Alan Bennett (footballer born 1981)
Bennett playing as captain for AFC Wimbledon in 2013
|Full name||Alan John Bennett|
|Date of birth||4 October 1981|
|Place of birth||Cork, Ireland|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|Current club||AFC Wimbledon|
|2007–2008||→ Southampton (loan)||10||(0)|
|2008||→ Brentford (loan)||11||(1)|
|2008–2009||→ Brentford (loan)||44||(1)|
|2010||→ Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||6||(1)|
|2001||Republic of Ireland U21||1||(0)|
|2007||Republic of Ireland B||1||(0)|
|2007||Republic of Ireland||2||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:02, 25 February 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Bennett was born in Cork, Republic of Ireland on 4 October 1981. He began his footballing career at his local club Richmond, based in Ballincollig, County Cork, which competes in the West Cork League. He was coached by highly regarded coach Colm Donovan. Bennett subsequently joined League of Ireland Premier Division club Cork City in 2000 at the age of 18. He initially played as a midfielder, but was converted to the defensive role of centre–back during the 2004 season. He made more than 150 appearances for the "Rebel Army", scoring ten goals. During his time at Cork City, Bennett played in The UEFA Cup and Champions league and also won a Youths FAI medal in 2000, National league Medal in 2005 and 3 Munster Senior Cup medals.
On 31 July 2007, he was loaned for six months to Southampton and made his debut during a home defeat to Crystal Palace. He returned to Reading in January 2008. On 7 March 2008, he joined Brentford on loan during this time Bennett scored his first goal in English football against Bradford City.
On 28 July 2008, Bennett was told that he did not feature in Reading's plans and was told to find a new club. He began a second loan spell at Brentford on 8 August 2008, initially for one month, although this was extended to five months on 31 August 2008, following a Man–of–the–Match performances against Rotherham United and Notts County. His loan was then extended for a third time until the end of the 2008–09 season. Bennett appeared in over 50 games for Brentford in the 2008–09 season and assumed the role of team captain in the absence of regular captain Kevin O'Connor. As O'Connor was out for the match that decided if they won the league or not Bennett was made captain and lifted the League Two trophy after a 3–1 victory over Darlington. Bennett scored the opening goal in this fixture. At the end of the 2008–09 season, Bennett was released by Reading.
He signed a permanent contract with Brentford on 30 July 2009 which was set to run until June 2011 and was appointed club captain.
On 16 February 2010 Bennett joined Wycombe Wanderers on a one–month emergency loan. He returned to Brentford at the end of the loan period because of the Bees' lack of defensive cover, but signed a new loan deal with Wycombe until the end of the season on 25 March 2010. One week later, before he had made any further appearances for the club, he sustained an ankle injury that looked to have ruled him out for the rest of the season and he returned to Brentford for treatment. However, he recovered quicker than expected and returned to training at Wycombe in late April. He returned to the team for the final game of the season against Gillingham, scoring his first goal for the club during this match.
On 23 July 2010 Bennett joined Wycombe Wanderers on a permanent one–year contract. Bennett was part of the Wycombe squad that achieved automatic promotion to League One that year, unfortunately injuries limited his appearances.
On 4 July 2011 Bennett joined Cheltenham Town on a one–year contract. Bennett was made captain of Cheltenham by manager Mark Yates shortly after his arrival. Bennett formed an excellent defensive partnership with Steve Elliott that saw Cheltenham spend much of the season chasing automatic promotion. Bennett played a big part in Cheltenham reaching the 3rd round of the FA Cup which drew them away to Tottenham Hostspur. They went on to lose 3–0, however the game will go down as one of the biggest days in the club's history. Cheltenham's form suffered after the FA Cup game but they still managed to seal a League Two play–off position under Bennett's captaincy. Cheltenham went on to beat Torquay United in the play–off semi–finals, but lose the play–off final to Crewe Alexandra, thus confirming another season in League Two. On 31 January 2013, Bennett left Cheltenham after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.
Following his contract termination, he signed for fellow League Two team AFC Wimbledon also on 31 January 2013. The ability and experience Bennett brought to the AFC Wimbledon defence in the second half of the 2012–13 season helped "The Dons" avoid relegation from the Football League and remain a League Two team for a third successive season.
Bennett received a call up for the Republic of Ireland under–21 team in 2001. In 2007 Bennett was called up to the Ireland 'B' squad for a game against Scotland 'B' in Airdrie.
In May 2007, he was called up to the full Republic of Ireland team for their two match trip to the United States. Bennett played the full 90 minutes against Ecuador, helping Ireland to a 1–1 draw. He then played in the following match against Bolivia, which also ended 1–1, during which he made a saving tackle to keep the Bolivian team from going ahead.
- "Reading in for Bennett". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). 23 January 2007. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
- "Royals complete the transfer of Alan Bennett from Cork". readingfc.co.uk. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- "Bees to Sign International Defender". brentfordfc.co.uk. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
- "Reading loan Bennett to Brentford". BBC Sport. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2008.
- "Bennett told he can look for new club". GetBracknell. 28 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
- "Alan Bennett joins Wycombe Wanderers from Brentford". BBC Sport. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Bennett's Back at Blues". Wycombe Wanderers. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- "Double Injury Blow For Blues". Wycombe Wanderers. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
- "Bennett Back in Training". Wycombe Wanderers. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Benno's Back For Good". Wycombe Wanderers. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
- "Bennett joins Robins". Cheltenham Town. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
- "Alan Bennett: AFC Wimbledon sign former Ireland defender". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Bennett nets place in full Ireland squad". readingfc.co.uk. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
- "Republic of Ireland 1–1 Ecuador". BBC Sport. 24 May 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2007.
- "Bolivia 1–1 Republic of Ireland". BBC Football. 26 May 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2007.
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