Bennett told he can look for new clubBy Stephen Gillett
July 28, 2008
Reading defender Alan Bennett claims it is hard being shown the exit at Madejski Stadium when other players are itching to jump ship.
Irishman Bennett skippered a Reading reserve side to victory in Steve Richardson’s testimonial on Saturday – just days after being told he has no future with Royals.
The centre-back joined Reading from Cork City in January 2007, but has since been unable to establish himself.
Royals boss Steve Coppell has now started to trim his squad and, with eight centre-backs on his books, both Bennett and Sam Sodje have been told they don’t figure in their manager’s plans this season.
While the rest of the Reading squad travelled to Sweden for their pre-season tour last Tuesday, Bennett was reeling after being told his Royals career has reached a ‘dead end’.
He said: “The manager just reckons I’ve come to a full stop in terms of my progress here. I think I can give more. I don’t think I’ve been given a fair chance to be honest. But his opinion is the main opinion and he’s made up his mind.
“The most disappointing thing is that people want out and I just want to play. It’s been made publicly clear that some people want to leave, while I’m here busting my gut to try to
“I want to play and stay here, but I’ve just got to look forward to the future – hopefully another club will come and take me.”
The defender is now determined to convince Coppell he has made a mistake.
He added: “For me, it’s a sense of unfinished business. If I have to go and prove myself somewhere else and then come back, I’ll do that. I don’t mind going the long way round.
“Perversely enough, him telling me that I’ve hit a dead end has motivated me even more to show him that I haven’t.”
Bennett showed his professionalism by marshalling his defence to a clean sheet against a Basingstoke side who were simply outclassed for periods of Saturday’s game.
Goals from Gary Frewen, Nicholas Bignall (2), Kelvin Bossman and Simon Church did the damage for Royals, as Basingstoke and Reading fans alike turned out to honour Richardson.
Left-back Richardson played in excess of 450 games for Royals before moving on to Basingstoke via Newbury. After a successful playing career at The Camrose, Richardson
coached at the club and captured the Hampshire Senior Cup as caretaker manager last season.
Now with Farnborough Town, Richardson, who made a cameo appearance at the start of the match, paid tribute to the fans and staff at his former club.
“It was a great day. It was good that Reading came down and joined in with it all. Hopefully everyone enjoyed it."