ben bailey | defence

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WOLVERHAMPTON

3.2.1991

6'3"

@benbails10

player bio

A popular, loyal performer for the Pitmen who returned to the club for a third spell from Newtown in December 2018

 

A member of the highly successful youth system at Keys Park, Bailey has been one of a number of players in recent seasons to make the step up from the youth team to the first team, following in the footsteps of Tom Marshall, Danny Harvey and Ross Dyer

 

After a consistent season for the youth team in 2007-2008, he was given the opportunity in the first team by manager Phil Starbuck, making four appearances on the substitute's bench towards the end of the campaign

 

Under new manager Dean Edwards, he has continued to join the substitutes, making a late appearance against Prescot Cables in December 2008. He made his first league start for the Pitmen in March 2009 against Marine, capping a fine performance with the man of the match award

 

A week later, he appeared on the team sheet for the game against FC United of Manchester with a new surname, having changed his name by deed poll the previous week from Harbutt to Bailey. His form towards the end of the season saw then-manager Dean Edwards award Bailey a new deal to stay at the club for the 2009-2010 season

 

The start of the 2009-2010 campaign saw Bailey start strongly, weighing in with a number of goals from set-pieces as he cemented his place in the team alongside firstly Richard Walker, then the returning Decio Gomes. He even captained the side in the absence of Sean Platt in April 2010, when Bernard McNally handed the armband to Bailey in the home game with Banbury United

 

The 2010-2011 season saw Bailey start strongly, putting in a number of excellent performances in defence, both at right-back and centre back. However, he lost his place in the side to the returning Decio Gomes in January 2011 but returned to turn in a man of the match performance in the Pitmen's Red Insure Cup Final 1st Leg at Hemel Hempstead Town in March 2011. His excellent form in the final few games of the season saw him stay in the side that finished as runners-up to Truro City

 

 Bailey agreed a deal to stay at Keys Park in the 2011-2012 season in the summer but struggled to hold down a first-team spot early on in the campaign. He was allowed to join Evo-Stik Division One South side Sutton Coldfield Town in September 2011 on loan to get games under his belt. Upon his return, he made his first start of the season in the Pitmen's 1-0 win over Bedworth United in the F.A. Trophy

 

Despite man of the match performances in games against Stafford Rangers and Bradford Park Avenue, Bailey again lost his place in the side after the signing of Jermaine Johnson in February 2012. He rejoined Sutton on loan for a second spell in March 2012, playing six games for the Royals before returning to the club ahead of the Pitmen's play-off semi-final defeat to Bradford (Park Avenue)

 

Ben's long service to the Pitmen continued in 2012-2013 after he agreed a deal to stay at Keys Park for a sixth season in June 2012. This was to be a watershed in his Hednesford career, as alongside Francino Francis, Bailey put in a number of simply imperious performances to lift the Pitmen to a second-place finish in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, scoring a season's best seven goals in the process. Following the side's successful play-off final win over FC United of Manchester in May 2013, Bailey swept the board at the end of season awards, winning the Supporters, Supporters Association, Players and Managers player of the year gongs

 

Ben's reward for a superb campaign was a new contract to tie him to the club for the forthcoming challenge of Skrill North in 2013-2014. As expected, Bailey made the step up with ease, contributing heavily to the Pitmen's excellent start to life back at step two and enjoying another consistent season at centre back. Bailey became the club's longest-serving player in 2014 after Elliott Durrell's departure to Wrexham, agreeing a new deal to extend his stay at Keys Park into a seventh season in June 2014

 

Bailey's superb form at the heart of the Hednesford defence was rewarded in February 2015, as league sponsors Vanarama named Bailey as the league's player of the month for January 2015 after a series of peerless displays for the side. His growing influence on the side saw him take the captain's armband off the suspended Darren Campion for a spell towards the end of the season, as the Pitmen ultimately limped to an eighth-place finish

 

Bailey's consistency was recognised at the end of season presentations, as he swept the board across all awards to end arguably his finest season at Hednesford to date. He was also one of the first players to agree a new deal with the club, further extending his stay at Keys Park into a ninth season. However, 2015-2016 was to be a season of struggle for the Pitmen, as Rob Smith's departure to Telford saw the club pulled apart with a succession of poor managerial appointments and inevitable relegation

 

Bailey's reputation as a fine step two player saw him in much demand at the end of the season, with Smith returning to Keys Park to bring Bailey to the New Bucks Head in May 2016. Playing alongside Paul McCone once again, Bailey enjoyed a consistent season for the Bucks as they finished in a disappointing seventeenth position. June 2017 saw Smith and Larry Chambers sacked by Telford and replaced by Rob Edwards, with Bailey deciding to leave the club after appearing sparingly under Edwards in pre-season. The Pitmen moved quickly to bring their former skipper home to Keys Park, with Bailey penning a one year deal with Hednesford on the same day. His return to the club was heralded by the supporters, although Bailey's form was inconsistent as the Pitmen struggled for form in the early stages of the season

 

The return of Rob Smith to Keys Park was a boost to Bailey, who improved alongside Sam Oji as the Pitmen moved up the table. However, the loan signing of Charlie Gatter saw Bailey spend a spell on the sidelines as Hednesford briefly threatened the play-off places before falling away spectacularly in the latter part of the season

 

In June 2018, Bailey returned to the club for pre-season training in an attempt to impress the club for the forthcoming season. However, he took up the offer of a new challenge before a ball was kicked in July 2018 and joined Welsh Premier League side Newtown ahead of the 2018-2019 campaign

 

In December 2018, after eighteen games for the Welsh side, Bailey returned to Keys Park for a third spell after agreeing a new deal with the club, under the caretaker stewardship of former team-mate Francis

 

Bailey reclaimed the captaincy from Charlie Gatter once more upon his return, handed to him by Francis before the caretaker was replaced by Nicky Eaden in January 2019. Bailey was inspired under the new manager, turning in a string of fine, combative performances alongside new partner Jon Moran as the Pitmen moved away from the drop zone through a fine spell of form in February and March 2019

 

With the Pitmen moved laterally to the Southern Premier League Central in May 2019, club captain Bailey was one of the first players to agree terms with the club for the forthcoming season

 

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