Former Wolves man Robbie scores a winner with his other passion – poetry
For two decades he was the man responsible for scouting new talent and nurturing young players at Wolves.
But many people might be surprised to learn that football isn’t Robbie Kennedy Bennett’s only passion.
The former head of local academy recruitment has been writing poetry since 1989 and has recently published a new book inspired by his Scottish roots.
Robbie, known as Bob Bennett in the football world, said writing has always been his way of relaxing after a busy day at work. “I wanted to keep it separate and let my writing stand on its own,” says the 65-year-old, who retired in May after 21 years at the club. “It still surprises people to this day.
“The club did get to know and a few of my poems have been used over the years. One of these was The Dependable Jody Craddock that he chose for his testimonial brochure.”
From characters on the factory floor to sporting heroes, they’ve all inspired him to put pen to paper over the years.
Robbie, who has now published a total of eight books, passionately believes poetry is about preserving and displaying things that are close to his heart.
And that is why Scotland has also featured heavily in his work with some of his poems having been published on the Poetry of Scotland website.
In 2014, he published his first book Awa’ th’ Rough Hills an’ Awa, which contained poems and descriptive writing about his early years growing up in Rough Hills and Parkfields. But more recently it’s been his Scottish ancestry that has influenced his words and his latest book, Our Trail to Scotland, is the fourth he’s written about researching his family tree.
“My dad was from Fife and my mum was from Wolverhampton,” he adds. “They met when they were in the army. My mum was injured in Egypt when she was hit by a lorry and was transported to Aldershot Military Hospital.
“My dad was in hospital, I think he had been in a motorcycle accident and that’s how they met. They got married and settled in Wolverhampton.”
He knew very little about his late father’s background before he started his research, as he had died in 1989 aged 59.
But Robbie, who has two children and seven grandchildren, says Fife has since become a huge part of his life.
“It’s a second home now. I’ve walked the Fife Coastal Path and climbed the Lomond Hills.
“In recent years I have been drawn to find out as much as I can and to be there as often as possible. It is pleasing to know that family, especially my grandchildren, have made that connection with me. My trail to Scotland became ours and I am proud that they have shared this journey with me; they jump at the chance to come along.”
He has recently been able to trace his family back to his great-great-great grandfather John Bennet, who was buried in Old Mains Churchyard, Dundee, and has made many other discoveries during his research, including uncovering a mystery relating to his surname as records show it originally contained only one letter T.
“It was Bennet in Fife, Dundee and Perthshire – Bennett appeared when Dad was in the army. Our same line also settled in Suffolk and they have the second ‘t’ so I don’t know if it is because of coming to England,” says Robbie, who lives in Codsall with his wife Lynne.
Publishing his books, which have also included a collection of poetry relating to Wolves and verse inspired by Codsall, has given him a great sense of satisfaction. But for Robbie the biggest enjoyment has come from creating a lasting legacy for his family. “I’ll never be a millionaire from book sales but it’s not about that for me. I’m writing these books for my grandchildren so they will always know their roots,” he adds.
For his next book he is planning to delve into the archives again to research the Wolverhampton side of his family. “I’m proud to have two homes and I’ve always felt a deep connection with both places so it’s important for me to know where I come from,” says Robbie.
But he has ruled out writing about his time working at Wolves. “I don’t think it’s something I would do. I’ve met lots of good people in football. I was blown away by the send off the club gave me when I retired. I’ve got lots of good memories from working at the club and the different people I’ve met but I’ve always kept football and my writing separate."
My Trail to Scotland is available from Amazon.