Could Hamza Bencherif Rock The City Kasbah At Last?
While Chesterfield FC contemplate signing former Nottingham Forest & Notts County man-mountain of thrills, spills & skill’s Hamza Bencherif, the Imp that got away – twice – the bean-counters fear they are £130,000 over budget after signing winger Gary Roberts from Swindon Town and defender Ian Evatt from Blackpool. Could Simmo – his business all done before the coming of St Luke remember – yet have the time and energy for one last miracle?
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
The Spireites are determined to get back into League 1 this season and have assembled a side of serious contenders (they beat us 3-1 behind closed doors) for the season ahead. Hamza who had hoped to be plying his trade in the MLS until the deal fell through after leaving Notts County, has been impressing but budget’s are budgets even at the ambitious Spireites it would seem. Chances are they will find the cash, but if not, could Gary Simpson pull another rabbit out of the hat? Far fetched perhaps but Foster? Tomlinson? Rowe? Nolan? Wright? First let us make some semblance of the riddle over the matter of Hamza getting away twice.
Unable to get into Colin Calderwood’s Nottingham Forest side, the manager kindly agreed to a months to get the Algerian under 20 international some much needed match practice. He would work under Schofield and Deeham for just 13 days before they started the Imps annual October manager merry-go-round trend. Hamza started, the day he joined, on Oct 2nd v Bury, then scored in the 2-4 defeat at home to, of all foes, Chesterfield. He was brave, he was popular, but a lack of pace and youthful nativity exposed him at the centre of an Imps defence that was ransacked more regularly than Rome.
Hamza, played twelve inspiring games before going back to Forest but despite no first team opportunities he was not allowed back in the January, with the cash-strapped Imps unable to make a bid. We wound down the days until his contract expired at the end of the season, but again Jacko made no move and he elected to join Keith and Simmo at Macclesfield, during a summer of woe.
Despite breaking his leg in the first season at Macc, Hamza, part of the French Connection, was the midfield rock, scoring 16 in 60 appearances as the club battled back from the death of first Keith and then Butch. The all-but-butt-naked Silkmen flirted with the play-offs until the previous owners sold everything that was not nailed to the floor. Then of course post Xmas scurvy overcame the crew with more on the sick than Merseyside, to end the Simpson tenure. To top it Simmo was allowed to get a Scouser, of the Everton persuasion, in on loan and he returned home twenty minutes into a goal scoring debut – you’ve guessed it injured.
Like most things that have been and gone at Lincoln, they seem to end up at Notts County. Martin Allen (alerted by Schofield and perhaps Matt, son of KA) made Hamza an offer that Macclesfield could not match in June 2011 and he signed a two-year deal starting 17 times with 8 substitute appearances, scoring against Bournemouth and Rochdale. Some poetic justice there of sorts in a 1-0 win. He was popular with the fans, his endurance endears as much as his bravery in truth.
Incoming Keith Curle, who signed 12 players in the Summer of 2012, also rated him highly, although Hamza would be little more than a bench warmer this season. He would only play 11 times, all starts and thanks to injuries, in a promotion chase that fizzled, costing Curle his job in March. Chris Kimonya gave him 1 minute of action away at Doncaster before deciding to release him this summer although he can undoubedly do a job at League 1. Pace is his enemy at the back but in the middle he is a midfield matador, and irresistable precence and an immovable force.
As Hamza was in and out more frequently than wedding tackle, he knew the Meadow Lane gig was up last March within a fortnight of Curle moving on. Simmo was fighting fires at Lincoln, not to mention time with the loan window fast approaching. He twisted the boards arm for some money for loans and, with the Queen blinking on the Bank notes, he moved for an ambition trio. Nat Brown and Tony Diagne came, but alas Hamza, who shares the same agent as the other two, had to turn the deal down at the last minute. At the time an MLS club looked set to take him, but then the deal cooled, leaving him to sit out the final few week of the season at County due to the closure of the loan window.
|FULL NAME||Hamza Bencherif|
|DATE OF BIRTH||February 9, 1988 (age 25)|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Paris,|
|HEIGHT/WEIGHT||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) / All musclet|
|SENIOR CAREER LGE & CUP|
|2007||Lincoln City (loan)||12||(1)|