TSS has raised the question of how much is a silly money offer for Beckford? I have a formula to work it out below, but perhaps we should take this opportunity to look at the bigger picture, like should we really sell him at all, for example?  Transfer windows are times that give us, the supporters a rare chance to judge senior management by their actions, rather than by reputation or popularity. The January 2010 window could make or break Leeds United’s hopes of promotion from League One and I think deals need to be approached scientifically, especially the rumoured sale of Beckford to Newcastle United.

"Well I suppose technically I am a tax exile, yes." said Santa

We all know the results are coming good on the pitch and the table proves we’re doing something right. I have no idea what the current financial statements might be, but I should imagine that off the pitch, we should be doing quite well too. We can look to a few facts that we know to give us a clue. In Summer, we sold Delph. Surely we must have at least part of the transfer fee in our account by now and we didn’t buy anybody for significant money to reduce it. We have been on television or the internet (same fee,) more times than just about any club other than Newcastle. Linked to the TV appearances are our decent Cup runs, indeed the clash against Glazer brothers’ Manchester Disunited is worth about £750 000 alone according to our own chairman. I would guess the fact that the Boxing Day match was a home game must have been worth a few quid too. It certainly looked busy. Finally we might just have found the winning formula after so many years in a downward spiral. So why, oh why are we even considering letting our top scoring striker go? You don’t have to like him to see that he scores goals. Just read the statistics.

Logic dictates it’s not about money. The points above surely re-inforce this. I doubt even that it could be about disharmony in the team. I was quietly impressed that Beckford gave a Hartlepool player a shove when he clattered into Bradley Johnson. It’s the same principle as sticking up for your mates. Is it about attitude? The mark of disrespect when Simon Grayson subbed him isn’t a big deal. An apology and perhaps a bit of a grilling and things like that should be forgotten. I did a lot worse at his age and Simon Grayson is not Peter Reid. So for those fans that don’t like Beckford, I say enjoy the goals, just don’t invite him round for dinner. What about the Millwall penalty and other big occasions when he apparently fails to shine? Well I would just say that there are two teams on the pitch and Beckford has a reputation big enough to justify man-marking him. Even in this league, there are defenders good enough to keep him quiet.

Maybe this is a time when we the fans have been caught bang to rights. It’s us that could be the difference between our best striker staying or leaving. I’ve been reading blogs pointing out a fact that had escaped me, which is that if Beckford scores 100 goals he becomes one of our most prolific strikers relative to the time he’s been here. (Sorry I can’t find the exact details again, but you get the idea.) Surely this should make the lad a legend and yet a sizeable number of fans want him to leave because he throws his teddy out occasionally. It’s not our fault directly if Beckford leaves because we’re not the ones signing the paperwork but if our board thought that selling Becks would make gate receipts suffer, he would already have the most lucrative contract since Seth Johnson. We should be getting behind his performances because for every quiet patch or miss, he bounces back with goals at some point. I’ve even seen him work his socks off in a few games recently. But soon it seems it’s going to be too late to sing his name.

Personally, I wouldn’t be quite as bothered about Becks going if I thought there was a plan B. I’m sure Simon Grayson has got one, because he’s obviously a very smart fellow to have got us this far, but we just don’t know if he has one because nobody talks to the fans anymore. It’s fair to say that Leeds United’s PR is even worse than Eurostar. Over a hundred thousand fans worldwide have to wait for the South Shields Gazette to find out anything about the most important thing to happen to the team for two seasons. Grayson has already said that only a silly money offer would tempt the club, it’s true, but that was October. It’s now December and a hundred thousand people want to know if you have changed your mind.

So never mind Maria, how do you solve a problem like Beckford? Who could replace him? I think he’s irreplaceable at our kind of money. It won’t be Ricky Lambert, under contract to Southampton who have more financial clout than us with their new chairman. I can’t imagine our chairman making them an offer they can’t refuse so we can forget that idea straight away. If you were in charge of Norwich would you sell Holt either? A weakened Leeds United means a player like him could help them lift the title. They have a good enough team. We could look to higher leagues but then we have that problem of money. We would have to pay decent money for someone such as a Cresswell, Healy, Hulse or Blake like we used to have last time in the CCC and Healy’s best tally was only 14 goals in the 05-06 season. More money for fewer goals? That’s not good business. But the fact that Leeds have even talked to Newcastle speaks volumes. It’s probably now just a question of money and then I guess we unearth a stop-gap player from the loan market or lower leagues. So if he is going to go, how much is the right price?

If Chris Hughton is reading, let me save you some time. I can give you the mathematical equation for the correct transfer fee (F) to offer for Beckford:

F = (T*W)+P

To the rest of us, that’s the total of this years’ court costs (T), add 20% for Wealdstone’s sell on clause (W) and then add the cost of a private return jet flight to Monaco to sign the paperwork (P). Our board doesn’t factor in anything for the future good of the club (FA)

Happy New Year.