When Lisandro Martinez joined Manchester United this summer, the United faithful were excited to see how the 'Butcher of Amsterdam’ would cope in the Premier League. Turns out, a real butcher was up the road at Trafford FC, carving open opposition defences in the FA Cup.
Tom Bentham is the six-foot-four-inch front man of the team currently playing in the eighth tier of English football and, the day before Martinez made his Manchester United debut, the butcher scored a hat-trick in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup as Trafford beat AFC Liverpool 6-0.
“Yeah, it's fantastic. It was a special week for me because I had a little baby boy and then I’ve gone and scored a hat-trick, so I’ve dedicated that to him and obviously the result as well was fantastic,” Bentham tells The Sportsman, who are back at Shawe View ahead of their preliminary round against Runcorn Linnets on Saturday.
- Why the FA Cup means so much to clubs like Trafford
“Bit of a weird one, because we were 4-0 up after 25 minutes and then with the heat we just took our foot off the pedal. We got a bit of a roasting at half-time because it is not what we are trying to do here, we want to set high standards and put teams to the sword. But I think 6-0 was quite ruthless from us.”
This has been something of a homecoming for Bentham. Across two seasons just over a decade ago, the teenager made 31 appearances for Trafford scoring 8 goals and he returned to his fledgling club this summer. But did you know that the world’s most famous domestic cup competition was created in the original offices of The Sportsman, and this season we are following the famous trophy from the extra preliminary round all the way to the final at Wembley Stadium. At Trafford, whom we started our journey with, Bentham and the rest of the squad are all too aware of how crucial this competition is.
“As players, you only get to play in the FA Cup a handful of times during your career if you are lucky and there’s not too many games we can play. So when they come around you have got to grasp them, and especially for a club like Trafford, the further we can go, it’s great for team bonding, it’s great for the team to go as far as they can. I think everyone knows we aren’t going to win the FA Cup but it's great to be in it and to have those memories.”
Bentham has started the season on fire and has slaughtered opposition defences so far this term, notching his fifth goal in three games in midweek. This weekend, Runcorn Linnets await as Bentham looks to continue his goalscoring form since his baby boy was born.
“For a little club like Trafford in the big scheme of things in the FA Cup - to go as far as you can, and the finances, the publicity for the club, everyone around the area - the more we can progress in this competition then the better it is. It is what it is all about, the FA Cup for me, it is what everybody dreams about as a kid, playing in the FA Cup.
“That’s the thing with this level. It’s a big commitment, like a lot of the players will have been working all day today, turning up today to training. It’s good, I’m a butcher and then I come and play football at the weekend, it’s a good life!”
When asked if he has managed to get a deal with the local burger van at Shawe View over the line, he smiles and laughs: “No not yet, I’m still working on them!”
The Sportsman will be back for part three of our Road to Wembley with either Trafford or Runcorn Linnetts. Subscribe to The Sportsman’s YouTube channel for more original content.
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