Appearances deceive over bad boy Benno

Maybe it's the tattoos which do it.

Thursday, 22nd September 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 11:51 pm
Pompey winger Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

Or perhaps it’s the fact he’s paid reasonably well to do his job by League Two standards.

It could just be he fulfils the stereotype when it comes to wingers and the ebbs and flow their form go through.

But there very definitely a pre-conceived idea among Pompey fans about the type of person Kyle Bennett is.

And the notion he’s an aloof character with an indifference about his team’s cause couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bennett has had to contend with the murmurs and chuntering from sections of the Blues support in his 16 months at the club.

They have actually become fairly vehement at times as he became a focus for frustrations over home form last term.

It’s fair to say Bennett’s form has fluctuated since his arrival from Doncaster last summer.

But his nine assists in the 2015-16 campaign represented one of the highest of any player in the division, a return none of his team-mates could better.

They were supplemented by seven goals of his own, in a season which, if, not mindblowing, certainly represented a reasonable return from the attacking talent.

The arrival of forward-thinking reinforcements over the summer – most notably Milan Lalkovic – put Bennett’s place in the team under threat, however.

That led to some light-hearted ribbing about him spending time in the stands this season, banter the 26-year-old took in good spirits.

And then came the late interest from Ipswich as the August transfer window closed. The word is the move arrived too late in the day for Paul Cook to arrange a replacement for the player, eventually putting the kibosh on a deal.

Despite the prospect of being able to join a Championship club not coming to fruition, Bennett has not agitated over the situation.

The scenario has been the pre-cursor for the former Doncaster man being left out of the squad all together for three games.

Privately, Cook had concerns about the player been affected by the move not coming fruition.

Naturally, Bennett would have had his own views on the topic. Again, though they were kept to himself.

The same, publicly as well, when talk of a transfer request surfaced a few months back. It was a total myth.

In fact, his first public words didn’t arrive until last Saturday when the media asked for an interview with him after the loss at Accrington.

Instead of ducking the request like many of predecessors would’ve chosen to do, Bennett happily obliged and proceeded to give an honest account of his position.

‘I’ll never sulk about it,’ he said, of being out of favour. ‘I’ll get my head down at the training ground and try to get him (Cook) to pick me.’

And then to the way he’s perceived by fans, a subject which could easily get a player’s back up. Yet, Bennett refused to dodge the subject.

‘I can’t change people’s opinions apart from doing what I can on the football pitch,’ his appraisal came.

‘That’s what I’m here to do. As long as I’m picked I will try to change negative opinions. I just try to love life and get on with it.’

There are plenty of players down the years who’ve found themselves in the firing line with the boo boys.

With Pompey fans valuing perspiration over inspiration it’s often the mercurial types who get it.

That’s a shame really, when the two players who decided to play a game of how many times they could put the ball through their opponent’s legs when Pompey were losing 5-0 at Swindon in 2013, would’ve been better targets.

Or how about Jermain Defoe, who committed his future to the club before disappearing into the treatment room and resurfacing at Spurs?

Likewise, Tal Ben Haim who went AWOL until recovering from a mystery injury in time for the FA Cup final in 2010.

Of course, the greatest factor in getting fans onside is performance.

But it’s worth Pompey fans knowing that, with Bennett, appearances can be misleading, too. Bad boy Benno he is not.