Ben Williams (footballer, born 1982)
|Full name||Benjamin Philip Williams|
|Date of birth||27 August 1982|
|Place of birth||Manchester, England|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|2002||→ Coventry City (loan)||0||(0)|
|2003||→ Chesterfield (loan)||14||(0)|
|2004||→ Crewe Alexandra (loan)||10||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:59, 3 May 2015 (UTC).
He started his career as a Manchester United trainee, where he made a few pre-season appearances and was an unused substitute for a couple of games. Williams was loaned out to several clubs, including Coventry City, Chesterfield and Crewe Alexandra.
Williams signed on a permanent deal with Crewe in 2004, after his release from Manchester United. After two reasonable seasons with Crewe, Williams picked up an injury and was replaced by Ross Turnbull, Williams' season was made even worse when he was diagnosed with meningitis. By the end of the season, Wlliams had fully recovered and returned to the team at the start of the 2006–07 season. He moved to Carlisle United for the 2008–09 season, before signing for Colchester. He moved to Scottish club Hibernian in 2012, but was released after the club's relegation in 2014.
During the 2003–04 season, he was placed on the bench for the first team when Fabien Barthez was injured. He was loaned out to several clubs during his career, including spells at Coventry City, where he did not play a competitive game, and Chesterfield, who were down to just one goalkeeper when Carl Muggleton was ruled out for around six weeks with a double stress fracture of the fibula. Chesterfield manager Dave Rushbury said, "We must be doing something right because Manchester United don't let players out on loan unless they are confident they will be properly looked after. We have had the situation in hand following Carl Muggleton's injury and are delighted to welcome Ben Williams now that he is available to come on loan to us". Manchester United agreed to allow Williams to stay with the Spireites for a second month, following the news that first team goalkeeper, Carl Muggleton, was not expected to be fit for a further few weeks.
In 2004, Williams was loaned out to Crewe Alexandra. Williams made 10 appearances for Crewe, conceding 14 goals and keeping two clean sheets during his loan spell. Williams' team-mate, David Wright, told the Crewe website that "[Williams] is top drawer and I hope we can sign him for next year. He is young so he can only get better. He is a natural. He can catch the ball and also stops shots which he has no right to. He is an all-round good goalkeeper". In June 2004, Williams signed permanently for Crewe, following his release from Manchester United. In his second season with Crewe, he made 23 appearances. His third season with Crewe was cut short after Williams was diagnosed with meningitis, in the wake of which Crewe closed their training ground to prevent the spread of the disease. Williams made a full recovery a couple of months later.
His fourth season for the Railwaymen did not go according to plan; already three games into the season and Williams had conceded seven goals. However the keeper was trying to get back to his consistent form in which he impressed the majority of the Crewe faithful with his outstanding saves, and was hoping to break Clayton Ince's clean sheet record.
His contract expired in June 2008, and he rejected the offer of a new one from the club, so looked set to leave on a Bosman free transfer.
On 25 June, Williams agreed terms with Carlisle United, who signed him as a replacement for the recently departed Keiren Westwood. Williams began his first (2008–09) season with Carlisle United as the team's first-choice goalkeeper. However, after making a few errors during the club's first few games of the season, he was soon dropped to the bench as the on-loan Ben Alnwick came into the side. Once Alnwick's loan period was over, Williams hoped to regain his first team spot, but Dutch keeper Tim Krul came in on loan from Newcastle United shortly after. Once Krul's loan period finished, Williams got a chance in the first team again, conceding four against Tranmere Rovers. His performances improved over the second half of the season, culminating in a clean sheet against Millwall (which helped Carlisle to avoid relegation) and coming second in the fan vote for player of the season as voted for in the local newspaper.
Williams signed for Colchester United for £60,000 on 10 July 2009. He made his debut in the opening game of the season, a 7–1 away win over Norwich City on 8 August 2009. His first clean sheet of the 2009–10 season came against Southampton in a 0–0 draw on 5 September 2009. He then kept a further 16 clean sheets during his debut season and has not only established himself as Colchester United's first-choice goalkeeper, but has also become a favourite with the U's faithful due to his assured, commanding performances. These solid performances led to Williams winning three Player of the Season Awards at the end of the 2009–10 season for Colchester United, including both the Colchester United Supporters Association (CUSA) home and away player of the year awards as voted for by fans, and also the Official Player of the Year Award. He decided to leave Colchester when his contract expired in June 2012; manager John Ward said that Williams wanted to play in the Championship.
On 10 July 2012, Williams signed a two-year contract with Scottish side Hibernian. During the 2012–13 season, Williams has saved five opposition penalty kicks. Williams won the player of the year award made by the Hibs Supporters' Association for 2012–13, ahead of regular goalscorer Leigh Griffiths. Hibs suffered relegation in the 2013–14 season, after which Williams was released at the end of his contract.
- As of match played 3 May 2015.
|Club||Season||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other[note 1]||Total|
|Coventry City (loan)||2002–03||0||0||0||0||0||0||–||0||0||0||0|
|Crewe Alexandra (loan)||2003–04||10||0||0||0||0||0||–||0||0||10||0|
- Carlisle United
- Official Player of the Year: 2008–09
- Colchester United
- CUSA Home Player of the Year: 2009–10
- CUSA Away Player of the Year: 2009–10
- Official Player of the Year: 2009–10
- "Spireites land Williams". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 30 December 2002. Retrieved 5 July 2006.
- "Williams stays on". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 11 February 2003. Retrieved 5 July 2006.
- "Wright keen on Williams". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 18 May 2004. Retrieved 5 July 2006.
- "Crewe sign keeper Williams". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 5 June 2004. Retrieved 5 July 2006.
- "Virus fear halts Crewe training". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 10 January 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2006.
- "Carlisle sign goalkeeper Williams". BBC Sport. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Cumbrians seal Alnwick loan move". BBC News. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Krul joins Carlisle for a month". BBC Sport. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Colchester seal Williams signing". BBC Sport. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Norwich 1–7 Colchester". BBC Sport. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Southampton 0–0 Colchester". BBC Sport. 5 September 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Goalkeeper Ben Williams rejects new Colchester contract". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 3 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Hibernian sign up goalkeeper Ben Williams". BBC Sport (BBC). 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Ben Williams wins Hibs Supporters Player of Year". sport.scotsman.com (Johnston Publishing). 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Out of Contract Players". Hibernianfc.co.uk. Hibernian FC. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- Bradford City sign Ben Williams and Mo Shariff, BBC Sport.
- "Morecambe 0–1 Bradford City" BBC Sport. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Ben Williams career statistics at Soccerbase