Club captain Elliott Bennett confirmed his departure on social media yesterday, ending his five-year stay with the club.
Bennett arrived at Ewood Park in January 2016 under then-manager Paul Lambert, scoring his first goal a month later in a 3-2 victory over MK Dons.
Although game time was limited under Owen Coyle in the 2016-17 season, Bennett – or ‘Benno’ as he is affectionately known by the supporters – remained with the club following relegation.
He was a key figure in Rovers’ immediate return to the second tier, with his influence both on and off the pitch a key factor in the promotion.
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Bennett then became the club captain in August 2019 following Charlie Mulgrew’s temporary departure, making 41 appearances across the 2019-20 season.
He found game time limited in the 2020-21 season due to injury, making just two starts – with a further seven appearances coming off the bench.
Despite struggling with injuries and game time at spells during his time here, Bennett is a key figure around the club and a player truly appreciated by the supporters.
Posting on social media, with the caption ‘To the fans [with a love heart emoji]’, Bennett said: “It’s hard to find the right words to express my gratitude and love for your football club. I have had the best time and from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for everything.”
“I have had the pleasure of playing for your football club, captaining your club and getting promoted. I will forever cherish my time and have enjoyed every moment of what has been an incredible journey.”
He finished his heartfelt statement by saying, “I wish you all the happiness, joy and best for the future and will be now cheering on as a fan for the club to achieve great things. Lots of love, Benno.”
Bennett, put simply, is a player every club needs a couple of. He isn’t a player who will beat four players and put one in the top corner, but he gave his all for the shirt and truly played for the club.
After years of being stuck with players who just wanted money, Bennett helped turn the philosophy of the club around and that is something we must be grateful for.
All the best to Benno at Shrewsbury Town, and he is forever welcome back at Ewood Park.