Beckford hands fan new shirt

Date published: Friday 29th May 2015 12:49

Beckford struck three times to send North End into the Championship at the weekend, yet it was the top he was wearing that afternoon which quickly became the source of social media furore.

Having been substituted during the second half, the 32-year-old tossed his Lilywhites shirt to a group of kids in the Wembley crowd, but television images showed an adult woman emerging with the garment instead following an apparent tug-of-war with Ted Dockray.

The video subsequently went viral and so the club and Beckford moved to ensure the eight-year-old eventually got his hands on the striker’s spare Wembley shirt on Friday morning.

“He’s been through a lot this past week, I just thought it would be a really fitting end to a really memorable day for him,” said Beckford, a father of three children himself.

“It’s something that once I’d seen and heard what had happened, it was a no-brainer for me.

“It’s one of the best feelings ever. It’s one of those feelings that you can’t really describe. It means an awful lot, not just to Ted and the other kids, but just to myself as well.

“To make kids happy is one of the hardest things ever, seeing that I’ve been able to do that today – it’s a great feeling.”

Ted, who attended Deepdale with his grandfather George, got his hands on North End’s League One play-off final trophy, a Preston scarf and a signed programme, while he was also given a tour of the Lilywhites’ stadium.

The schoolboy is yet to declare his football allegiance – although free agent Beckford did his best to persuade him to pledge his support to Preston – but his Oldham-supporting grandad admits he will be a frequent visitor to Deepdale thanks to the striker’s gift.

“It’s good, I’m happy and excited,” said Ted upon receiving the shirt.

“It’s the best way to spend half-term. He (Beckford) is a really skilful player and I’m going to put his shirt in a frame on the wall.”

Beckford will at least have one memento from his remarkable Sunday afternoon in the capital once the match-ball makes its way back to him.

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