90′s Time Tunnel – Benito Carbone
In this week’s instalment – we look at a little Italian attacker that took the Premier League by storm in the mid 1990′s. That’s right, it’s… oh no, not him – we’re talking about Benito Carbone.
Benito started his career in 1988 at Torino, where he played eight times. He then moved to Reggina in 1990. Then he went to Casertana in 1991. He then went to Ascoli in 1992. This was followed by returning to Torino in 1993. He then went – well, I think you can guess where this is going. SIX different clubs in six years in Italy, where he went to places like Napoli and Internazionale along the way. He is widely known as one of the biggest nearlymen in Italian football – promising so much, but not delivering as expected.
He made the move to England in 1996, deciding to sign for Sheffield Wednesday. Back then, Sheffield Wednesday were a decent club that were trying to live up to its cup final exploits of the early nineties, and Carbone moved to the Owls for £3 million. He played 96 times for the club, scoring 25 goals; in fact, the second most goals he has ever scored for any club. He was the top goalscorer for Sheffield Wednesday in the 1998-1999 season with nine goals and was voted the fans’ player of the season. Scoring nine goals and becoming the player of the season – no wonder they went on the slide they did.
Unfortunately, he got into a contract dispute with Wednesday in 1999 and ended up moving on to Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee. He played a season there, where he got a FA Cup final losers’ medal in the last one at the old Wembley, where they lost 1-0 to Chelsea. Other highlights included a hat-trick against Leeds United in the aforementioned FA Cup, including this impressive 35-yarder:
He then moved to Premier League minnows, and my favourite team in the top flight ever (excluding my own of course), Bradford City on a free transfer. He didn’t start off the best foot, having some issues with his wages, but he quickly endeared himself to the Valley Parade faithful, bagging some memorable goals in their second season in the Premier League. I loved Bradford City – because they were in the top flight but in essence, were absolute rubbish. Maybe I could do a Time Tunnel on them in the future… But I digress.
He actually stayed on with the club after their relegation to the old Division 1, but was loaned out to Premier League club Derby County in 2001, and then moved to Middlesbrough in the same season, seemingly to avoid being relegated twice in two seasons.
He left Bradford City once they went into adminstration and moved back to Italy, where he played for Como, Parma, Catanzaro and Vicenza, before moving to the A-League to play for Sydney FC, as a replacement for Dwight Yorke. In his first game, he scored and set up one, and many people thought he would be the perfect fit once the former Manchester United striker Yorke had moved back to England. He only played two more times before a hamstring injury put him out for the remainder of his contract, and it wasn’t extended.
He then went back (again) to Italy to play for provincial side Pavia, where he actually stayed for three years and bagged his highest ever tally of goals for one club with 27. After his retirement, he stayed on at Pavia as under-19 coach and was then appointed manager, where he guided them out of the Lega Pro Prima relegation zone and to a safe position in the league. In 2011, he was the shock appointment at Serie B club Varese, jumping him up several divisions. He was a tad out of his level, being sacked from his position in October of the same year.
So there you have it, a man who had many, many clubs, played in many, many leagues, but is mainly known for playing in middle to lower-level teams in the Premier League. 19 years, 17 clubs, 515 appearances, 91 goals. A definite journeyman.