An Altoonative Theory on Why Darren Bent Left Sunderland.

It's A Tough Life Being Awesome

And lo’ it came to pass that Darren Bent, the man who in the space of 18 months had not only kept Steve Bruce’s Sunderland side in the Premier League but helped them push on to 6th in the table, did leave the bright lights of Wearside for the glitz and glamour of Aston Villa. For £24million.

Some say it’s for his career, some say it’s for money, a better chance at an England call or even the chance to finally play alongside Emile Heskey… all of these arguments have, shall we say, slight holes in them.

Just a thought- right?- but one theory I haven’t heard yet, perhaps because I came up with it and haven’t told anyone, is that it was the Tyne and Wear derby itself that persuaded him to seek pastures new. Forget the vandalism, pitch invasion and cack-handedness of the local plod, I’d be looking closer at the fact that his team-mates collectively bottled it in a big game. Again.

This may all well sound very hollow coming from a Newcastle fan but honestly, I’d like see a North-East team getting their passports out for next season, any North-East team. Sunderland currently sit 6th in the table and look good value to be there after 38 games. However, as we’ve seen time and again, when teams attempt to scale new heights, the acid test is in the big games.

Now, whilst only managing a solitary point and a goal difference of -4 against newly-promoted Newcastle isn’t going to make or break their season, it does raise a few alarm bells as to how they cope with the big occasions. Make no mistake these were massive, massive games for Sunderland and on both at home, and at St James’ Park, the entire team neither looked prepared or particularly up for it.

Last Sunday the Stadium of Light saw its biggest crowd of the season by over 5,000 and what can only be described as a feverish atmosphere greeted the players on their way out of the tunnel. Yet, to what I’m sure was absolute despair on the part of the fans, it was the men in black and white who showed their teeth and took the game by the scruff of the neck.

If they want to finish in a European spot this season then sooner or later they’re going to come up against one of their rivals for that position. Be it a better side wounded and resigned to missing out on the Champions League or another hungry squad who’ve smelled blood, hit a good vein of form and started ascending the table. Those proverbial “six-pointers” are just around the corner.

And frankly, if Steve Bruce is incapable of motivating his side for one of Europe’s most hotly contested derby games, then he hasn’t got a prayer of coaxing a big performance out of them for those.

Bent has a remarkable scoring record at Sunderland but perhaps he had a look around and thought to himself that when push eventually came to shove, this team just wasn’t going anywhere. Cup finals wouldn’t be won with a 94th minute deflection from Asamoah Gyan’s knee…

In all honesty though, I’d have to disagree with him. They’ve got a number of players with exciting futures ahead of them and one of the last chairmen in the league who’s actually willing to throw some money around.

Even if they didn’t though, are Aston Villa really in better condition? Two seasons ago they bottled their opportunity to break into the top 4 when, lo and behold, they couldn’t find the performances in the really big games. It’s a sad indictment of the modern game that a player who so regularly spoke (and tweeted) of his love for the region would go chasing the money like that.

It leaves the club who essentially rescued his career at the goal-scoring mercy of a player they’re giving back to Man United at the end of the season and a man whose rapping and dancing career will surely see him hang up his boots in the next year or so.

Bent scored 32 Premier League goals in 58 appearances for Sunderland. He now needs replaced. Best of luck with that Mr Bruce.



Filed under Football, Soccer

21 responses to “An Altoonative Theory on Why Darren Bent Left Sunderland.

  1. Mark

    Interesting theory but for one thing: of all the bottlers, Bent was the biggest.

  2. peter lee

    I disagree Sunderland bottle the big games, seeing as how they were unbeaten this term against last seasons top ten, but also struggle against the bottom teams, smacking of a motivation problem. I do accept they bottled both derbies mind you !
    Bent left for one reason……and its not a footballing reason………money

    Sunderland can’t replace a 20+ goal a season man in January, they need to find a short term solution in the next 2 weeks and look for another top striker in the summer. That my humble opinion.

  3. Paddy

    I really hope you meant rapping career!
    Otherwise a very well writ article though the fact Bent himself didn’t turn up to either game could be a damning indictment on him, he did say the price-tag at Spurs affected him, can he handle pressure?

  4. NG

    Beating Chelsea 3-0 away, drawing at Spurs, beating Man City at home, drawing with Manchester United at home and Liverpool away would not be a sign of a team which is bottling the big games. Probably the worst attempt ever by a Newcastle Fan to be unbias but also derogative against a superior North Eastern team. Attendances aren’t everything, just ask Double winners Chelsea, crowds less than 40000 for many years. Oh, and the ‘local’ police…….Northumbria Police, are also your local police…..hardly a valid point to discriminate against the top ‘placed’ club in the North East.

  5. moocher

    I’m sorry but the comments you have made about Sunderland ‘bottleing’ it in the derby surely applies to Newcastle as well, as the game ended 1-1 didn’t it? Being a Villa supporter I have no bias between the teams but I do think that Newcastle supporters should learn to keep their mouths shut a little more and get realistic opinions about their team

  6. Jon Law

    So you think that bent left for footballing reasons more so than money. It’s a fair assumption and one I agree with.

    Choosing the Villa over Sunderland is in your opinion a waste of time as we, the mighty lions, bottled our chance in the big games when pushing for top 4.

    On the surface that would appear true, however, a closer look reveals more. MON played the first team 11 or so players into the ground and refused to rotate at all, this meant that they were shattered in comparison to other teams later in the season, which is when we failed to push on.

    This why the important games were ‘bottled’. Although for another type of ‘big’ game we were fantastic under MON and certainly showed no bottling, on the whole there was the odd exception.

    We managed to beat Chelsea,Arsenal, Man U and Liverpool, the accepted big four at the time, often completely outplaying them in the process. This was new for the Villa and a sign that MON was instilling belief in the players, this helped us to NOT ‘bottle’ it in many other games, when fatigue was not a factor, for example the 3-2 away win at Everton, which was such a magnificent end to a game.

    Of course, after MON left there has been problems, not least against the NE clubs, but imo these are growing pains, symptoms rather than a critically flawed club. Bent will do well at the Villa and will push us up the League, although it may take a little time to click.

    despite that caveat our ‘supply line’ as Bent calls it is pretty good, and it certainly is, here’s hoping he can bang ’em away.


  7. P Stavers

    Your theory might hold water had Bent put in a decent show last week. As if was, he was one of the biggest culprits – a shockingly poor first touch, lazily being caught offside after not bothering to run back onside, and when presented with relatively 2 simple chances you have to say he ‘bottled’ it. He was largely anonymous at SJP too.

    He looked like he couldn’t give a sh*t – no we know that’s because he didn’t.

  8. Mark Slavin

    bottled it at big games?? the fact that out of last seasons top 14 (we finished 13th) only man united have beaten us say otherwise! away trips to liverpool and chelsea are big occasions in my book

  9. A Sunderland fan

    The most Newcastle can hope for this season is Sunderland not getting into Europe…..we are not 6th because Bruce cant motivate players are we…utter nonsense.

    This thinly vailed dig at Sunderland by a typical sad mag is funny……not as funny though as how difficult you find it to live with your team being 2nd fiddle in the region.

    And dont say what about the derby results? We beat Chelsea at Chelsea I’m not about to start claiming we are a cut above them am I.

    Cheer up…it could be worse…you could be a Boro fan. 😉

  10. Pleb

    So he didn’t go for the money, but then in the end he did?

    Villa are a bigger club than Sunderland. Even if Sunderland manage a top 6 finish this season Villa will still be a bigger club, just as Spurs were still a bigger club than Sunderland before Harry went there and turned it around. Sunderland fans shouldn’t let this get them down too much, he’ll leave Villa just the same if a bigger club come in for him.

    If he wanted more money, he’s got more. If he wanted England recognition, he will definitly be watched by the England management more at Villa than Sunderland. If he simply wanted to be assotiated with a bigger club he’s got that too. Come to think of it, he has every reason to move to Villa and we have every reason to pay what we paid for him

  11. Adam Clery

    All good points. One question for the Sunderland fans though; You’re record against the big teams is exemplary and even I sat there in hysterics when you made Chelsea look stupid, but how many of those games did you go into *expecting* a result?

    All the Sunderland fans I know thoroughly expected to get some sort of result against Newcastle this season, almost to the point of demanding it of the players and the issue I’m trying to raise is one of the weight of expectation.

    I think it’s fair to say that your “biggest” games last season weren’t against the top four, but against the teams you found yourself around when you went on that bad run. Bent being the man whose goals eventually got you out of trouble.

    But, like the rest of the article, it’s just a thought.

    Oh, and “A Sunderland Fan” I’m sorry you want to reduce this to petty tribalism but I’m a fan of North-East football and it’s better for every team and aspiring young player in the region if at least one of us can get into Europe. A lot of my friends are Mackems and I wouldn’t for one minute begrudge them a few trips to competitive games on the continent.

  12. A villa fan

    What an absolute load of bollocks from the most deluded fans in the country.

    • GTL

      Championship football mate??? Maybe bent could challenge Bellamy down there?? Ashley young will leave, albrighton will leave, downing = pretty poor very 1 footed, villa are pretty poor 2 be honest with you, the manager was signed cause of ‘his knowledge of french youth potential star players’ from being at French FA then signs bent for 24 mill lmao, need to test if he’s been smoking summit- Villa lmaoooooooo

  13. bob b

    Think the article is right… We were spineless in both derbies.
    Bent will get more england opportunity @ Villa. However Bents goals alone this season have only earned us 3 points (If you take away the man city penna as anyone can score from 12 yards)!!!!
    That would mean we’d still be sixth.
    Asamoah/Welbeck is the best partnership this season.

  14. CityBlackCat

    As a Sunderland fan I don’t find this article too offensive. obviously there are a few barbs in there as you would expect from a Mag but it’s not wholly unreasonable. It’s certainly true thatthe Mags made mugs of us this year. I don’t know why because they aren’t a better team especially. My own thought is that it just one of style of play. There is no doubt that the experience and battling instincts of Barton was significant and maybe this is where the much heralded youth of our team came unstuck. It can’t be a co-incidence that we have been roundly beaten by a number of teams lower in the league who perhaps have more of a fighting spirit.

    As others have said Bent was pretty much anonymous in both of the Newcastle games and has lost his edge of late. After the Chelsea game I know I was wondering about whether Bent was in our best attacking partnership – though ironically loyalty would never have let me say so out loud lol.

    I was struck with how lacking in humility Bent was towards the Sunderland fans when invited to give a message to them at his press conference. It smacked to me of someone who has a beef with the club though I’ve no idea why that would be. That said – he did a good job for us, I wish him well and thank him for his efforts. He will always be remembered for the speed with which he turned his back on us and for the way in which he fed the fans the lines they wanted to hear while it suited him. Watch out Villa

    Newcastle are lucky that Andy Carrol is a home grown lad – at least yoiu know that when he pledges allegience then he means it.

    Oh and finally those 6 pointers you exect us to bottle. I’m just glad that for once those 6 pointers might be at the right end of the table 🙂

  15. Jesus Christ

    I support East Fife.

  16. DforDerivative

    “Now, whilst only managing a solitary point and a goal difference of -4 against newly-promoted Newcastle isn’t going to make or break their season, it does raise a few alarm bells as to how they cope with the big occasions. ”

    Lol. How is playing against Newcastle the same as playing in a big game?

  17. A Sunderland fan

    @Adam Clery…..

    I was infact complaining about the atricle being “tribalist”….

    Talk about doom and gloom….yeah Sunderland bottled the derbys….most years I would care…this season…or with luck this ERA…we have a great manager….a decent team…a great chairman….og did I mention a billionaire owner.

    Well excuse me if I dont cry myself to sleep at the loss of one player…..or dare I even say it….the loss/draw of a couple of matches against Newcastle!

    Given everything thats going right for us these days they are just bumps in the road….I’m sure we’ll be ok d 🙂

  18. CityBlackCat

    On the nose Adam !

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