Hampton & Richmond’s summer signing Joe Benjamin has come in from the football cold and is already part of the furniture at the Beveree.
The 21-year-old striker has played for seven non-league clubs since 2010, rarely making more than 10 appearances each time, and he spent a turbulent summer at Carshalton Athletic before signing forms with the Beavers.
And it is the man management style of Beavers’ boss Mark Harper and the buzz in the changing room that has convinced Benjamin he is at Hampton to stay.
“I left Carshalton because agreements over the contract were not fulfilled and when they offered me a different deal, I just didn’t feel happy and I didn’t trust the manager,” said the former Northampton Town man.
“When I came out of league football I found it very hard to get settled. I got an injury and I didn’t know that at some clubs if you get an injury you only get half your money, and little things like that were different and I found it hard.
“At Hampton, I feel happy and wanted. I want to be here at the end of the season and get us promoted and I want to play for Hampton in the Blue Square South.”
A 1-0 opening day win at Hastings and a 3-0 defeat of Hendon on Tuesday – in which Benjamin bagged a brace – has given the Beavers a 100 per cent start to their Ryman League Premier Division campaign.
Benjamin, who is studying sports science through a PFA course at Roehampton University, said: “I am a confidence player. The better I play, the better I feel.
My confidence is high and I don’t think the Hendon left back enjoyed his night against me.
“It rubs off on all the boys – if you’re winning games the whole team gets confident and you believe in each other and the manager.”
Not only does Benjamin exude confidence, he has also become the official DJ in the changing room.
“I am a bubbly person and I like to make people laugh. I play some funky house or dance music before a match to get everyone up for the game,” he revealed.
And the Beavers boss has been impressed with Benjamin’s influence.
He added: “He has fitted in really well with the lads, his personality stands out and we’re always looking for strong characters, not only on the pitch but also in the changing room.
“Fortunately he can back it up on the pitch.
“I know Joe has played at many clubs but I have never seen anything to suggest he will be off soon – although this is non-league football and you never know.
“I’m the type of manager who will involve the players in all decisions. Maybe Joe likes that involvement and feeling part of something.”
The Beavers’ travel to Canvey Island tomorrow before Thurrock on Monday.