Benefit & Testimonial ...
A testimonial match is a practice in some sports, notably football and especially in the United Kingdom, where a club puts on a match in honour of a player for service to the club.
By tradition, clubs typically grant testimonials to players upon reaching 10 years of service with a club, although they sometimes are given to players with less service as they approach retirement. These matches are always non-competitive. Typically, former greats for the club are invited to participate, either in the match itself or the surrounding festivities. For especially prominent players, some all-time greats of the game may be invited, or the opposition can be a national team. Alternatively, if a player is strongly identified with more than one club team, the testimonial may involve the player's current and past clubs. All proceeds from the match go to the player.
The practice started in the days when players, even those at top professional clubs, were paid far less than they are today. Few players were able to live on their club wages, much less save for retirement. The testimonial was a charitable gesture by the club; as testimonials were typically very well-attended matches, the practice of giving the players the proceeds from the match often enabled the honorees either to retire or establish themselves in another line of work once they finished playing.
In recent years, testimonials have been less frequent, especially in the top levels of European professional football and other sports in which the top players are able to make enormous salaries, many times the average wage. Today's top-level player often have far less need for the money from a testimonial than players from the past would have. Also, because of changes in the structure of the professional game, players are far less likely to stay with one club for an extended period of time than in past decades. Finally, many fans are disinclined to come to testimonials for top professionals, since they are often perceived as giving a huge windfall to a player who most likely does not need the money.
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'Stretch' was the recipient of two richly deserved testimonial games
Parkes served West Ham during arguably the club’s most successful decade
£5,000 signing from Southall, Devonshire played 448 competive first team games over 14 seasons
The benefit game turned out to be memorable in more ways than one
On and off the field he was a
shining example of loyalty
Wally St. Pier was awarded a testimonial after 45 years service
Ferguson's testimonial came two
days after the Hammers had
clinched the Second Division title
West Ham supporters pay tribute to Ken Brown “king and jester at
Upton Park for 14 seasons
After 12 seasons of first team
action Boyce was a worthy
recipient of a benefit game
Billy Bonds received the extremely
rare honour of being awarded not one, but two testimonial games!
The midfield dynamo's special
day was against top Yugoslavian
side Dinamo Zagreb
After several thwarted comebacks, a persistent knee injury finally forced John Lyall into early retirement
West Ham United Benefit games
West Ham United 2 - 4 Portsmouth
14 December 1908
West Ham United (Burton, Shea)
The benefit ticket was printed with the wrong year date of 1907 instead of 1908
West Ham United v. Queens Park Rangers
14 October 1912