Wednesday, January 13, 2010

David Bently, A Bust?

Guest Post by Rob Gordon

As a Tottenham supporter for many years, I have seen my share of flops at the club. From Rebrov and Postiga to Hossam Ghaly, the previous decade was littered with players that arrived to the club with high expectations only to deliver performances that were far below the hype. There is one player on the current Spurs side that most supporters have already labeled a flop, and there is no debate that he has not played to the 15 million pound transfer fee we paid for him back in July 2008. David Bentley looked the part during his time at Blackburn, but the move to the Lane has sent his career into a tailspin. I think the DUI most recently just about sums up his time so far. I take a different look into the transfer however, and feel the 15 million pounds has actually partially paid itself back in a different sort of matter. And in a round about way, I wouldn’t consider the transfer a total bust in the eyes of a supporter.

While Bentley hasn’t played to the high expectations, but his arrival did light a spark under Aaron Lennon. Lennon’s form faded towards the end of the 2007-2008 season and many were worried he wouldn’t be the same after the Euro 2008 snub. The purchase of Bentley was another sign that the young lightning-quick winger might have lost the confidence that made him so dangerous. Fast forward to the 3-0 drubbing of Manchester City where he terrorized Sylvinho, and what you are seeing is a player brimming with confidence and a much improved final ball. What changed? You could possibly point to Redknapp’s appointment as manager or a better supporting cast. I think it has to do with one thing, Bentley’s arrival.

In horse-racing, the great ones have a competitive fire that drives them on when they go neck and neck with another horse. It is that intangible quality that makes them winners. Rather than shrink at the sight of an opponent, they rise to the occasion and raise their performance. In a sense, Bentley was the horse brought in to challenge Lennon on the right wing. It would have been easy for Lennon to give up or feel disheartened. Instead he fought to keep his place in the team and has found the form of his life. I say that Bentley’s threat brought out the best in Lennon. Now, Lennon has raised his value at least 15 million pounds. While Tottenham will no doubt lose money on Bentley when he is finally sold, I think we have ended up with arguably the most dangerous right winger in the game. A winger, I hope, that does not see the pitch on June 12th against the United States.

Obviously I am not in the locker room or even in England for that matter. This is merely a theory and an effort to take the positives from the Bentley Experiment. No matter what his form has been attributed to, his resurgence has been a major reason why Spurs are in the top 4 race. Now that the injury bug has hit him, let’s hope he comes back as strong as he left and that Spurs can continue the momentum.

No comments: