Stars Of The Past - Albert Bennett

Albert Bennett was born in Durham on the 16th of July 1944. In a career lasting just over ten years, he made nearly 250 Football League appearances (and scored 101 goals) for three clubs, the last of which was Norwich City.

He joined the Canaries in February 1969 from Newcastle United, for a transfer fee of £25,000 and was the direct replacement for Wolverhampton Wanderers bound Hugh Curran. His debut for City was on the 1st of March 1969 in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City at Carrow Road. Albert Bennett came to the club with the record of being a proven goalscorer and having top flight experience. He was a busy centre forward, tall and rangy, who certainly knew how to put himself about, and he was immediately popular with fans who identified him as a 'bit of a character'. Through to the end of that first season, he made 12 appearances, but managed only one goal - in the 5-2 defeat at Portsmouth.

His strikes partners during his time at Carrow Road were Bryan Conlon, Neil O'Donnell or Peter Silvester. In 1969-70 season he found the net 8 times in 27 appearances, including a celebrated hat-trick in the 4-1 away win at Pompey at the end of the campaign. However, his career here was blighted by injuries, making it a stop start existence for Albert as far as the first team was concerned. But when available he certainly added colour to the side, not least with his white boots which were something of a rarity back in those days. And he knew how to score goals.

The next season, 1970-71, was sadly to be his last as a professional footballer. He netted seven more times with a ratio of one goal every three games. But injuries continued, and on the 20th of February 1971 when he came off the bench at Filbert Street in the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City, it was to be Bennett's last appearance for Norwich. Shortly after he retired. His final tally as a Canary was 60 appearances in all competitions and 16 goals.

His first club was Chester Moor Juniors in Durham, and his first professional contract came at Rotherham United in 1962. Whilst there he played for England U23's and scored 70 times for the Millers. Newcastle United paid £27,000 to take him back up to the North East in 1965. Twenty two league goals followed for the Magpies during a period in which they qualified for Europe for the first time via the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. He was well liked at St James' Park and picked up the nickname of 'Ankles'. He was the first player to be named as a substitute for Newcastle United though he was not used (that distinction fell to another former Canary, Ollie Burton). During a match against Liverpool he was subjected to a rugby style tackle by a young Emlyn Hughes. It resulted in Hughes being referred to as 'Crazy Horse' - a name that stuck with him for ever more.

After retirement, Albert Bennett had a spell as player manager of Bury Town. He stayed in the Norwich area, playing local league football, and went on to run a pub.

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