First of all, let’s get one thing straight; I’m not anti-Beckford. Infact, regular readers of TSS will know I’ve been one of his biggest advocates. His record speaks for itself and the contribution the lad has made to Leeds over the last three years shouldn’t be undermined even if he does leave.

The fact of the matter is though; Beckford is just one of eleven. As a team we’ve performed well this season, as a team we lead the division and as a team, I think we’ll get promoted with or without Beckford, assuming Simon Grayson is given the necessary funds while the transfer window is open.

At League One level, Jermaine Beckford is an exceptional striker and I do believe he could do a job at a higher level. In the Championship he’d definitely provide goals. Whether or not he could do the same in the Premier League is questionable, but let’s not get into another debate about where his natural level is because quite frankly, no one is ever going to agree and it’s becoming tedious.

The thing is though, Beckford is not irreplaceable. There are plenty of strikers out there capable of scoring one in two. As the League One scorers charts currently show, even in this division there’s one striker with more goals to his name than Beckford (Lambert), one with the same amount (Holt) and another just one goal behind him in a much weaker team (Barnard). That’s three strikers that match/exceed him on stats in just one division, so Beckford is hardly a one off. 

What’s made this such a major issue is that the fans of Leeds United expect blind loyalty from anyone wearing the shirt. That all white strip means a lot to us and we expect it to mean the same to those wearing it. Unfortunately, that’s very rarely going to be the case. A football player, like a builder, a landlord or a lawyer is just a job and much like the builders, landlords and lawyers, the players will move when offered a better opportunity elsewhere. It’s that simple, and each and every one of us would do the same.

Take away the fans emotions from football and you’re left with a business like any other. If football is the oil business, then Leeds United would be Esso. Jermaine Beckford meanwhile would be one of the sandwiches you find in their petrol stations. Much like the sandwich, Beckford’s value depends on a date and his best before is the end of this transfer window. After that, should we keep him I have no doubts he’ll bag another 15 goals this season, but Leeds United would lose £1.5-2,000,000 and our most important striker.

But promotion is worth more than any £2,000,000 I hear you cry? I can’t argue with that, it’s a good point, but he still should be sold while he has a value and can make the business that is Leeds United football club money.

The main reason I stress he should be sold is because if he is, we arguably have £2,000,000 to play with. There are things to deduct from that figure such as the Wealdstone cut, but that’s beside the point. Whether Beckford leaves now or in the summer, he has to be replaced. If we can sell Beckford now and get a replacement in for £x,000,000 then you can deduct whatever we made from Beckford from that sum and the overall cost is not as much. Leave it ‘til the summer when he’s worth nothing to Leeds United and that £x,000,000 still has to be forked out, but none of it’s recouped from anything. We lose Beckford, we lose the money he was worth and we still have to replace him.

It all comes down to whether you want Leeds United to be run like a business, or dictated by fans emotions. The latter is how Peter Ridsdale ran it, whilst the former seems to have done us well so far. I know which I prefer.