This Month’s BCFC Legend will be the second keeper I’ve added to the ranks following Carling Cup winning keeper Ben Foster. I don’t know why but his testimonial match really sticks in my mind to this day, something you don’t see as much of in modern football with the way players are moving around.
I think keeper-wise Bennett is my favourite to grace the space between the sticks, yeah he’s not as glamorous as Joe Hart nor a nice earner from the academy like Butland but his ability was second to none. Quite short for a keeper he had the reflexes of a ninja! Born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, he started his footballing life as a YTS Trainee which to be fair I didn’t even realise you could get in football.
Pre Blues Career
Prior to joining the Blues he began on a YTS Scheme at QPR in 1988, turning professional in the same year although he turned professional at Newcastle. Despite this and despite remaining with the Magpies for a couple of years he didn’t make any appearances for them and in 1991 signed for Peterborough United.
Once at Posh he was able to make his professional debut at last and even managed to be the first choice keeper as they made their way from the Fourth Division to the Second. It was then that Barry Fry took an interest and swooped making a £325,000 offer in December 1993.
Blues were in the third tier of English Football when Bennett joined, at that time there hadn’t really been a proper first team keeper that was consistently the man in the middle, by the time Bennett arrived Kevin Miller was the favourite but Bennett managed to clinch this spot and made 22 appearances in the league in his first season, by his second he was established and made a total of 62 appearances in all competitions.
Although the main man he was always unlucky when it came to the big games, missing out on the Play-Off Finals to Nico Vaesen and FA Cup Semi-Final managing to only make an appearance during the Worthington Cup Final. Once in the Premier League his appearances became fewer as Vaesen was the favoured keeper and then Maik Taylor.
On October 2003 he made his 350th Appearance for Blues against the vile, a game which saw no goals. In 2005 was his Testimonial match against Jamaica, that same summer he was released by Blues after having been loaned out first to Sheffield United and then to Coventry City.
Post Blues Career
Once Benno left Blues he moved to Leeds United but didn’t find the game time he was looking for, instead having to settle for being second choice behind Neil Sullivan, only managing to make a handful of appearances competitively. He then linked back up with Sheffield United, this time on a permanent basis but again struggling to find regular football making only 9 appearances during his first two seasons.
Bennett finished his playing career at Huddersfield, he was again destined to be a back up keeper but this time opportunities to make the first team were more forthcoming due to injuries. He extended his contract two years putting him to the ripe old age of 42, at the end of his contract he made the move into coaching at Huddersfield taking on the role of Academy Goalkeeper Coach.
Currently Bennett is at Nottingham Forest, still in a coaching capacity for the academy. Given his personality, his applicability and years of experience I believe it’s fair to believe Benno will make a fantastic coach and we will no doubt see the fruit of his labours coming through for years to come!