From Riches to Rags?
12th July, 2000. A 21 year old Trevor Benjamin joins Leicester City from Cambridge United for the tidy figure of £1.5 million. The player who had been with the club since the age of 16 was snapped up by Peter Taylor after a recent callup to the England Under-21 squad. A bright future in the Premier League lay ahead for the big 6ft 2 striker under the guidance of Taylor. Or not?
An incredible 18 clubs later in just 8 years since leaving Leicester for Crystal Palace on loan in 2001, Benjamin is now plying his trade at: wait for it... Kidsgrove Athletic. That's Kidsgrove Athletic of Division One South. Just this season alone Trevor has featured for Gainsborough Trinity, Northwich Victoria, Hednesford Town and Wellingborough Town; a lengthy list I'm sure you'll all agree.
So where did it all go wrong for Trevor in his time at Leicester? Well, the season in which he joined the club ended in a 13th place finish. Incredibly, Taylor's men were top of the Premier League in October after a 0-0 draw with Sunderland.
However, ridiculous signings such as Ade Akinbiyi (£5 million, still remaining one of the Premier League's worst ever purchases), Matt Jones (£3 million, aka sick note), Richard Cresswell and Junior Lewis (voted the club's worst ever player, and naturally Wycombe's first team coach these days) set up the Foxes to lose 11 out of their last 12 fixtures, including that famous FA Cup defeat at the hands of Wycombe (coincidentally, just look up who their manager now is). Incidentally, Leicester were relegated the following season, finishing rock bottom of the Premier League.
Basically, Benjamin never really lived up to his price tag. 11 goals in 38 starts (discounting substitute appearances) saw Trevor loaned out to no less than 7 clubs in his time with Leicester.
Right now you're probably wondering why there's an article about Trevor. Let's not beat around the bush; the man's still a cult hero around Filbert Way these days. It it because he was often quite comical in front of goal? Quite probably. Or was it for one breakdance celebration after scoring against Sheffield Wednesday? Incredible. Alan Cork, Leicester's then assistant manager described it as "the worst goal celebration I've ever seen" and subsequently fined Benjamin for his routine. Being fair, aside from scoring one solitary goal in 00/01, and 2 goals in 01/02, big Trev actually produced 7 goals in 14 games at the tail end of the 02/03 season (Leicester's promotion to the Premier League).
It seems Trevor Benjamin is just one of those players. Just imagine it: a strike force of Benjamin alongside Ade Akinbiyi. Relegation or not, it's difficult not to laugh. And that's why we still love Trevor, he is simply impossible to dislike. For all those comical performances up front for us Foxes, there were the other moments i.e. Sheffield Wednesday, which will live long in the memory.
Benjamin had a hand in two of Kidsgrove's goals in their 5-2 win over bottom club Brigg Town last Saturday. Oh, and let's not forget he conceded a penalty as well. Good old Trev.
We all hope he succeeds there, and god fordbid settles? Only time will tell, but don't be surprised to be playing alongside him yourself in Sunday League in the near future...