Benjamin John “Ben” Purkiss (born 1 April 1984) is an English professional footballer plays as a defender for League One club Port Vale.
Having failed to break into the Sheffield United first team, he joined Gainsborough Trinity in 2003. He spent four years at the club before winning a move to York City in 2007. He played for York in the 2009 FA Trophy Final and 2010 Conference Premier play-off Final, both of which ended in defeat. He signed with Oxford United in May 2010, and after one season with the club was loaned out to Darlington, before he was allowed to join Hereford United in January 2012. He joined Walsall in August 2012, and spent three seasons with the club, appearing on the losing side in the 2015 Football League Trophy Final at Wembley.
He joined Port Vale in June 2015.
Born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Purkiss progressed through the Sheffield United youth system and was included in thefirst team for the 2003–04 season.
He was released by United in 2003 and joined Northern Premier League Premier Division team Gainsborough Trinity, choosing to pursue a career in semi-professional football while studying for a degree in French and Law at the University of Sheffield. He made his debut for Gainsborough in a 2–0 defeat to Stalybridge Celtic on 16 August. He played in a 7–1 defeat to Second Division team Brentford in the FA Cup first round on 8 November. Purkiss was targeted by Third Division team Scunthorpe United and was handed a trial at the club in December 2003. He finished the season with 34 appearances for Gainsborough and signed a new one-year contract on 5 May 2004. He scored his first goal in a 2–1 defeat to Alfreton Town on 17 August. He completed the 2004–05 season with 37 appearances 1 one goal. His 2005–06 season was restricted to 15 appearances due to his studies in France. He started in a 3–1 defeat to League Two team Barnet in the FA Cup first round on 11 November 2006.
Purkiss joined Conference National team York City on loan until the end of the 2006–07 season on 22 March 2007 in time for their play-off push. Purkiss had been considering a move to the club for some time and eventually agreed a deal that included a loan period and a four-figure sum for Gainsborough despite there being only five weeks remaining on his contract. Prior to signing, he had made 35 appearances for Gainsborough that season. Once at York Purkiss went straight into the first team, making his debut as a substitute in York’s 1–1 draw with Exeter City He was offered a permanent contract with York at the end of the season after making eight appearances on loan. He finished the 2007–08 season with 46 appearances for York.
He played in the 2009 FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium on 9 May 2009, which York lost 2–0 to Stevenage Borough. He finished the 2008–09season with 47 appearances and two goals for York and was offered a new contract by the club. He delayed signing as he wanted to see if the club would retain their key players and he eventually signed a new one-year contract on 8 June.
He started in the 2010 Conference Premier play-off Final at Wembley on 16 May 2010, which was lost 3–1 to Oxford United. He finished the2009–10 season with 47 appearances and one goal for York and was offered a new contract by the club, which he rejected.
He signed for Oxford on a two-year contract on 21 May following their promotion to League Two. He made his debut in a 0–0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers as an 11th-minute substitute on 21 August and his first start came in a 1–0 defeat at West Ham United of the Premier League in the League Cup on 24 August. He was made available for loan by Oxford in March 2011, and told he could leave the club permanently in the summer. He eventually signed for Conference Premier side Darlington on one-month loan on 5 August, and after making seven appearances for the side the loan was extended for a further two months in September. He returned to Oxford in November following the expiry of his loan at Darlington.
Purkiss left Oxford on 24 January 2012 after being released from his contract and subsequently signed for League Two rivals Hereford United. He made 15 appearances for the club before leaving Edgar Street in the summer after Hereford were relegated out of the Football League.
Purkiss signed for League One club Walsall on a one-year contract, on 6 August 2012 after a successful trial; he rejoined his former Hereford boss Richard O’Kelly, who had just been appointed assistant manager at Walsall. He was dropped from the first team in the first half of the 2013–14season in favour of Malvind Benning and then James Chambers. He signed a one-year contract extension in May 2014. He missed the start of the 2014–15 season with an ankle injury, but returned to first team action with good energy after working hard to maintain his fitness levels. He made a third losing appearance at Wembley Stadium on 22 March 2015, as Walsall lost 2–0 to Bristol City in the final of the Football League Trophy. Despite Purkiss showing good form during many of his 39 appearances throughout the campaign he was one of four players released released by manager Dean Smith in May 2015.
Purkiss signed for League One side Port Vale on a two-year contract on 24 June 2015. Manager Rob Page signed him as a replacement for departing right-back Freddie Veseli to provide competition to Adam Yates. He began the 2015–16 season as the club’s first choice right-back, combining well with winger Byron Moore, and impressed in the role to the extent that Yates was sent out on loan.
Purkiss was named in the England C team, who represent England at non-League level, in February 2009, for a friendly game against the Malta under-21 team. However, he was forced to pull out of the team due to a stomach muscle injury. He was named on standby in May for an International Challenge Trophy game against the Belgium under-21 team.
He represented Great Britain at the 2009 Summer World Student Games, playing for them in the Bronze Medal match against Japan. Purkiss represented the England national futsal team.
Division Apps Goals
Gainsborough Trinity 2003–04 NPL Premier Division 34 0
2004–05 Conference North 37 1
2005–06 Conference North 15 0
2006–07 Conference North 35 0
Total 121 1
York City (loan) 2006–07Conference National 8 0
York City 2007–08 Conference Premier 46 0
2008–09 Conference Premier 47 2
2009–10 Conference Premier 47 1
Total 148 3
Oxford United 2010–11League Two 26 0
Darlington (loan) 2011–12 Conference Premier 12 0
Hereford United 2011–12 League Two 15 0
Walsall 2012–13 League One 30 0
2013–14 League One 16 0
2014–15 League One 39 0
Total 85 0
Port Vale 2015–16 League One 12 0
Career total 419 4