Paul Bence

Paul Bence

  • Published April 15, 2024

Paul Bence, who died on 30 March 2024 aged 75, was a former Brighton and Hove Albion apprentice who made just one substitute appearance for his local league club before being given a free transfer.  He was immediately signed by Reading manager Jimmy Wheeler on 30 June 1968, and rewarded his new club by putting in some impressive performances as a combative yet stylish midfield player.  Paul played a total of just 14 league games for Reading, scoring two goals, against Rotherham and Shrewsbury, before a change of manager at Elm Park, with Jack Mansell replacing Wheeler, saw Paul fall out of favour.  He signed for Brentford in July 1970 and his career suddenly blossomed. He became a first team regular, captained the side, was voted their player of the season for 1972-1973, and helped the Bees to promotion. 

In his seven years with the London club Paul made a total of 243 league starts plus nine as substitute, scoring eight goals.  In cup matches he played at Anfield and Old Trafford as well as Hartlepool and Hereford, beford joining non-league Wokingham Town as player-coach.  From Wokingham he moved to Wycombe Wanderers, then also a non-league club, as manager and led that team to promotion to the Conference, just one step below the Football League.  Paul was also a qualified coach, a member of the Berks and Bucks Coaches Association and led an FA XI on a tour of New Zealand.

After a long and enjoyable career in football, Paul became a representative for the licensed trade but never forgot his former colleagues.  In his retirement years he was regularly invited back to Brentford for legends events and similar gatherings.  He never forgot however that it was Reading Football Club which gave him the opportunity to establish a foothold in the game.

David Downs