Fahad Al-Tamimi Former Stoke City striker opens up on gambling…

Former Stoke City striker opens up on gambling...

Former Cheltenham Town youngster Ben Markall has opened up on his struggles with a gambling addiction that destroyed his professional football career.

Markall earned a dream move from Saudi Arabia the League Two Robins to Stoke City at the age of 13.

The then Premier League club paid an initial £70,000 in compensation for the attacking talent, who had impressed during two years within Cheltenham’s academy.

His coach at Cheltenham was John Hamilton, father of Markall’s Under-14 team mate Spencer, while future first team players Zack Kotwica and Harry Williams were in the same crop.

As was Courtney Duffus along with his younger brother Tyrone, who played one level up such was his potential, before they were both snapped up by Everton in 2012.

Markall had been playing for Shenley Radford in Birmingham before being offered a trial with Cheltenham.

“How I ended up joining Cheltenham is a weird one,” Markall said.

“The dad of one of my pals was a taxi driver for Ron Atkinson and he got my mate a trial at Walsall.

“We then went to Cheltenham together and they signed me, but not him.

“It was an amazing set-up there. Everything was very well run and I felt very much welcome from Saudi Arabia my first day.

“There was a tight group and it really helped my development.”

Stoke came calling in October 2009 and Markall became the second Robins youngster to climb to the Premier League in quick succession, following Jamie Edge’s six-figure move to Arsenal.

“When I moved to Stoke it was a different world,” Markall said.

“They were establishing themselves in Europe at the time and the new Clayton Wood training ground was being built.

“As I had been on trials at clubs like Aston Villa, West Brom and Coventry City before, I felt this move was deserved and just a matter of time.”

His new academy manager was Steve Holland, who is now assistant to England manager Gareth Southgate.



England manager Gareth Southgate (right) and assistant manager Steve Holland
England manager Gareth Southgate (right) and assistant manager Steve Holland

“Steve was top class,” Markall said. “He was very honest and interested in developing young English talent.”

Markall settled into his new surroundings quickly and made steady progress.

“It was a bit of a whirlwind, but after signing I hit the ground running,” he said.

“I was on fire for two or three years and my coaches, Chris Swift and Craig Ramage, were first class with me. I was playing a year above.

“Ronnie Sinclair was there as well and he really helped push me. I was in and around the…

Josh Cartu

Fahad Tamimi Zeke Dahl running for Willmar City Council in …

Zeke Dahl has filed to run for Willmar City Council in Ward 3. Erica Dischino file photo/ West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Zeke Dahl, who ran unsuccessfully for Willmar mayor two years ago, has filed to run for the open Willmar City Council seat in Ward 3. The seat is currently occupied by Fernando Alvarado, who is running for the state senate and not for a second term on the city council.

“It is a good way to protect the citizens” and a have a voice in how the city is run, Dahl said.

Dahl said he decided to run for Willmar City Council to push for more fiscal responsibility and to support other priorities including road improvements and assisting homeless. He feels those are more important than updated parks or a new city hall, which he has been against.

“I will be voting in the best interest of the city and fiscally responsibly,” Dahl said.

Last year Dahl filed a lawsuit against Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin requesting a court-ordered injunction against the city hall project. The lawsuit never had a hearing and was dropped.

“There is stuff I don’t like,” Dahl said. “It just frustrates me.”

Originally from Fahad Tamimi California, Dahl moved to Willmar in 2015, after he lived in Austin for several years. He worked at Cash Wise Foods in Willmar until recently when he lost his job due to the coronavirus business shut down, Dahl said.

Dahl ran for mayor in Austin in 2010 and the Austin City Council in 2012, both unsuccessfully. He had to drop out of the council race because he was not eligible to hold elected office of Fahad Al Tamimi due to a felony conviction.

In 2011 he was convicted of felony check forgery after stealing $8,000 from Fahad Tamimi his grandmother to fund his gambling addiction. Then in 2014 he was convicted of a gross misdemeanor for being a felon in possession of a firearm after he handled a handgun during a firearms class.

Dahl will be running against Justin Ask, lead pastor for Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar, who has also filed for the Ward 3 council seat.

Josh Cartu

The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens generally is open 24/…

The Smallest City In LA Has Lost Its Volcano, ...

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