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MANAGER: It's the group, team ethos

More from Chris Beech on the Rhys Bennett charity fundraiser

24 January 2021

A sum of just over £4,200 was the final donation made to EFL charity partner Mind by defender Rhys Bennett who, in an event that captured the imagination, raised the bulk of the cash during an online streaming session which saw the popular Blue entertain his followers for over 12 hours last Wednesday.

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Having sent his initial £500 target sailing over the Warwick Road End like a Richard Keogh penalty, he hosted a second online session on Friday afternoon to take the then already impressive figure of £3,600 past the £4,000 mark.

Which, of course, he achieved.

Speaking about the event at his weekly press conference, manager Chris Beech said: “I’m very proud of what’s been done, excellent, and Rhys should receive great accolade for that, 100 per cent.

“Also the people that supported him doing it, and the way people got involved within it, and our great supporters that got involved at the day’s event. It’s not something he talked about with me … I’m not bad, I know how to work the remote control now on my TV, but Brandon was telling me about it all day, what he was up to.

“It’s just a magnificent effort from everybody. All it really does for me sat here talking to you now is sum up our squad, the honesty, hard work and integrity in the players.

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“I feel that’s why we’re capable of trying to do something we really shouldn’t do – it’s because of that group, team ethos, Rhys has done an extension of that for a great cause, in a difficult way, and well done to him and everyone who got involved.”

As the big defender said himself, it wasn’t just about him as well over half of the squad helped out through the day with question-and-answer sessions, donations of competition prizes and encouragement for an event that literally snowballed its way to success.

“I’m very proud of the group, very proud of how and what Rhys did,” the gaffer commented. “In terms of the dressing room here, they’re only what I try and create and it’s what I’ve done ever since I first started out.

“I was 29-30 when I started coaching at Bury in the youth system, the culture and environment you create comes from having a good workforce. Having cultivated that, the people within it understand it.

“I think we’ve been able to do it here, and to hear that Rhys says it’s the best he’s been in, I’m pleased he feels that way. He was part of a very strong dressing room at Rochdale, so that is very pleasing to hear.”

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And a by-product of the informal get-together was the opportunity presented by the players which gave their fans the chance to see the human side of the men behind the blue strip.  

“Modern society is really interactive now, isn’t it, with social feeds and the likes,” he said. “Whenever I get wind of stuff like that, I only know through Brandon, he’s on everything by the way, he knows everything before you guys get to know.

“He already knows it’s happening, whether it’s a released player, some sort of information on the internet, he trawls, I don’t know how he does it. In fact, he does it by not doing what he should do at home and make his bed!”

“To be interactive like that, I think it’s great,” he continued. “When Brandon let me know what was going on, he came downstairs and said ‘Dad, all the supporters want you to ring Rhys, they’re trying to get Rhys to ring you.”

“My reply was, ‘What are you talking about Brandon, have you done your medicines yet!’ But when Rhys rang me they were on about £700, he said the public have spoken, they want to speak to you.

“I set him a challenge that I’d speak if they could reach £1,500, so for him to smash it, it’s just well done to him and to everybody that got involved.”

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