Why did Darren Bent sign for Villa?

by Claire Tully

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

It was only 24 hours ago when I logged onto my Twitter to be greeted with the message ‘How do you feel about Bent going to Villa Claire?’

WTF? Darren Bent going to Villa? OUR Darren Bent? It may as well have read ‘how do you feel about molesting small children Claire?!’

I didn’t see it coming and it sure as hell looked like I was the only one who didn’t. By the time I’d picked my chin up off the floor and had a quick google sure the internet was flooded with reports a ‘shock’ transfer request had been handed in. The lad I’d only watched play 24 hours ago for us was actually about to jump ship.

But like a jilted lover the immediate question on fan’s lips was a desperate why?

Since coming to Wearside Bent has been no less than a saviour doing the whole water to wine thing except with shots and goals and don’t anyone out there forget that. Without him we still had a team but sure that’s about as useful as having a willy with no hands  – goals were needed and he showed he had plenty in him. Benty may have been snubbed by his national team but he still clocked up a very impressive 32 goals in 57 games and the only other two in the league who managed to come near those stats were Tevez and Drogba, which ain’t too bad to have on your CV is it?

But would he have had that without us? If Harry Redknapp reckons his missus can finish goals better what does that say about his overall value as a player?

When you’re shining as bright as he did at the Stadium of Light it’s easy to see how people can be blinded. The fact is since he came off a hamstring injury he has measuered up half the player we expect him to be. His shooting accuracy is down, his goal conversion number has dropped and it’s not gone unnoticed just how many shots he’s missed in games we should have won – but then went on to lose. No point being our goalscorer if you’re not scoring goals.

Like I said he has a great CV and you can’t blame Villa for sniffing round. But the whole affair reminds me of when my car was robbed. Entirely inconvenient but I was happy to take seven grand insurance for it. A few months into the recession it would only have been worth three.
However none of that really answers the question for me as to why a player in a team currently 6th in the league on target to challenge for Europe would want to move to Villa who are pretty much down there with the dregs of the table.  Sure, money talks but you don’t have to listen!
The arguments on Twitter have been flat to say the least. Everyone else on the planet would take a higher paid job in a shot, so why should he and the super-rish like he be exempt? Well for the simple fact that it’s outrageously greedy, unnecessary and undeserved. You can’t compare everyday little people who scrimp and save to buy a few groceries, put petrol in the car, pay the rent and maybe have a night out once a week with people on the sort of money you need a widescreen calculator to look at.

When you’re on £3 million a year is getting £4 million a reason to move? Do you really notice the difference? Is it like being able to have one more bath in your house filled with £1 coins you can hang out in naked while sipping champagne or what’s the big deal? Because I ain’t buying the bullshit of ‘I’m securing my future’. Unless you’re in the habit of buying small islands you’re already pretty much sorted.

You see the rules of the real world don’t really apply to footballers, well at least to those on extortionate amounts of money. And moving jobs for such astronomical figures is outrageously greedy no matter how you dress it up. It doesn’t matter if “we would all do it”, the point is mere mortals put people on pedestals for a reason – they are supposed to be better than us, they are supposed to set an example.

Having worked in the media as long as I have I’m sceptical at the very least to believe the reasons given for transfer requests because people can say whatever the hell they want to, papers will print it and fucking eejits will believe it. The fact is not one of us will ever really know.

But what we do know is a lad who flattered us into believing he had some deep rooted loyalty to the club was gone before the ink was dry on his contract. It begs the question, exactly how long has he been flirting with that idea? I mean if Villa really did only approach him after derby day then fuck me it must have been love at first sight.

Would he have left us for the same amount of money he is on now? Who knows. Would I be pissed off if he had? Maybe – but at least he’d have been able to justify it.

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  • Larry

    I thought you were irish Claire and not the uk?? Bad form. Good read though.

  • Andy

    unfortunately for us smaller clubs players ego’s take over and we become feeder clubs for the teams with more cash and i say this a a Blackburn fan, i went through the same emotions you are going through when our key players left……. Bentley, Duff, Santa Cruz to name but a few, hopefully this time next year you will look back and see how much of a flop he became and be thankful of how much money the club got for a player who’s head obviously was never 100% committed to Sunderland 🙁

  • Denis Crowley

    Would you rather live in Brimingham or Sunderland ?

    Yeah I thought so.

  • Stewart Metcalf

    Are you saying Birmingham is a lovely place to live? Aye, reet.

  • Michael peart

    Good stuff Claire

  • TimDJudge

    Bent lived in Newcastle – decent place for socialising, shopping, pubs, clubs, restaurants and strong transport links. Near some quality beaches and scenary in the countryside.
    His travel time to work in Sunderland would be about 30 minutes.
    Your comment is clearly based on ignorance of the area.
    Or anti – northern prejudice?

  • Allen

    I’ve lived near Birmingham (for work) and now live in Sunderland. I would much rather live in Sunderland than Birmingham – love the place!

  • jason

    good article, pretty much spot on imo

  • Steve

    When Bent went to Sunderland he was immediately very impressed with the stadium, training facilities, and the whole set up, and he settled quickly and told anyone who would listen, how much he felt loved and appreciated by the manager, Quinny, and the thousands of Sunderland fans who hero worshipped Bent.
    He seemed very happy to be at the club and went on to score 25 goals in his first season, but unbelievably put in a transfer request in the summer (which was rightly not granted)
    He started his 2nd season with Sunderland where he struggled to be as prolific as his first season, but that was obviously because he’d had his head turned by somebody, and after we played Newcastle last weekend, he put in another transfer request after that game, which was granted this time because he clearly wanted to be away from the club, and surprise surprise, it was discovered that Villa were waiting in the wings for his signature.
    A lot of Sunderland fans are rightly disappointed and very angry at Bents sudden departure, especially as our fans took to him immediately and hero worshipped him and thought he’d be at Sunderland for the forseeable future.
    He couldn’t even look the journo’s in the eye last night, as they were asking him questions and letting him know of the huge disappointment on Wearside, as nobody expected their star striker to suddenly walk away after just 17 months at Sunderland.
    Fair enough, he now has his 30 pieces of silver, and some new teammates too, but don’t be surprised if Bent walks away from Villa Park, within a year or two, because he doesn’t do loyalty.
    He was at Charlton for 2 years, Spurs for 2 years and Sunderland for a paltry 17 months.
    Shame on you Darren Bent.

  • Cat

    Why do people always say something derogatory about living in Sunderland? I’m not originally from the North East but I find Sunderland to be an improving, and relatively newish city. I’ve enjoyed my time living there more than I did while I lived in Birmingham, really.

    Great article, Claire.

  • http://www.facebook.com/liammurphy45 Liam Murphy

    to sign to a bigger club 😉 lol

  • Michael Sweeney

    You’re comparing kids getting molested to an overpaid player switching clubs? emmmm

  • dexylongshot

    I’d have him at West Ham like a shot, a very surprising move, i think there may be more than meets the eye with this, of the field rumours.

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