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Gordon Bennett R.I.P.

Norwich Career: 1988-1999 (Youth Development Office & Chief Executive)
Current Club:
Date of Birth:  
Nationality: English

Biography

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 10 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 10 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 City."

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 at Pittodrie.
"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 gain."

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.



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