John Benson has a great ride with Wigan Athletic, but differing opinions on who the club should be signing and who should be making the decisions on the signings have led to to Wigan Athletic parting company with him.
It has been announced today that John Benson has stepped down with immediate effect at Latics,
The statement read:
Wigan Athletic have confirmed that General Manager John Benson will leave the club at the end of the month, following a highly successful ten year association.
In two spells at the club, between 1995 and 2002, and then 2006 until now, John has performed a huge variety of roles.
He initially came in November 1995 as Assistant Manager to John Deehan, helping to mastermind the rise from the old Division Three to Division Two.
He was then General Manager when Ray Mathias took over for a season following Deehan’s departure – helping to bring in key signings such as Andy Liddell and Arjan De Zeeew- before taking charge of the first team in 1999-2000.
This was a historic season for Latics, the first at the then JJB stadium, with the team setting a club record unbeaten run of 24 games from the start of the season but finishing in heartache at the Division 2 Play Off Final at Wembley.
John then returned to a role as General Manager and was involved in the appointment of managers Bruce Rioch, Steve Bruce and crucially, Paul Jewell, who was to take the club to new heights.
John took up a similar role at Birmingham City from 2002, but returned as General Manager under Jewell in 2006, playing a critical role in the arrival of some of the club’s most significant ever signings, including Emile Heskey, Chris Kirkland, Mario Melchiot, Titus Bramble, Lee Cattermole, Wilson Palacios, Maynor Figueroa, Hugo Rodallega and Charles N’Zogbia.
In his long career in football, he played and managed atManchester City and Bournemouth and was also a player at Torquay United and Norwich City, where he also coached. He has also managed and was Chief Scout at Burnley.
John says he has made the decision to leave himself, for what he describes as “the good of the club.”
“No one is bigger than any football club,” he says, “that is a lesson I have learned from my time in the game.
“I respect totally the fact that Roberto Martinez wants to bring in his own people around him, that’s football.
“I have enjoyed working under him this season, but it is clear that the time has come for me to move on.
“I have no criticism of anyone at the club and I wish to place on record my thanks to everyone at Wigan Athletic, from the Chairman down, to Brenda Spencer, Roberto Martinez and all the staff.
“Wigan Athletic are a fantastic club who have defied all the odds to become an established Premier League name in the last five seasons and I wish them all the best in the future. I will look back upon my time here with nothing but pride and happiness.”
Dave Whelan says: “It’s a sad day when you have to say goodbye to a man of the calibre of John Benson, who has done so much for our club and I want to thank him for his many years great service. It is a measure of the man that it is he who has decided to step down.
“Football is about change, however, I accept and respect that the manager needs to work with his own people and now we look forward to a new era in the history of the club.”
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