It seems Preston’s victory yesterday has been overshadowed by events held off the pitch after striker, Jermaine Beckford, threw his shirt towards a group of young fans. Clearly, it was done as a goodwill gesture, however, I remember watching the resulting tug of war and thinking, this is going to end in tears. In the end, it was a woman who ended up sitting down with a trophy many fans don’t believe she deserved if the resulting online outrage is anything to go by.
One of the reasons for this is because, soon after the match had ended, the shirt was placed on Gumtree for £1500. It is unknown whether the aforementioned woman placed the item up for sale herself or if someone else saw the uproar that the incident had caused and decided to try and further aggravate the already frustrated fans.
Either way, after Gumtree had received many complaints, the item was removed from the website, so fans believe that this woman in pink stole the shirt from an eight-year-old boy with only money on her mind.
The second reason for such an onslaught of outrage is because of the simple fact that she ended up with the shirt. I’ll admit that at first I didn’t think she was at fault. What I witnessed seemed to be a mother resolving a situation between a group of young boys by removing the reason for their aggression from the situation. The commentator appeared to think the same thing as he voiced, “mother knows best.”
Before the video reverts back to the game, her hand can be seen reaching into the fray. When the cameras focus on the scene again, the woman has hold of the shirt along with young fan Ted Dockray and another boy. Two stewards appear on the scene and say something that seems to make the third fan let go. The woman places her hand on the boy’s forearm, as a man, presumably her partner, takes hold of the boy’s bicep from behind. Together, they roughly pull the shirt out of the young boy’s grasp.
It was a cruel act, but it has, to some extent, been resolved. It has been revealed that the club are willing to present the boy with Beckford’s second shirt which I’m sure he’ll be delighted with. Online shopping sites such as Gumtree will remove any attempts to sell the shirt so this woman can’t gain anything from her actions and the police have stated that no crime has been committed. However, the anger remains in the form of angry comments online, some of which are quite violent.
This isn’t the response Preston’s players were hoping to see after becoming victorious.
They have worked so hard only to have their victory overshadowed by something that has been resolved to the best of their ability. Jermaine Beckford acted as he did as a way of sharing his joy with his fans and his plan backfired. Maybe he could have taken control of the situation himself by going over there and telling them who should have the shirt. But a player shouldn’t have to choose between his fans.
Yes, it wasn’t a pleasant thing to witness. Two adults acted cruelly and certainly had no right to place their hands on somebody else’s child. But the culprits have been filmed and thus shamed and little Ted Dockray will soon wear another of Beckford’s shirts. The actions of two individuals may have spoiled Dockray’s experience, but we shouldn’t let it ruin our experience of what was a triumph on Preston’s part. #Football