Even as a 16-year-old YTS trainee making his United debut against Gillingham in February 1996, Trevor Benjamin stood out. By the time he scored his first goal, seven months later against Scarborough, it was plain that the U’s were nurturing a very special talent.
And when, in the summer of the year 200, Trevor left for Leicester City for the highest fee United have ever received, when he was still only 21, U’s supporters were left ruing the departure of one of the most popular players ever to wear the black and amber.
He had started 116 games, made 29 substitute appearances and scored 49 goals in all competitions, but the bare statistics don’t tell the whole story. Fans had come to love the way that Trevor, built like a cruiserweight boxer and capable of making the most of that glorious physique, also possessed the lightness of touch that enabled him to apply the deftest of finishes to an attacking move.
True, he was capable of putting the frighteners on any defence as he embarked on a trademark barnstorming run. But no one who saw him, away to Brighton in 1998, controlling with his back to goal, swivelling past his marker and smashing the ball into the top corner from 20 yards, could doubt that this was a multi-talented footballer.
In the course of a career that earned him England Under-21 recognition and two caps for Jamaica, he won the hearts of nearly 30 clubs’ supporters. For Abbey habitués, however, he will forever be a true U.