me. Both players did exceptionally well today. Kis is like a rock in defence and the difference he makes is remarkable, whilst Becchio put in a fantastic shift, creating chances, holding the ball up and battling for everything.

Leeds have now reached the half-century mark in terms of points and extend their lead at the top to four after Charlton drew 4-4 with Millwall. We don’t play again now until Boxing Day which means we’ll be topping League One at Christmas. A great early present from the Whites. Whether Jermaine Beckford will play again in a Leeds shirt is the topic of TSS’ latest poll (below). After todays antics, I’m not convinced but let’s focus on the positives. Happy Christmas everyone.

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  • Grumpy Older Man

    The Beckford situation will come out in the wash, could be serious, could be forgotten Monday. I’m just pleased we won without/in spite of him and thus hopefully kill off the “without him we are nothing” mentality.

    Is this a good time to point out yet another clean sheet with Casper in goal?

    • TSS

      I know, the man baffles me. Whilst he’s probably amongst the best shot-stoppers outside the Prem, his errors really should be punished. I’d be more confident with Higgs back either way.

      Defensively, I think you have to give more credit to Kisnorbo, Naylor, Doyle and even Howson for nullifying the opposition as much as you do Casper. We were all over Southampton today and aside from the late flurry of corners, they never looked like scoring and never had any decent chances.

      Not so sure with Beckford. Grayson has a bit of a reputation for his disciplined approach and I can’t see him taking nicely to that. What’s more, the fans have totally turned now. Even before the incident, few were giving him much support. I think his days are numbered unless he does something to win the support back.

      • Grumpy Older Man

        And equally the praise for others applies in front of Higgs also. The fact is you don’t keep 7 clean sheets out of the last 8 league games if your not a decent goalie and we know Casper is more than decent, we suspect Higgs is ok too, based on his games so far but we would need to see another 10 performances like his early season form to be sure. For me Casper is the safe, senisble and logical choice when both fit and based on todays selection Grayson believes that also.

        • TSS

          Never thought I’d hear Casper described as sensible. Higgs wasn’t even on the bench, so I don’t think he’s fully fit. I’m pretty certain he’ll return in goal though once he is back. Grayson’s favoured him throughout, so I doubt that’ll change regardless of whether Casper’s earnt his place or not.

    • Fat Freddy

      Really like this site. I spend most of my time in Dubai and so as you can imagine devour just about every piece of Leeds info I can find on the web and have been reading TSS for a while now. Got to ER for the first time in over a year today and it was great to be back. Thought Kisnorbo was quality and it was good to see Johnson back on the pitch. Grayson’s doing us proud. As for Becks, he did put in a good shift and worked harder for the side than his stats will show. I think the booing is more about not signing the contract rather than having a strop – I’ve always prefered players to be annoyed when they are subbed – but Jermaine, What shirt you wearing Bruv? If you’re not committed to the club cheerio pal. Lee Bowyer anyone?

  • Leedslass09

    Good points in your blog today, I like the way you tell it, not over dramatising the action. I don’t like the fact the fans booed him off. He is our player and has scored many important goals, tho his attitude to being subbed was terrible I trust Simon to put him right. I believe he will play for us again, not convinced about next season! Also reckon he might struggle at a higher division without his teammates…if he stays I think he will do well for us. But whether he stays or goes we are Super Leeds and we’re going up MOT

  • martin popplewell

    i think he will allways be great in league one, and just about manage in the championship, but will not do as well – every big game we have played he has been shite

  • James Morris

    Beckford was a disgrace today. He is idolised by many fans and many young kids and he showed his true colours today.
    At the end of the day, Grayson won’t take that behaviour, but is it passion?
    Personally, I expected much more from them today. apart from the last 5 minutes Casper had nothing to do.
    I totally agree with the Becchio and Paddy vote though, they were the best players on the pitch. Snoddy was frustrating up to scoring his goal but I thought Doyle and Killa were excellent in midfield.

    Hopefully we will sell Beckford next month and buy Gradel somehow and sign Doyle permanent. Give Paddy a contract extension, he is TOP CLASS.
    I think there will be 4/5 players leaving in Jan.
    Beckford, Prutton, Sheehan, Robinson, Showumni for me…

  • LEE S WALES

    Beckford has scored a lot of goals for the club,but Simon Grayson can not have the behaviour of a player reacting like this every time he is subbed. Beckford should realise that he is not bigger than the club. Whatever decision Simon Grayson makes we will support, after all he has done a great job with his decision making in every department so far. All the best Simon and the squad….Marching On Together….now and always

  • Tim

    Great piece as usual. Massive win today over a team that try to play good football. I think if we get offered money for Beckford we should take it,he was really selfish during the recent games on tv & he just looked like a player who’d had his agent on the phone telling him he was in the shop window,he was trying fancy flicks all the time instead of playing for the team. Beckford’s a big fish in a big pond at Leeds & i’d be very surprised if he went to a bigger club than us. Im not so sure whether Grayson fancies him as a Championship player either? Get him sold & spend the money on Gradel, keep Kandol & Grella & sign a quality striker when we get promoted, we’ll have no trouble attracting quality players when we’re in the Championship.

  • welly

    how you can say the fan’s encouraged him when he was subbed is beyond me! I was at the game and most of the fan’s reaction to him when his number came up was a disgrace and no leeds player should ever have to go through that! Anyone who give’s a player wearing a leeds top that sort of treatment doesn’t deserve to call themselve’s a leeds united fan!

    • TSS

      I sit in the Kop, and around me they initially started chanting his name but as soon as the slow walk began and he snubbed Grayson, the fans turned. His behaviour was pathetic and unprofessional. The fans don’t want to see that and since they pay 1000’e every year following the Whites, they’re entitled to their reaction. Becks should learn from it.

  • welly

    i sit in the kop and as soon as his number came up most of the fans started jeering him and i am ashamed of the leeds fans for their treatment of beckford and hope no leeds player had to go through that again! i have no problem with fan’s having their opinion but the lad must be gutted to get that sort of treatment!

    • TSS

      He’s making matters worse for himself though by refusing to shake Graysons hand and sulking off the picth down the tunnel. It’s pathetic and he needs to sort his attitude out. I’m usually very pro-Beckford but I can’t defend todays actions.

  • Good blog. I’m a Saints fan and I think they did very well to also shut you guys down (especially Beckford). You deserved to win though based on the way you shut us down and created more chances…. you must have really done your homework on Connelly, Lambert and Lallana… they hardly got a sniff. I think Pardew will be pretty happy with how Saints defended and fought though. In regards to Beckford, you could also look at it the other way… he played well (even though he was being shut down) and he was angry at being sent off because he desperately wanted to stay on and play. So his hearts in the right place, he just needs to stop spitting the dummy when his manager wants to try something (which obviously worked anyway, unfortunately for us).

  • hartleyhare

    i hate to see a player sulk!! he was taken off for a reason 1 the ball was not going his way and it will not do that always, whethe rits passion or sulking get over it fella leeds is bigger than one player and it is about team work to get us out of div1 not one player, no doubting his scoring ability to get us where we are now but we are grinding results out rather than winning comfortably like we were.

    Point meaning Becks pull the lip in and prove your better than leeds next season by scoring plenty!

  • Paul South Wales

    I have to agree with Welly,no Leeds player should be booed off ever.As for the strop,yes unprofessional, but a storm in a teacup.All of a sudden everyone’s turning against Becks,probably cos he hasn’t scored as many of late, but he’s still our top scorer and we would struggle without him. He provides that flash of inspiration in a tight game,plus he has pace,the only one in our team that does really,so let’s get behind him and see what transpires at the end of the season. If he does go we’ll attract big players to replace him in the championship.

  • Tony Soprano luvs Leeds

    I was at the game yesterday, and though I am unhappy with Beckford not signing up, nobody really knows why. Our Chairman is not exactly covered in glory when it comes to issues like this, and Leeds fans are just assuming it is all Beckfords fault.

    I would just like to say that I have supported the whites for longer than I care to remember, and I have NEVER EVER booed a player who has the white shirt on. All it does is undermine the team as a whole, and helps nobody.
    I say if you want to boo Leeds players, go stand with the away fans, because that is all you are worth to our club.

    Beckford is no saint, but he has behaved well despite the ongoing uncertainties, and the fact is, we do not have a ready made replacement with his pace or goalscoring record, and that includes Kandol and Grella.
    If he goes in Jan, which I am sure he will now, I don’t think he will be easy to replace, even when he is not scoring, he keeps two defenders busy by reputation alone. The only one I would fancy is Billy Sharpe, but just like Beckford, he is a proven goalscorer and wouldn’t come cheap!

    Anyway, a positive is we looked great yesterday, and beat the leagues in form team, and made them look ordinary. I thought huddersfield looked more dangerous than Saints, but then again, we didn’t have the superb Kisnorbo fit for that one. He has to be Graysons best signing.

    We will definitely go up this season, with or without Beckford, but honestly, if you want to boo Leeds players, stay at home and watch them when they are on TV. MOT.

  • Old Billy White

    I couldn’t boo a Leeds player, but I think Beckford’s strop was un acceptable. Modern football is a squad game, and anyone who’s been at games this year knows the impact little Max Gradel can have. Yesterday wasn’t Jermain’s day, he was getting frustrated and when that happens he is prone to do something silly. Let’s hope it gets quickly sorted and everyone gets behind whoever wears the shirt, and that they all give 110%.

  • FISH

    Agree with Welly – As soon as Beckford’s number went up, the number of fans cheering the fact that he was going off was unacceptable – too many fans have a go at Beckford for his work rate whilst forgetting that his strike rate is extremely good (69 goals in 107 starts is up there with the best) Although he was obviously upset about being subbed, the crowd’s reaction would have worsened his mood. Having said that, his reaction was also not acceptable. I am now concerned that if Grayson doesn’t deal with this carefully and make Beckford feel wanted, he will leave in January – I’m amazed at how many fans seem to think we’ll be fine without him – 15 goals this season – who will we get to replace him (Sam Vokes anyone?) Wasn’t too impressed with Lambert yesterday even though he’s top scoring in this division. No Beckford for a couple of games we seem to cope – but for half a season? I doubt it.

  • paul

    Greyson seems to get everthing right,especially his subs and i’m sure he will sort out Beckford. But we need to realise at the other end of the pitch just how good paddy is…this guy is quality!! Keep wearing the head band paddy it suits you!!