FORMER Cherries defender and player-manager John ‘Benno’ Benson has died at the age of 67 following a short illness.

Benson had two spells at Dean Court, winning promotion as a player in 1971 and managing the club between 1975 and 1979.

Initially signed by John Bond from Torquay for £12,000 in October 1970, Benson followed Bond to Norwich in December 1973.

He rejoined Cherries as player-boss in January 1975 and failed to save them from relegation after replacing Trevor Hartley.

Benson presided over a promotion near miss in 1976 when Cherries finished sixth in Division Four before he resigned in December 1979.

He made 178 appearances for Cherries before Bond appointed him as youth coach at Norwich and his assistant at both Manchester City and Burnley. Benson went on to manage Manchester City, Burnley and Wigan.

Ex-Cherries boss Kevin Bond, son of John Bond, told the Daily Echo: “Benno was involved in football all his working life and will be sadly missed by everybody who knew him. I knew him for most of my life and I knew he hadn’t been well. His passing is very sad.

“He played with my father at Torquay in the late 1960s. He was an unbelievably whole-hearted player who would play anywhere.

“I also worked under him when he was assisting my dad at Manchester City and Norwich and he was an excellent coach.”

At the time of his death, Benson had been working with Steve Bruce at Sunderland.