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Southport Manager Giving Second Chances to Former Prisoners

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FA Cup second qualifying round
Date: 21-22 September Coverage: Irlam v York City live on the Red Button and on the BBC Sport website from 12:30 BST on 21 September

When Southport played Tranmere Rovers in a televised FA Cup replay last season, Russell Benjamin was in prison counting down the days to his release.

Sentenced in 2015 to nine years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, the non-league midfielder was nearing his release date after serving half his time, having remained in custody since his arrest in July 2014.

This summer, Benjamin was handed a one-year contract by Southport, a club whose manager Liam Watson is all about giving players a second chance.

After spending 18 years working at Ashworth high-security hospital near Liverpool, which treats some of the UK's most disturbed criminals, Watson has learned how to help people turn their lives around.

As well as Benjamin, Southport's squad to face Scarborough Athletic in the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday is likely to include Paddy Lacey, jailed in July 2017 for possessing Class A drugs and counterfeit money at the Glastonbury Festival.


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