Them and us – Stan Bentham (Wigan Athletic and Everton)

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The visit of Everton gives TNS the opportunity to delve back into the formative years of Wigan Athletic whilst also paying tribute to a man who is well deserving of his Evertonian folklore status.  Introducing Stan Bentham…

… Stan who was born in Leigh on 17th March 1916, was first spotted by the Bolton Wanderers scouts playing for his local outfit Lowton St Mary’s.  He was offered a trial for the Burnden Park outfit but the club decided against offering the hard working inside half a contract.

He then decided to try his luck with Wigan Athletic, signing for the club prior to the 1933/34 season Cheshire County League championship winning season. He put in some sterling displays as he worked hard for the reserves and manager Charlie Spencer had no qualms about playing talented 17 year old in the first team when needed.

Stan played just five games during the campaign netting 3 goals, including one in a 7-0 hammering of Ashton National at Springfield Park in March 1934.  Club scouts from Everton meanwhile had been monitoring his progress and on New Years Day 1935 he signed for the Toffees  for a club record fee for a Cheshire County League club at the time.

His debut for Everton came on  23rd November 1935 against Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.  Everton ran out 4-0 winners in front of a crowd of 10,247 and Stan and Charles Leyfield each netted a brace.  Also playing for Everton that day were the legendary Joe Mercer and Ted Sagar, along with future Latics manager Billy Cook.

Stan missed only one game during the Toffees’ 1938-39 Division One championship winning season but whilst at the peak of his career along came the Second World War to disrupt it.  After the hostilities he remained an Everton player until he hung up his boots in 1948.  In total he made 110 league appearances for the Toffees, netting on seven occasions.  He also played in 15 FA Cup games without finding the net.

His love affair with the Goodison Park club continued as he stayed on the Everton coaching staff for a further 14 years.

He only left the club in 1962 to become the coach at Luton Town, which was his last career move within the game.  Stan  passed away in a nursing home in Southport on 29th May 2002, when he finally succumbed to a long standing battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

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