Gary Bennett (footballer born 1963)
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010)|
|Full name||Gary Michael Bennett|
|Date of birth||20 September 1963|
|Place of birth||Kirkby, Lancashire, England|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|1996–1997||Preston North End||24||(4)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. † Appearances (Goals).|
Gary Bennett (born 20 September 1963 in Kirkby, near Liverpool) was a professional footballer in the 1980s and 1990s. He played for six different clubs in the Football League, with the majority of appearances being made for Chester City and Wrexham.
Early playing career
Bennett began his football career playing for Skelmersdale United F.C. and his local team Kirkby Town F.C.. Bennett began his full-time playing career when he joined Wigan Athletic, playing in the Preston League in October 1984. At the end of the season, Bennett appeared at Wembley Stadium for Wigan in the final of the Freight Rover Trophy, which ended in a 3–1 win over Brentford. However, Bennett was soon on the move as he followed manager Harry McNally to Chester City, where 'Psycho', as he was known, scored 13 league goals in 43 appearances as the club achieved promotion from Division Four.
Bennett scored 23 times in 1986–87 but his season was overshadowed by his tackle in an FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday that left opponent Ian Knight with his leg broken in 7 places. The matter was eventually settled out of court a decade later. In November 1988 Bennett moved on to Southend United for £25,000 (scoring against Chester in Southend's 4–2 win later in the month) but by March 1990 he was back at Chester, again for a £25,000 fee. He remained there until the end of the 1991–92 season, scoring the winner at Stoke City in April 1992 that effectively sealed Division Three survival for Chester.
After turning down a new one-year contract with Chester, Bennett joined their arch rivals Wrexham and enjoyed the most prolific spell of his career. He struck 16 goals as the club achieved promotion in 1992–93 and then struck 39 and 47 times in the next two seasons. In 1994–95, he scored a penalty against Ipswich, in the F.A. cup 3rd round, to secure a place against Manchester United, at Old Trafford in the 4th round. Bennett also scored twice in the Welsh Cup Final, at Cardiff Arms Park, to beat Cardiff City 2–1. He always had a fantastic rapport with the Wrexham fans, given his goal-scoring records, and imaginative goal celebrations. Unsurprisingly, he is very highly regarded by Wrexham supporters, as something of a legend at the Racecourse.
After signing for Preston North End he helped them win promotion to the Second Division.
At Preston, Bennett gained legendary status when he scored two goals in a three nil victory against Blackpool. He had not played many games for Preston in the run up to the match but came on as a sub after an hour and scored two goals out of three which came within eight minutes of coming him off the bench. The first of these was a sublime chip, from thirty yards out over stranded 'Pool keeper Steve Banks.
Second spell at Wrexham
Bennett returned to Wrexham for the closing stages of the 1996–97 season, and came on as a second half substitute in the F.A. Cup quarter final, against Chesterfield. One of the notable achievements of his second spell at Wrexham was scoring a last minute winner at local rivals Shrewsbury Town in April 1997.
Return to Chester
He then moved back to Chester in the summer of 1997 for £50,000, registering 12 goals by early November in his first season back. Unfortunately he failed to add any more during the season and he would manage just one more (the winner at his former club Southend in August 1998) before injury forced him to retire from the game in August 1999.
Preston North End
- Sumner, Chas (2011) 125 Years on the Borderline: The Complete History of Chester City Football Club 1885–2010 ISBN 978-0-9569848-2-1, at page 280.
- Sumner, Chas, op. cit., at page 102
- "'There was talk of amputation'". The Independent on Sunday. 14 April 1996. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "City settle out of court (see October 14 & 13)". chester-city.co.uk. 14 October 1997. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- Sumner, Chas, op. cit., at pages 103, 104
- Sumner, Chas, op. cit., at page 109
- "Benno hangs up his boots (see 18 August)". chester-city.co.uk. 18 August 1999. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
- Sumner, Chas (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City F.C. 1885–1997. Yore Publications. ISBN 1-874427-52-6.