Paul Benson gets wish... but not how he wanted

Muted celebration – Paul Benson after scoring at Roots Hall on Tuesday

Muted celebration – Paul Benson after scoring at Roots Hall on Tuesday

First published in Blues by

PAUL Benson achieved a life long dream by scoring at Roots Hall on Tuesday night.

But the experienced forward wished it had been for Southend United and not Cheltenham Town.

Benson, who grew up supporting Blues, bagged the Robins’ winning goal in a 2-1 triumph against Paul Sturrock’s side.

However, it was a bitter sweet moment for the 33-year-old.

“Scoring at Roots Hall was a special moment for me, but it was strange that it came against Southend,” said Benson.

“Growing up I must have had a season ticket in the West Stand for a good seven or eight years and watched people like David Crown, Richard Cadette, Stan Collymore and Brett Angell all getting goals.

“I always dreamed of going on to goals like they did, so it’s good that I’ve finally scored here but it was disappointing in a way that it was against Southend, not for them.

“The club means an awful lot for me and that’s why I tempered the celebrations after scoring.

“But from a professional point of view it was good to get my first goal for Cheltenham and it was also a very important win so I’ve been left with mixed feelings.”

Benson's father, Charlie, was only left feeling disappointed though.

And Benson revealed he was expecting a hostile reaction from his dad, who remains a passionate Blues fan.

“The last thing my dad said to me before the game was make sure you don’t score, so I’ve let him down in a way,” smiled Benson.

“He’s a massive Southend fan and was sat in the home end the other night while my mum sat in the away end and it’s been like that every time I’ve played here.

“Mum went home happier than dad and he might not talk to me for a little while now.”

Benson will now be bidding to score more goals for Cheltenham during the remainder of his loan spell from Swindon Town which expires at the end of the season.

After that, he has another year left on his contract at the County Ground.

And he is unsure if his ultimate dream of playing for Southend will ever be realised.

“I don’t know if it will ever happen now if I’m honest,” said Benson, who was with Blues as a youngster before catching the eye playing for White Ensign.

“I’d hate to come here when I was past by best because I’d want to do myself justice and get goals.

“Southend have to actually want me first too and I don’t think anything has ever come close to happening yet.

“There have been one or two tentative links but never anything definite and I'm not sure there ever will be now which is a shame.”

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