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John Harvey Benson (born 23 December 1942) was a Scottish football player and manager and is currently on the staff of Wigan Athletic. He was born in Arbroath.

John Benson's long career in football began with Stockport Boys before signing as an apprentice with Manchester City. He turned professional with the Maine Road side in July 1961 and made 44 league appearances before moving to Torquay United in June 1964. He established himself as a regular in the Torquay side and was a member of the 1965-66 promotion side, Torquay finishing 3rd in Division Four. After 240 league games and 7 goals, Benson left for Bournemouth in October 1970 and was appointed captain by manager John Bond. He played four games on loan with Exeter City in March 1973, before moving to Norwich City in December 1973 where he made 37 appearances scoring a solitary league goal. He returned to Bournemouth in January 1975 to become player-manager and made another 57 league appearances. He failed to save the Cherries from relegation at the end of his first season, and led them to 6th place the following year. However, this was the nearest the Cherries would get to winning back their Division Three status under Benson as they finished 13th and 17th the following years. The 1978-79 season looked to be going the same way and he was replaced at Dean Court by Alec Stock.

In January 1979, Benson returned to Norwich City to act as youth team coach and scout, working under his former colleague from Bournemouth and Torquay, John Bond. In October 1980, he followed Bond to Manchester City as his assistant and briefly took over as manager after Bond's dismissal on 9 February 1983. At the end of the season, with City relegated after a home defeat by Luton Town (which resulted in Luton manager David Pleat dancing on the pitch), Benson was replaced by Billy McNeill. He rejoined John Bond as coach to Bond's Burnley team, and again replaced Bond as manager in August 1984. His spell in charge at Turf Moor lasted until May 1985, when he was sacked after Burnley's relegation.

He subsequently took coaching jobs in Dubai and with Naser in Kuwait. In 1990 he was appointed Chief Scout at Barnsley, a post he held until April 1984 when he returned to Norwich City assisting then manager John Deehan with administrative duties, whilst also coaching the Norwich goalkeepers. Deehan resigned in April 1995, and was replaced by Martin O'Neill, Deehan subsequently being appointed manager of Wigan Athletic. In October 1995, Benson became Deehan's assistant at Wigan. In the summer of 1998, Deehan left to coach at Sheffield United, with Benson taking over as caretaker. He was offered the job, but declined on the grounds of ill-health, Ray Mathias taking over instead, with Benson remaining in an advisory capacity. With expectations high and Wigan missing out on promotion, Matthias was sacked, and on the 1st of June 1999 Benson was appointed as Wigan's manager. As Wigan settled into their new home at the JJB Stadium, Benson's side went 26 league games undefeated, before losing at home to Oldham Athletic on the 7th of January 2000, Benson picking up 2 Manager of the Month awards in the process. Towards the end of the season Wigan lost their form and found themselves in the play-off final at Wembley against Gillingham. A few days prior to the game, Benson had announced he was stepping down but remained to lead his team out at Wembley and ultimately a 3-2 defeat after being 2-1 up with only 7 minutes of extra time remaining. In June 2000 Bruce Rioch took over as Wigan manager, with Benson appointed as general manager. In April 2001, Rioch was replaced by Steve Bruce and Benson's role changed to that of youth development officer. A month later Bruce also left, and the consequent arrival as Paul Jewell resulted in Benson being given the title of Director of Football. On the 10th of December 2001 he resigned from his post at Wigan to link up again, this time as assistant manager, with Steve Bruce, when Bruce finally completed his acrimonius move from Crystal Palace to Birmingham City. He later became General Manager at Birmingham, but left on 2 June 2006 to rejoin Wigan Athletic, his role described by the BBC as linking the playing and administrative sides of the club[1]


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