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12th tier club sign ex-Premier League and EFL player

A club from the 12th tier, Stoneclough FC, have managed to get an ex-Premier League and EFL player to sign a new contract.

Ex-England U21 international Ben Marshall has decided to stay put at the West Lancashire League outfit for another season, it has been announced.

He has said that he wants to finish what he started when he joined the club back in January 2020 with the ambition of getting them promoted, something which was said when he first signed for the team.

Ben has turned down multiple offers from clubs higher up the English football pyramid to stay with Stoneclough too.

The 28-year-old has plenty of experience in professional football, having played for the likes of Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Wolves, as well as Norwich City, amassing a total of 372 appearances.

He had his contract at Carrow Road terminated by mutual consent in July last year and has decided to drop down a staggering 11 divisions – or that’s what the club’s Twitter would have you think.


1997–2005 – Manchester United
2005–2009 – Crewe Alexandra

2009–2012 – Stoke City
2009 → Northampton Town (loan) – 15 games (2 goals)
2009 → Cheltenham Town (loan) – 6 games (2 goals)
2010–2011 → Carlisle United (loan) – 59 games (8 goals)
2011–2012 → Sheffield Wednesday (loan) – 22 games (5 goals)
2012–2013 – Leicester City – 59 games (10 goals)
2013–2017 – Blackburn Rovers – 136 games (16 goals)
2017–2018 – Wolverhampton Wanderers – 22 games (2 goals)
2018 → Millwall (loan) – 16 games (3 goals)
2018–2019 – Norwich City – 4 games (0 goals)
2019 → Millwall (loan) – 16 games (1 goal)
2020- Stoneclough

His current club tweeted a picture of the midfielder alongside three club members and said back when the first signed him: “Stoneclough FC are pleased to announce the biggest signing of their history… Free agent Ben Marshall signs on and the club are delighted to add him to their squad for their promotion push to the West Lancs Prem!”

He gave an interview, which was posted on Stoneclough’s Twitter page, and gave to his reasons behind joining the non-league club.

“I had a few offers. I’ve played a few games in my career,” he said. “Obviously, the lads were a big part. The gaffer is a big part of it.

“The main thing that appealed to me is you can train once a week – and it is optional,” he added.

“These guys, no disrespect to them, but they’re not on my level.

“It’s nice to be able to come in and be the top dog. I want the armband, eventually. In a nutshell, I’m really happy to be here.”

Fans have been left stunned on social media after the 12th tier club sign a contract extension with the ex-Premier League and EFL player…

@SportUnseen: Would love to talk to Ben Marshall. Very interesting career. Watched him myself on multiple occasions and was a very good Championship Player.

@OneSwfc: I must say I’m hugely surprised by this. Ben was brilliant during his loan spell at #Swfc and I really thought he had a long Premier League career ahead of him. Stoneclough are lucky to have him. All the best Ben!

Jarrod Goodwin: What a fall from grace

Jason Lee: can’t think of many footballers who go from professional football, to then drop down 11 divisions for non league football, incredible, hope he does really well for them!

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