Grayson: Win is reward for devoted Leeds fans
Leeds United's long-suffering fans finally got their reward with a glorious FA Cup third round victory at Manchester United yesterday.
That is the view of manager Simon Grayson, whose League One leaders valiantly clung on to the first-half lead given to them by Jermaine Beckford and in the end claimed a deserved triumph, and a fourth-round trip to Tottenham.
"Our football club has had a lot of negativity over the past five years," said Grayson. "We have been in administration and we have been relegated. When I came to the club, we had reached rock bottom and would not go any lower. But our fans were there for us. It is not just about taking 9,000 to Old Trafford.
"We have taken 3,000 to Bristol Rovers on a Tuesday night. Every away allocation, we sell. We regularly get 25,000 at home.
"There have been times when they might have downed tools and decided football was an expensive business and supported the team from home.
"But they have followed us the length and breadth of the country. They deserved this result."
A fourth round match at Tottenham would not be much of a reward for many clubs but for Leeds, whose main aim is to haul themselves back into the Championship, it seems somehow fitting given their reunion with former players Robbie Keane, Jonathan Woodgate and Aaron Lennon.
"It's another fantastic draw and another game that could have been quite easily a Premier League fixture five or six years ago," said Grayson.
Whether Beckford is part of it remains open to question.
Booed by his own supporters at Southampton a fortnight ago, the 26-year-old has now scored 20 times for Leeds this season, but with his contract up at the end of the season and several clubs interested, Leeds chairman Ken Bates might decide to cash in on the player rather than let Beckford leave for nothing in the summer.
"There are three scenarios," said Grayson. "He can either sign a new contract now, or we can keep him until the end of the season and he leaves then. The worst-case scenario is that we are offered some money now that is too good to turn down.
"We are not looking to sell him but money talks with any player.
"I knew as soon as the window opened there would be a lot of talk about him. But if we do let him go, we won't let him go on the cheap."