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It's a family affair for boss Day as Boro add two more

Spencer Day has swooped to strengthen his Farnborough squad with the signing of two cousins, one who learned his trade at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger

Action Images/Adam Holt
Former Arsenal youngster Paul Rodgers has turned down offers from other clubs to join Farnborough - and has brought his cousin, striker Joe Benjamin, along too

Godfather Spencer Day believes a new family tie can help strengthen his Farnborough brotherhood next season after winning the race to sign two highly sought-after cousins this week.

The Boro chief fended off the attentions of several league rivals to land former Arsenal youngster Paul Rodgers and striker Joe Benjamin after both left Billericay Town to resurrect their careers at a higher level.

Right-back Rodgers, 24, and younger cousin Benjamin, 23, were professionals together at Northampton Town before simultaneously falling down the Pyramid and ending up playing at Step 3 with Ryman Premier Billericay and Southern League St Neots Town.

But despite several Conference South clubs offering them a route back into the big time, the pair made the trip down to Cherrywood Road to take a look around this week and after a lengthy chat with the ambitious boss, put pen-to-paper on new season-long deals. 

“I’m delighted to have them on board,” said Day. “Rodgers is someone I’ve wanted for some time but there were a lot of clubs interested.

“He’s a pacey right-back with good pedigree, good in the air, who can also play centre-back as an emergency.

“Joe, however, kind of fell into our lap really. They play a lot together and he too is a welcome addition to our squad. He’s just what we are missing, a big, strong, out-and-out striker, who scores a few goals and will offer us something different, either in a forward two or three.

“Both of them just want to play football at the highest level and were offered more money to play elsewhere, but they liked what they saw here, with the stadium and facilities, and soon bought into the Farnborough way. They’re a great couple of signings for us.”

Versatile Rodgers joined Arsenal as a youngster in 2005 before being handed a professional contract by Arsene Wenger at the start of the 2007-08 season.

But shortly after making his pro debut for the Gunners against Burnley in the League Cup, Rodgers was sent out on loan to Northampton, where he made 11 appearances before signing permanently.

In total, Rodgers played 56 games for the Cobblers before joining Conference Premier side Newport County, where he made 37 appearances and was an unused substitute in the 2011-12 FA Trophy Final which County lost 2-0 to York City.

Since his contract ended at Rodney Parade, Rodgers has had two spells at Billericay – sandwiching a five-game term at St Neots Town – and each time moving alongside his cousin. 

Benjamin, a 5ft 11in front man, has enjoyed a lengthy Non-League career, which includes spells at Eastbourne Borough, Chelmsford City, Tonbridge Angels and Lowestoft Town following his release by Northampton in 2010. He was also on Farnborough FC's books for a brief spell under former boss Steve King.

The pair will join former Staines Town captain Lewis Ferrell, winger Arron Hopkinson and striker Joe Taylor for the start of pre-season training at Cherrywood Road next Saturday (28), with talks on-going with several more potential new arrivals including a fourth striker, a centre-back to replace departed captain Alan Inns and a goalkeeper.

Farnborough will make the trip to Imber Court to face Met Police in their third pre-season friendly of the summer, on Tuesday July 22 (ko 7.45pm).

The game against the Ryman Premier side will follow the visit of League Two Oxford United to Cherrywood Road on Saturday July 12 (ko 2pm) and the trip to Conference South rivals Sutton United on Saturday July 19 (ko 7.45pm).

 
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