Mon, 28. Oct. 2013

Local Boy Ben Comes Home To Roost

Ben Algar is a player who has taken to Sheffield FC like a duck to water - playing left wing, left back, forward, scoring goals and defending like a hero - and why shouldn’t he? He is of course one of the many players in the SFC side that were born within a short distance of the Home of Football, and we caught up with him after another great performance against Eastwood, to find out more about the local lad turned Clubbie - and to find out about his interesting career. 

“I was born in Dronfield, I started as an eight-year-old at Sheffield United, and I stayed there until I was fifteen. I was told I wasn’t going to get a scholarship; I had a year left on my contract, so I had a trial at Chesterfield who offered me the scholarship I wanted. I went on to get a pro-contract for two years, the manager (Lee Richardson) got sacked in 2009, and because the manager’s contract wasn’t renewed it meant I didn’t get a new contract.” 

“I went to Matlock Town to do pre-season training, they liked me so I signed there for a year, but I wanted to stay in full-time football so I went to USL Club FC New York. There’s not much difference in the play between the football over there and the professional scene here, people see Americans as fat and unfit, but once you’ve been out there and lived their life - like I did for seven or eight months - you’ll realise the amount of fitness they do in comparison to their English counterparts is frightening.”

Despite Ben’s initial benefits from life in the US, his career hit an unexpected stumbling block: “Their fitness regime is just stupid, and that is the fittest I’ve ever been in my career and I was flying at that stage, so it was sad that the team crashed in the way it did. Sadly for me, the team folded due to the President Doug Peterson pulling the backing that he’d pumped in early doors, which was a shame and I had to bounce back.”

So it was a return to England: “This meant I went back to Matlock, where I stayed for a further two years. I enjoyed it at Causeway Lane, but I wanted a fresh start, so I joined Sheffield FC at the beginning of this season. The manager there is great, as are the players, but sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward.”

It didn’t take much for Ben to settle in here in S18, and even though the mood is great at the moment, he concedes the team can still get better: “The lads here have got a great spirit at the moment, we’ve just got to stay strong, and sometimes we come out ahead at half-time and have to realise we have to go again as if it is nil-nil. Sometimes though, it seems the opposition come out stronger and we seem to fold a bit too easy sometimes, but we are having to learn to push it through to the end and get our three points.”

Ian Whitehorne has played Ben just about everywhere except centre-half and goalkeeper, but where does he see his favoured spot in the side? “I like to play on the left wing, though one of my favourite positions is to be in the hole, behind the front men - so I have a free role basically. It means I can pick up the ball and run at defenders, which I did in preseason, and I scored seven in nine games. Obviously Zeph Thomas has come in and done a good job, and there have been a few players who’ve been in and out, and with injuries the manager has got to accommodate other players. As long as I’m playing, I’m not bothered where I play; I’ll just do my job and do the best that I can.”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who Ben sees as his role-model - “Seeing as I’m left-footed and like to cut in, I obviously see Lionel Messi as an inspiration to me, he is the best player that has ever lived. Everyone knows what he is going to do, but no-one can go near him, and for year after year he’s just got better and better - I just idolise him. Every player in the world aspires to be like he is, so it would be great to meet him one day.”

Finally, how does Ben feel about playing for the Club on his doorstep? “It’s great playing for the World’s First Football Club, I mean I am local and I live half a mile up the road, so I can’t complain at all really. Anyone who’s into football should love to come down and find out what it’s all about, it’s a big Club, we are going places and doing things - and we’ll get bigger and bigger - and hopefully we’ll go up the leagues. We’ll see how it goes on.”

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