|Posted by Ravit Anand on August 15, 2012 at 2:20 PM|
New Hampton and Richmond Borough signing Joe Benjamin is eager for the Ryman Premier season to kick-off after enduring a frustrating summer with Carshalton Athletic.
After departing Tonbridge Angels at the end of last season, Benjamin signed for Carshalton but after a dispute with the management left the club and is now glad to be at the Beveree.
“I’m quite happy, I wanted to go to a club that I could settle at and know what they’re doing.
"I played against them twice last season in the Conference South so I know the set-up; I know the manager and the chairman so it was the easy option for me to sign.
“As well as playing against them twice last season, I had a chat with manager Mark Harper and the chairman and as a club I’ve never heard anything bad about them.
“I thought I’d go somewhere where the club’s reliable and the manager does what he says.”
“I had other offers but for me it wasn’t all about the money, it was about being a part of a club where you trust the manager and can push for promotion.”
Having signed for the Robins, Benjamin was preparing for an exciting season with the Surrey outfit but when things behind the scenes didn’t go according to plan he left and joins Ryman Premier League rivals Hampton.
“There was a falling out at Carshalton due to an agreement being made and I felt like the manager went back on his word.
“I didn’t have trust in him so I didn’t want to stay there and be part of a club where I didn’t feel happy.
“I decided to move, I had a couple offers in the Ryman Premier and a couple in the Conference South but Hampton was the one that caught my eye.”
The Beavers have been rebuilding since their relegation from the Conference South, which has included an array of new faces coming into the club and key players from last season departing.
With the likes of Dave Tarpey and Joel Ledgister leaving, Benjamin is aware the onus will be on his shoulders to provide the firepower to take Hampton straight up at the first time of asking:
“Since I’ve come into non-league I’ve played on the wing a lot but Mark wants to play me upfront and one thing with me is I’m a confidence player and I believe in my ability.
“I’m an exciting player and I’ll give the fans something to shout about and hopefully bring some goals and get us back into the Conference South where we belong.”
“The worst scenario would be the play-offs, but the players that I’ve seen there and that have come in have got enough quality to push for first or second.”
A season in the Ryman Premier will not be anything new for the former Northampton Town attacker, having had stints with AFC Hornchurch and Wealdstone a couple years ago and is looking to use that experience to guide Hampton to promotion.
“I had a little stint with Hornchurch and Wealdstone. I enjoyed it at Wealdstone but I got an injury and at Hornchurch it was the same, stop-start. But I feel ready and fit and hopefully I can take the Ryman Premier by storm this season.
“Non-league is non-league but if you look at non-league nowadays the quality of players that have come out of the League there are a lot of good players in non-league.
“With Ryman Premier and the Conference South maybe the quality of the players and the final decision or final pass is better. Apart from that I don’t think there is much difference.”
First up for Mark Harper’s men is a home game against Hastings and, along with getting his name on the scoresheet on a regular occasion, 21-year-old Benjamin is looking for the club to make the Beveree a fortress this coming campaign:
“It’d be good to get off to a good start, to get to the play-offs and win the league you have to make your home a fortress.
“You have to try and win every game that comes to you so hopefully Hastings on Saturday we can get off to a good start, get three points and build on that.
“I want to get my name on the score sheet, I want people to be raving about me but at the end of the table it’s about the team getting three points. If the team does well, it makes me do well.”
Writen by Ravit Anand - @RavitAnand