Bob Benson
Bob Benson

Bob Benson

Bob Benson is among a rare group of players who have died directly as a result of playing football.

The England international full back joined Arsenal in November 1913, shortly after the Club had moved from Woolwich to North London. He made his debut later that month in a 1-1 draw with Bristol City.

Profile

Name Bob Benson
Arsenal Career 1913 - 1916
Position:
Appearances 54 (54 starts, 0 as a sub)
Goals 7

Benson played 54 times for Arsenal over two seasons and, although he usually lined up at full back, he did fill in at centre forward for some of those appearances. He got among the goals too, scoring seven times as the Club pushed for promotion to the First Division.

During the Great War, Benson gave up football to work at the Royal Arsenal munitions factory in Woolwich. But he kept in touch with the Club and, on February 19, 1916, tragedy struck after a typical act of generosity.

Benson attended a London Combination match at Highbury and, with his former team-mate Joe Shaw unavailable at short notice, he volunteered to line up against Reading.

Benson had not played a game for nearly a year however and he was patently not match-fit. He collapsed on the pitch during the second half, was taken to the dressing room and died shortly afterwards. It was later revealed that Benson had died of a burst blood vessel from a long-standing medical condition - he was just 33.

Arsenal held a testimonial match in Benson's honour three months later against a Rest Of London XI, with proceeds from the game going to his widow.