Video: Adult woman appears to steal Jermaine Beckford's shirt from small child
Preston North-End won promotion to the Championship on Sunday thanks to a Jermaine Beckford hat-trick, but while almost every fan of the club was delighted with the momentous achievement, in the stands dark scenes unfolded.
Taking his place on the bench after a three goal haul in the match, a group of children excitedly gestured towards the striker, requesting that he give them his shirt.
Beckford, ever the gentleman and aware of his role as goalscoring ambassador, duly obliged and threw his shirt to the outstretched arms of his young fans.
But not everything was as it should be. Cameras not only caught the moment the kids became owners of this historic piece of football memoribillia (presumably sharing it on a timetable based rotation system through the week), but also the seconds in which a grown adult woman removed said shirt from their grasp.
"SHE'S BLOODY STOLEN IT!" yelled people on the internet as the lady snuck the shirt into her bag, "THAT POOR CHILD!". Things only escalated when this appeared on Gumtree:
Clearly, there was only one possible course of action.
Ignoring video evidence which shows the child in the yellow tee forcefully stealing Beckford's shirt from the hands of the kids in the blue Preston zip-up tops, and dismissing the notion that without knowing who she is, perhaps the woman was the boy's Mum, or that the other adult in a grey tracksuit who then accompanies the boys up the steps might also be looking after the group of children, some true vigilantes of justice set up... A FACEBOOK GROUP.
While it is possible that the lady in this scenario did indeed set up the now removed Gumtree ad, it is important to remember that literally anyone can set up an advert on Gumtree and pretend that any of several thousand Preston shirts belong to Jermaine Beckford.
Unless the buyer knows exactly what Beckford smells like, there is no way of identifying this from any other shirt other than the play-off final stitching. The photocopied certificate of authenticity should probably give this way.
Internet justice is the very best kind of justice though and after detective work by this Facebook group and the Lancashire Evening Post, it is now alleged that the woman in question has been identified, and worse - she wasn't even a Preston fan at all.
Whether any of this is real, or who anyone even is remains a mystery for now but if we can put things into perspective and forget the evil nature of stealing a footballer's shirt from a child - if that is what happened - it might be nice to remember that in 2015 someone was legitimately trying to sell a shirt that Jermaine Beckford once wore, for £1500. Did we learn nothing from the stock market crash?!