Move over Bamford: Grayson’s 6 ft 2 promotion “legend” would now save Gracia’s Leeds – opinion

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Leeds United had little to celebrate during their 16-year hiatus from the Premier League, with their misery only exacerbated as they even dropped into League One for a period.

It was the lowest the club had slumped to in their history and marked the most miserable period to support the Whites.

A return to the top flight seemed the most unlikely of targets but little did they know they were about to unleash a man who would take the team on his back to return them to within just one promotion of their dream.

The goalscoring exploits of Jermaine Beckford will go down in history at the Yorkshire outfit, as he appeared when they needed him most to inject some hope back into the club.

Whilst there were only a handful of heroes made before their eventual 2020 return, the 6 foot 2 striker certainly will remain one of those few to step up at their darkest hour.

How did Jermaine Beckford play for Leeds?

Having signed from Wealdstone after his incredible scoring record drew widespread attention, the young forward thrived on loan at Scunthorpe United where he foreshadowed his impressive League One form that would prove so important.

Upon his return to his parent club, who had themselves just been relegated from the Championship, he established himself as a mainstay in the side, scoring 20 times in 40 league matches.

The 39-year-old would not relent in his burning desire to propel the club to promotion, as the season following he would notch a further 27 goals as they again missed out on promotion.

It would be third time lucky though as once again Beckford showcased his imperious quality, scoring 25 times as they triumphantly returned to the second division. This was far from where they wanted to be but remained a huge step towards ensuring the further promotion that would come just a decade later.

Beckford's exploits under Simon Grayson's leadership even led journalist Oliver Todd to dub him a “Warneford Road legend” just months before his eventual departure.

Although it was a period the club would likely rather forget, to add a prime version of this hulking finisher up top for the current side would be a masterstroke, especially when Javi Gracia‘s current outfit have scored just once in their last five games in all competitions, and Patrick Bamford has only mustered one league goal all season.

Not only this but similarities could even be drawn between the now-retired forward and Troy Deeney, who thrived in the Spaniard's system as a target man who scored plenty.

Both boast incredible physiques and a ruggedness to challenge centre-backs, but arguably the former has far more speed which would make him even deadlier in the Spaniard's preferred 4-4-2 alongside another frontman.

If anyone from the last decade or so could fix Leeds' current goalscoring issues, then it's certainly Beckford – just imagine if Gracia had him now.


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