Latics’s first signings of the summer look to have added to the frustration of fans new and old, as none of them are players and an old ‘friend’ returns. John Benson, Mark Seagraves and Neil Fitzhenry all join the backroom team in some capacity although stories that Benson is to be the youth team feng shui consultant have probably been made up (like just now).

Seagraves joins as first team coach having left Blackpool along with Steve McMahon some time ago. Mark featured in the same Liverpool youth team as Jewell and his playing career took a similarly inspirational route including a period with Bolton when times were ‘really good’. What his arrival means for David Lowe only time will tell.

I got all confused and nearly told you that Fitzhenry was the ex-lactic centre half that secured a transfer to Manchester United, later moving to Scotland and contracting TB. However that was the other nearly ginger Neil, Whitworth. Instead the returning Neil was the young centre half that never quite broke into the first team moving on to a career that took in the dizzy heights of Leigh, Chester, Workington, Southport and a spell in Ireland. Neil takes over the role as youth team physio.

However it is Benson’s appointment that has caused the biggest stir. He originally joined Latics during John Deehan’s reign and during a period spanning the best part of 6 years held the posts of Manager, Assistant Manager and Director of Football. This period was an unsettled one for Latics and in all 7 men held the managers post. For many reasons, not least because they don’t think he was very good at his job, Benson is not a popular figure amongst Latics fans.

Things got so bad during the latter days of his last spell that Dave Whelan threatened to pull out of the club if those nasty fans didn’t stop picking on poor old “Latics through and through” john. For those of us with long memories, it’s likely to be a case of guilty until proven innocent with this appointment. Especially as his job title is wishy washy to say the least.

It’s fair to say that his presence won’t be looming quite so large over Paul Jewell as the last time they worked together and I think that it’s clear who works for who this time around. Jewell has been complimentary about Benson, both now and in the past but it doesn’t appear that he has made this appointment and, worryingly, he’s still not signed that new contract. Less worryingly he wouldn’t be expanding the rest of his staff if he were about to bugger off, would he?

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