Although born in Arbroath in December 1942, John Benson was brought
up in Manchester playing for Stockport Boys before signing as
an apprentice with Manchester City. He turned professional with
the Maine Road side in July 1961 and made 44 appearances before
transferring to Torquay in June 1964. After 240 games and 7 goals
for the Devon side, John transferred to Bournemouth in October
1970. At Bournemouth, he met John Bond and as his captain, formed part of the Bond/Machin/Benson
dynasty that would come to Norwich in December 1973. Prior to
his move to Norfolk, John played four games on loan with Exeter
in March 1973. John made 37 appearances for Norwich scoring a
solitary league goal.
He returned to Bournemouth in January 1975 to become player manager
and made another 57 appearances. In January 1979, John returned
to Norwich City and John Bond to act as youth team coach and scout.
In October 1980, he followed John Bond to Manchester City to become
his Assistant Manager and acted as caretaker manager for four
months after Bond's dismissal in February 1983. He managed Burnley
from August 1984 through to May 1985 before undertaking a coaching
role in Dubai and in Kuwait with Al Nasa. He returned to England
in 1990 to become Barnsley's chief scout under Mel
Machin. He returned to Carrow Road in March 1994 as as an
Administrative Assistant assisting John Deehan
whilst also coaching the Canaries' goalkeepers. After Deehan's
resignation in April 1995 and Martin O'Neill's
appointment as manager, John was squeezed out at Carrow Road.
He jumped at the chance to become Assistant Manager to Deehan
when he took over at Wigan and stepped into the managerial shoes
for the 1998 pre-season when Deehan left to join Steve
Bruce at Sheffield United.
Although he did not get the permanent position at Wigan in the
summer of 1998, John stayed with the club and again became caretaker
when Roy Matthias was sacked in May 1999. On 1st June 1999, it
was announced that John was to be the new manager of Wigan and
would have £3million to spend on new players in an attempt to
escape from Division Two. John managed to lead Wigan to a play-off
final at Wembley but unfortunately lost 3-2 to Gillingham on 28th
May 2000. John moved upstairs to become general manager as Bruce
Rioch took over day-to-day affairs as manager on 26th June
2000. Rioch's departure led to the arrival of Steve
Bruce as manager in April 2001 and a new role for John as
he concentrates on youth development
John teamed up again with Bruce in December 2001 when he became
part of Bruce's coaching set-up at Birmingham City (as did Mark
Bowen). John left the Blues, where he was working as general
manager to join Wigan on 2nd June 2006 in a role designed to prvide
linkage between the playing and administrative aspects of the
Benson left Wigan on 25th May 2010, having served the Latics for
ten years, and now aged 67. Benson said he fully understood the
fact Roberto Martinez wants to bring in his own people around him.
Chairman Dave Whelan said: Its 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.
After working briefly for Steve Bruce at Sunderland, John passed
away on 31st October 2010 at the age of 67 after a short illness.