‘That was always going to be my goal’ – Star on Leeds regret and Everton frustration

first_imgYou sense that leaving Leeds was emotionally difficult for Beckford and it is still something he struggles to discuss.“I wanted to get Leeds back to the Premier League and that was always going to be my goal,” he continues. “For one reason or another, it wasn’t meant to be.“It’s always been a tough thing for me to talk about because I’ve got such admiration for Leeds United and what they’ve done for me. I’ll be forever grateful for that. But I think that’s why I’m back working there now for LUTV because I love it so much.“[At Everton] I was frustrated. I knew the first season I was there was going to be a difficult one in terms of the games and minutes played. But if you look at my minutes to goals ratio, I’m second behind Didier Drogba in the whole of the Premier League.“I went from Leeds playing close to 50-odd games to playing sub-20 for Everton and it made me think I wasn’t happy just collecting a paycheck and training. I wasn’t happy being that guy as I want to play.“I could have stayed and tried to fight for a place but it was very difficult at the time.”Also capped at international level by Jamaica, Beckford spent the final years of his career in the Football League with the likes of Bolton and Preston North End.His final employer, however, was Bury, spending two seasons with the crisis club who were expelled from the EFL earlier this season due to outstanding debts and ownership issues. He continues: “Then Watford came along and after the first day’s training they were super interested. They said, ‘there’s a contract right there. Sit down, sign it and we’ll see you tomorrow’, and I’m sitting there thinking, ‘this is outrageous!’ I looked at them in the league at the time and they were third or fourth in the Championship and I’m still working at RAC and playing semi-professional football.“I phoned my agent and he said it was great news, and I could tell something was going on. He said: ‘If you want to do it, it’s great and I’ll be there in 15/20 minutes. But I’ve just had a phone call from Leeds and they want you’.“I was like, ‘how do I get to Leeds?’ As soon as Leeds came in, I knew that was the club for me.”The rest, as they say, was history.Beckford flourished for Leeds, becoming a cult hero at Elland Road after scoring a winning goal at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. targets Jermaine Beckford was scoring a winning goal at Old Trafford just a few short years after fitting windscreens for the RAC ‘It was great fun and I could still do it easily,’ Jermaine Beckford says with a broad grin across his face.Beckford, however, isn’t talking about his football career and wishing he could do it all over again, having hung up his boots earlier this summer due to the threat of knee replacement surgery after numerous injuries.Instead, he’s reminiscing about a time when a career in football seemed like a distant prospect. A time he combined playing at semi-professional level while working for the RAC as a windscreen fitter in west London“Once you’ve got it, you never lose it,” he smirks while speaking exclusively to talkSPORT. “They gave me my own bright Orange van. It was a Ford Connect and decent as well – a very good driver! Liverpool transfer news live: Star man wanted by Real Madrid, Mbappe latest and more BIG PRESENTS UP TOP latest Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Getty Images – Getty Chelsea fan arrested for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ stalemate 4 Beckford ended his career with Bury, retiring after two seasons with the Shakers Beckford earned a move to Everton after starring for Leeds but spent only one season on Merseyside rookie error Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti statement PEP TALK appointed LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Getty Images – Getty What every Premier League club’s fans dream of this Christmas 4 Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta “I had fun in that van because it was independence and freedom as well. I was playing for Wealdstone at the time and I used to turn up to training in the RAC van as well because it was free fuel – why would I not?”Those who watched Beckford in the Isthmian League knew he would go far.The 35-year-old had a goalscoring instinct which simply can’t be taught and after netting 35 times in 40 games it was no surprise Football League clubs came calling. Beckford, though, wasn’t quite prepared for where he was about to end up.“[My manager] Gordon Bartlett said to me that he had someone he wanted me to talk to,” Beckford explains. “He was an agent he knew and he said: ‘There are a couple of clubs interested in you, would you be interested in having a chat?’“I said, ‘yeah cool, why not?’“He [the agent] said Yeovil were interested, what did I think and I was like, ‘I’m in – how do I get there?’ I had a massive map – one of the old school ones which unfolded about eighteen times. I got a yellow marker pen and drew the route from my house all the way to Yeovil’s stadium.“I was heading to Yeovil and the agent phoned me back and said Charlton, Crystal Palace, Watford and one other club were all interested and I started to run out of space on my map. update 4 Beckford scored the all-important goal to knock Man United out the FA Cup in 2010 Strugglers Wigan hold Blackburn to goalless draw in Championship on target Pep Guardiola gives Man City injury update and talks Christmas schedule Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman Getty Images – Getty Getty Images – Getty 4 Not only thriving on the big stage, Beckford also tore League One defences apart, scoring over 20 goals in three consecutive seasons. He further cemented himself into Leeds folklore when he scored against Bristol Rovers to secure the automatic promotion supporters so desperately craved.“That [beating Bristol Rovers] was a massive relief,” he says. “In the years leading up to that moment, we’d got into the play-off final in Cardiff when I first signed and lost 3-0 to Watford, we’d got to Wembley for the play-off final against Doncaster and lost 1-0, and we got to the play-off semi-finals against Millwall and lost over two legs and this was a make or break season.“To have finally done that without going through the play-offs was such a relief.“It was mentally, physically and emotionally draining up until that point because we didn’t have the same summers off as every other club. We were in the play-offs for three or four years in a row so that cuts your recovery time down from eight, nine or ten weeks to four or five weeks.”That would be the last of Beckford’s 85 goals for Leeds, as his form was rewarded with a move to the Premier League with Everton.Despite scoring in the Merseyside derby and also netting a brilliant solo effort against Chelsea, in a season which yielded eight goals in all competitions, Beckford’s first and only crack at the Premier League ended the following summer when he was sold to Leicester. Despite his limited time at Gigg Lane, Beckford cannot help getting emotional over the situation.He finished: “Every time that we had a chat with [owner Steve Dale] and all the documents and papers he signed, I just know that he had no genuine intentions of fulfilling those promises.“It’s not just about me or the rest of the guys who are playing who have lost their houses or ended up in really bad situations, but it’s about the town of Bury and the people who lived and breathed Bury FC.“They’re one of the founding football clubs of the Football League and had a 134-year history and all of that has been destroyed because of one man’s greed. It’s not right.“He [Dale] can’t shoulder the whole blame by himself, but at the same time he bought the club knowing where it was and he just stripped it for the remaining assets that it had for his own personal growth. It’s disgusting, frustrating and shouldn’t happen.”last_img

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