The following statement was announced to Norwich City staff at
9.30am on Wednesday 29th September 1999 by chairman Bob Cooper.
"It is with great regret Norwich City FC announce that their Chief
Executive, Gordon Bennett has resigned from the Club. Gordon has
accepted the position of Chief Executive of Aberdeen FC. Gordon
has been with Norwich City for 10½ years, initially as Youth Development
Officer and for the last 4 years as Chief Executive. He has made
a most considerable contribution to the Club. As Youth Development
Officer he helped recruit outstanding young talent and in particular
Craig Bellamy, Darren Eadie and Chris Llewellyn. As Chief Executive
he saw the Club through its most perilous time and subsequently
put in place a professional and sales orientated management team
at Carrow Road and ensured the Club on the football side steered
itself through the Bosman changes. Gordon is a loss to the Club
but we will benefit from all his hard work and the foundations
for success he put in place. Gordon's decision was obviously a
difficult one but he felt it was time to seek a new challenge.
We wish him every success and are confident that Aberdeen will
benefit enormously from Gordon's professional approach. Finally,
Gordon put in his own way his feelings on his time at Norwich.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my 10½ years at Norwich. I am most
grateful for all the help I have received from the Directors;
above all I especially appreciate the backing I have enjoyed from
my fellow employees, full time and part time, and the Club's supporters;
in return, whatever my deficiencies, I hope the Club has benefited
from my contribution." Gordon will take up his new position in
November and the Board and I am sure everyone associated with
the Club wish him well and thank him for his contribution to Norwich
At the same time Aberdeen Football Club announced the appointment
of fifty- three year old Gordon Bennett as its first ever Chief
Executive. A highly respected figure in the game south of the
border, Gordon, who is relinquishing a similar post at Norwich
City to make the move north, is looking forward to the challenge
"I'm very excited about the prospect of coming to Aberdeen and
have been extremely impressed by the people from the Club I've
met, who all share a similar vision to myself regarding the way
forward. Whilst it is obviously a wrench to be leaving Carrow
Road, I am proud of what I have achieved there, in terms of the
commercial progress of the club, the whole area concerning supporter
communications and youth development which was something I was
closely involved with. One of the main attractions of Aberdeen
is that, like myself, the Club is very ambitious. I am desperate
to gain experience of European football and I genuinely believe
it can be achieved at Pittodrie."
Dons Chairman Stewart Milne believes the time taken to ensure
the Club made the correct appointment will reap substantial rewards
in the future. "The calibre of candidate applying for the position
was absolutely first class and it was a very difficult decision
for the Board of Directors to make. However, in Gordon, I am convinced
we have a man who can spearhead Aberdeen Football Club to reach
the off the field targets required to match our ambitions on the
park. He has a first class record of managing change and that
is going to be crucial with the Club entering what I reckon is
one of the most exciting and dynamic phases in its long history.
At Norwich, Gordon was also actively involved in youth development,
with the system he set in place responsible for finding the likes
of Chris Sutton. As everyone is aware, youth development is one
of the keys to future success here at Aberdeen and Gordon's knowledge
and experience will be invaluable in helping achieve that."
In the early stages of the new post, Gordon will be working closely
with the Chairman and other key people within the Club, although
Stewart emphasises that Gordon's appointment does not mean he
will now be taking a backseat at the football club. "Once Gordon
has settled in, I will be devoting less hours to the day to day
running of the business but I will not be, in any shape or form,
walking away from the Club. I will be remaining on as Chairman
and continuing to play a role in shaping the future of the organisation."
Prior to his spell with Norwich City, where he arrived in 1989
as Youth Development Officer, Gordon was Company Secretary with
West Bromwich Albion for three years and prior to that, Youth
Liaison Officer and then Chief Executive with Bristol Rovers.
Gordon will officially take up his new position on Monday November
8th. Former Aberdeen goalkeeper Bryan Gunn
knows from personal experience that new Pittodrie chief executive
Gordon Bennett will sort out his old club's fat cat underachievers.
Gunn was forced to give up the game earlier this year because
of injury and is currently working as marketing manager under
Bennett at Norwich City. The former Scotland star has revealed
that it was the Dons new man that saved the Carrow Road side from
extinction four years ago. That involved a ruthless plan which
included getting rid of big money players to rescue a team 48
hours from going out of business with debts of 7 million. Gunn
and former Rangers striker Robert Fleck
were among those told that they had to move on for the financial
good of the club. Now he expects that same no-nonsense approach
when Bennett gets to work at ailing Aberdeen at the start of November.
Gunn said:"He is a straight talking man who isn't afraid to make
the tough decisions. If he thinks a clear out is what might help
Aberdeen then he will advise the manager to carry one out. Robert
Fleck, Ashley Ward,John
Newsome and I are among the many players who discovered no-one
is too big a name to Gordon. He saved Norwich and will always
be regarded highly at the club and in the city because of it.
The Norwich he is leaving behind is now a vibrant club with a
five year business plan that is working perfectly. We aren't quite
ready to compete with the big boys yet but we will be eventually
thanks to the plans laid down by Gordon. Norwich's loss is Aberdeen's
Norwich City Chairman Bob Cooper announced that he would initially
combine his role with that of Chief Executive
In February 2000, it was reported on Teletext that Aberdeen
Football Club said its chief executive, who received a warning
from police after being stopped in a red light district, was not
kerb-crawling. Gordon Bennett was stopped in the city in November
during a police crackdown on kerb-crawling, but was not charged.
The club said he was testing out ways of getting to the club's
ground the night before he started his new job. Gordon was forced
to resign from his position at Aberdeen in the summer of 2000
due to ill-health, caused by a virus.
Gordon joined Stoke City looking after their youth set up. He
moved to a more administrative role in June 2004 when Stoke appointed
Noel Blake to develop the youth set-up.
In 2003, he became among the inaugural names to be inducted into Norwich City’s Hall of Fame - and to date is the only executive to have had this honour bestowed upon him.
During 2007, he moved
to take over youth development at Plymouth Argyle. He left the
youth role in the summer of 2012. In September 2012, he was appointed
as director of their Football in the Community charitable trust.
He passed away on 18th September 2020 with many former Canaries playing tribute. Former City youth coach Keith Webb said "Just heard the sad news that former head of youth development at Norwich Gordon Bennett has passed away. “[He]Transformed the youth policy into one of the most productive in the country. Loads of players that came through at that time have him to thank for his devotion to the role.” Darren Eadie wrote: “So sad to hear the news Gordon Bennett has passed away. That man was the reason I and many others joined Norwich City. So many funny memories of Gordon, I will be forever grateful for his tireless dedication to the youth of Norwich City.” Ian Crook added: “So sad to hear of Gordon Bennett’s passing, not many people know but he was the reason I stayed at NCFC for so long, thanks for not releasing my registration documents my friend, I will be forever grateful.”
Andy Marshall tweeted "Very sad news to hear a true Norwich City legend Gordon Bennett has passed away. Did so much for the football club as well as all the young players. RIP Gordon and thank you for the memories " Tom Ramasut added "a huge contribution to youth development football and a big part of my journey in football which I’ll be forever grateful for, thank you Gordon. RIP. " Jamie Mitchell said "Very saddened to hear of the death of my old Youth Development manager Norwich City Gordon Bennett. Gordon was instrumental in me and my mum and dad moving to Norwich and helping us all settle. He was a big influence in my career and I'm forever grateful." Chris Sutton said "This is very sad news about Gordon Bennett. He did so much good for Norwich City but beyond that was a really lovely man".
Norwich City itself has paid tribute to the Hall of Fame member, in a statement published on the club’s website, which says it is “deeply saddened” by the news. It reads: “He was widely known for his dedication and commitment to youth football and played a key role in bringing the likes of Craig Bellamy, Jamie Cureton, Chris Llewellyn, Andy Johnson and Darren Eadie to the club. He was widely credited for guiding the club through a challenging financial period. He was the driving force behind several supporter-led schemes, one of which helped generate a significant sum of money that would be invested back into the club’s academy.