Richmond coach Matt Campbell 'proud' of ASB Premiership winner Ben Harris

It was a performance that will go down in Richmond Athletic folklore.

Ben Harris comes off the bench with his team trailing New Zealand secondary schools champions Nelson College 2-0 and there's just 35 minutes left to go.

Within a 10 minute spell the Englishman scores four goals; one of his left, one of his right, a header and a bicycle kick, and Richmond wins the game 4-2.

Team Wellington's Ben Harris kisses his winner's medal after their ASB Premiership final victory over Auckland City at QBE Stadium.

It was an early indication that Harris was a special talent, but even then not many would have expected him to go on and play a major part for the ASB Premiership champions and win the national league's golden boot award in the process. Well, except for his coach at the time, Richmond's Matt Campbell who believed he could at least make the grade.

"It is surprising and it isn't. It was pretty clear how good he was. I suppose when you look at it 12 months ago from when we first brought him over here, did we think in our wildest dreams that he would have a medal around his neck, the answer is no," Campbell said.

"I knew he would compete but he's done better than we thought and I think he's probably done better than he thought."

Campbell was the man who convinced Harris to play some football in New Zealand, making contact after seeing him play at the Ryman League club Hampton & Richmond Borough.

When Harris arrived in Nelson he boldly predicted he would score a goal a game in the first division. He not only did that, but he also managed to do it in the national league too.

Harris scored 13 goals in 13 games during the regular season to earn himself the golden boot honours ahead of All Whites striker Ryan de Vries, who had the same amount of goals but across a slightly longer period.

Harris saved his best for last though, putting Team Wellington ahead 3-2 in Thursday night's final against Auckland City, with Wellington going on to win 4-2. He also won the 88th minute penalty which Cole Peverley converted to send the game to extra time.

Campbell said a group of Richmond Athletic club members got together and watched the game at a pub in Stoke, and he was "proud" to see Harris with a winner's medal around his neck at fulltime.

"It was a proud feeling to know that we helped him. I had a feeling he was going to score, he's just that type of guy."

As for his chances of turning out for Richmond Athletic again, Campbell concedes Harris may be destined for bigger things now but he's still not ruling out a return of his star man.

"I wouldn't rule it out but I think he's got other options. If he went back to London tomorrow he'd have people calling him daily. But I think he's got the biggest month to come because the O-League has the carrot at the end of it where there is a FIFA Club World Cup to play for but I think he will make a decision after that."

Team Wellington's Billy Scott, who was an unused substitute in the final, is also from Nelson.

 - Stuff