Jermaine Beckford reveals "painful" Leeds United departure and tells extraordinary Elland Road signing tale

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Jermaine Beckford remains a cult hero at Elland Road

Former Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford says it was painful to leave Elland Road nearly 10 years ago.

The now retired forward joined the Whites ranks in 2006 from non-league outfit Wealdstone and went on to score 85 goals in 152 appearances in all competitions for the club.

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Beckford thrust himself into United folklore with the winner in Leeds' famous 1-0 FA Cup third round triumph over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Former Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford at Elland Road. (Image: Jonathan Gawthorpe)Former Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford at Elland Road. (Image: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
Former Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford at Elland Road. (Image: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

He also bagged the goal that secured Simon Grayson's side promotion from League One in the summer of 2010 before he left the club on a free transfer with his contract running down.

Spells with Premier League team Everton, Leicester City, Huddersfield Town, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End and Bury followed before he opted to hang up his boots over 18 months ago.

Beckford, though, has now admitted he left West Yorkshire with a heavy heart.

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“Painful, that’s why I keep trying to get a new contract every time I see the chairman,” Beckford joked to talkSPORT about leaving Leeds.

“From the first week that I signed for Leeds, I said to myself. ‘Wow, this is where I want to end my career.’

“Because everything about it, in terms of football things, but mainly everything outside of actually playing; the people that are around the place, the girls that are in the canteen, the stewards and literally everybody connected with the club.

“They just made me feel so welcome and helped me to learn and grow as a person as well, so that just meant a lot to me. So I get back quite back a bit to Elland Road, I do a bit of the corporate stuff down there as well.

“I just can’t get enough of the place, I can’t get enough.”

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Beckford also detailed the story of his arrival at Elland Road from Wealdstone: “On the Saturday, I was playing in front of maybe 80 people, give or take.

“It was Wealdstone against somebody… big game! I remember coming off early because I knew that I had something in the pipeline with Leeds and I didn’t want to run the risk of getting injured or whatever.

“So I came off early and that was in front of 80-ish people. I signed on Sunday, trained on Monday and then I played on Tuesday in front of 34,500 people against Crystal Palace at Elland Road.

“I was bricking it! I’ve got a very calm exterior, but I was on the touchline and as soon as my number came up on the board – and Elland Road was full – it just went up another couple of decibels.

“I’ll be honest with you, every single sensation or feeling you could get ran just right through my bod; through my veins and my skin – it was phenomenal.”