Wealdstone to net profit if Leeds United sell Beckford

LEEDS UNITED will have to hand over a substantial six-figure sum to Wealdstone if Jermaine Beckford is sold this month.

The non-League club sold the striker to Leeds in March 2006, for a fee that eventually rose to 95,000 and, crucially, included a 20 per cent sell-on clause on any subsequent profit made.

It means that should Newcastle United be successful with the 1.5m bid they submitted last week, Wealdstone can look forward to a windfall that manager Gordon Bartlett admits will help "safeguard" the club's future.

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The 26-year-old United striker is in demand after netting 20 goals this season but only the Championship leaders are understood to have submitted a formal offer.

Owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias returned from a business trip to America yesterday and are this week expected to step up their attempts to take Beckford to St James' Park.

Sources in the North East suggest Ashley may go higher than the 1.5m he has previously indicated and would be the club's final bid – but that any additional amount would be dependent on Newcastle winning promotion.

The current impasse means Wealdstone, who also faced Leeds in a pre-season friendly last August as part of the transfer, can only sit and wait for news.

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Bartlett, who has managed the Ryman League side for 14 years after unearthing future England international Les Ferdinand when in charge of previous club Southall, told the Yorkshire Post: "We are a very poor club so any extra income would be welcome.

"If Jermaine's transfer does go through this month, it would be enormous for Wealdstone but, as we cannot do anything about it, all we can do is wait for news."

Leeds beat off interest from a host of clubs to sign Beckford with then Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie having earlier had a 50,000 bid turned down by Wealdstone.

Charlton Athletic were also interested in the former Chelsea junior, while Watford even went so far as to agree a deal with Wealdstone only for Beckford to instead plump for Leeds.

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Stones manager Bartlett said: "We were a bit gutted that the Watford deal did not go through as the upfront fee was higher than it was with Leeds.

"We also had a clause covering possible promotion to the Premier League, something Watford achieved just a few months later by, ironically, beating Leeds in the play-off final.

"But if Jermaine is sold by Leeds this month then the club would be liable to receive a substantial amount of money.

"We insisted the clause was inserted in the transfer, just as we do with all the young lads we sell on.

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"We did the same when Carl Martin joined Crewe Alexandra last October.

"We never stand in the way of any of our players if they can further their careers and it is only right that we receive a reasonable price in return. We received an initial 70,000 for Jermaine that rose with further add-ons and now we have to see if there will be more money coming.

"A lot of people in Wealdstone are getting excited that we could receive around 300,000 if Jermaine is sold for 1.5m, but the reality would be that the taxman would take a huge chunk.

"Even so, the sum we would bank would help safeguard the club's future."