WHEN a player leaves the First Division for the Third he doesn't expect to make it back, especially at the twilight of his career. But former City youngster John Benson has done just that.
John spent six years at Maine Road first as an amateur then signing professional as an 18-year-old in July 1961. And his third game-in March 1962 provided John with his biggest thrill at City.
"I had to mark Jimmy Greaves. Spurs were a great team in those days when Greaves was in his prime. I thought the experience of marking Greaves was invaluable.
"But things turned out so differently than I. expected. With 10 minutes to go we were winning 6-0! Then when we relaxed Spurs pulled two back.
"I didn't get many chances at Maine Road, I only got into the team because of injuries and illness to David Shawcross and Roy Cheetham.
"I moved on to the South and enjoyed my football more with Torquay and had seven great seasons with them. What a vast difference from Maine Road" he said.
Then three-and-a-half years ago John Bond bought him for Bournemouth to strengthen his back four.
"John Bond is in the same mould as Malcolm Allison and from the same coaching school. I should imagine that it's just the same as being under John.
"His approach at Bournemouth was refreshing and we won promotion. It's great to be back in the First Division again. I never thought it would happen".
In fact, it happened only in December when John Bond took over from Ron Saunders and one of his first signings was John Benson for £6,000.,
"I was offered the chance to coach Bournemouth," says John" but I thought I'd learn more under John. And it's proving that way. In time there's no doubt I'll turn to coaching, but, at the moment, I'm too committed with playing.
What John doesn't say is that he's virtually "shouted" his way back to the top. Norwich manager John Bond explains: "John is the type of player every club needs. He is the dominant character in the dressing room, a driving force in training and a bellower on the field. I reckon his shouting won many points for Bournemouth and I believe his presence, both on and off the field, will lift Norwich".
John, one-time schoolboy pal of Mike Doyle's, can't get back to his home town of Stockport often In fact at the moment he's split from his family, wife Lynn and daughters Sarah (8) and Debbie (6). "I'm still waiting to sell my property in Bournemouth before I can bring them to East Anglia," explains John.
article from City programme 6th April 1974
A picture of John from 2004