Monday, May 19, 2008

So Long, Big Trev

Trevor Benjamin's departure is surprising, but not quite as surprising as that of John McCombe.

The cases for Marcus Palmer and Jordan Fitzpatrick were, probably, fairly done and dusted. They were signed to a newly promoted Conference side returning to League Two after a long absence and, two years down the line, had not made an impression of any note on the first team since. Both will probably get opportunities at the Conference South level, maybe higher, and should flourish in a good footballing side with the education they have received.

Ryan Esson, despite a decent debut, was always likely to be looking for a no.1 spot somewhere rather than one as second fiddle like he had played for the last two months. The same can be - quite obviously - said of Mike Ingham.

Big Trev arrived with raised eyebrows - not only from a contingent of the Bulls faithful but a string of League Two pundits. They claimed it was a nothing signing, a non-replacement for the likes of Alan Connell and Andy Williams. For the much travelled striker it was club 17 for the side who liked 17th place so much.

But he only started 15 League games all season despite his 11 goals. A telling number despite his ability to win free kicks and penalties by dragging a series of defenders into the right place before crumbling like an ancient monument. Graham Turner is well known to like a player that is 100% fit and - unfortunately - a near three months of inaction from Benjamin probably did for his chances of a new deal.

John McCombe's departure was the surprise, the biggest so far at least, for one that came with such pre-season optimism from Turner: "He comes highly recommended from our people in the North West, also the people at Huddersfield. One or two felt he was unlucky not to be offered a new contract."

Given the no.5 shirt, he was expected to have a big impression during the season but his impact was in fits and starts. It took two months for him to break the Beckwith-Broadhurst partnership, but he admirably held his own after a mildly shaky start for three months before being dumped prior to Christmas.

Regular, and generally solid, performances through February and March left many expecting him to be the next central defender to be moulded but a sudden disappearance from first team matters saw only one start and a brief end of season sub appearance in the last seven games.

Good luck to all six of them. Just don't score against us.