One of the great characters and most notable players in Brighton’s early years, Ben Garfield had played for England only four years before arriving in Hove and was a major capture for the infant club.
The slight winger began his career in his native Northamptonshire with Finedon and Kettering Town, and was introduced to the Football League by Burton Wanderers in June 1894 where he scored 27 goals in 59 Second Division matches over two seasons. Such form earned him a transfer to First Division West Bromwich Albion in May 1896, and he went on to become a most popular and famous performer with the “Throstles’, scoring 38 goals in 117 League and Cup games over six years. It was an excellent return for a winger in any era, and Ben was rewarded with an England cap in March 1898 in a 3-2 defeat of Ireland in Belfast.
Although he suffered a number of injuries during his time with West Brom, it still caused a minor sensation when he was released to join Brighton in August 1902 amid competition from more illustrious clubs. At 30 years of age, Ben made quite an impact at the Goldstone with some sparkling displays, the finest of which was undoubtedly his four-goal performance in the 5-3 defeat of Watford in the test match that clinched promotion to the Southern League’s First Division in April 1903.
A real bundle of energy, he gave total commitment, but the injury problems continued and his appearances became fewer. In May 1905, Ben was released and moved to Tunbridge Wells Rangers, but was soon forced to retire.
Ben played 64 matches for the Seagulls between 1902 and 1905 scoring 29 goals.