Taken from The Mag 255
“What Nobody is Saying about Darren Bent”
I tell you when we’re going to start worrying about sunderland? When they stop worrying about us.
They nearly had me going for a while at the start of this season with Steve Bruce being all matey and Darren Bent making no secret of the fact that he was happy to pop through to Newcastle for a night at the basketball. I was even starting to have conversations about football with sunderland fans. Actual discussions without the bitchy remarks, the well aimed low-blows and spirit crushing facts that one can carpet bomb a conversation with when duelling with wits against a poorly armed opponent. To all intents and purposes though sunderland looked liked they were growing up, not content to be merely the anti-Newcastle but to be a football club in their own right. My friend Keith who has a season ticket at S5-1 actually asked me to stop quoting him in The Mag for fear that his own fans might start to consider him a traitorous spy.
I assume most Newcastle fans struggle with the opinion they have of some individual sunderland fans (Who hasn’t said, “He’s a mackem but he’s canny”?) and the filthy-trousered drooling mutants they all become when gathered together. But I nearly got sucked into the spin of St Niall, reluctantly bracing myself to face up to the idea that they might be building something that we would have to take seriously. They have had some impressive results this season and European qualification is a distinct possibility. This is very hard to swallow and I don’t like it at all.
Then we get the derby matches where you can see them up close and you realise it’s all a lie. A thick layer of makeup applied thanks to generous foreign investment that masks the diseased and decaying trollop beneath. Cheap, nasty and battery-acid bitter, ugly of soul and dead-eyed. They stink of hate and fear and then they have the nerve to try and paint us as the club lacking in class. Witness the widely reported Steve Bruce complaint about our lack of “etiquette” after DJ Rob played The Monkees “Daydream Believer” after the 5-1, (which was pretty mild compared to the “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” that he didn’t play). For a start, what is the correct etiquette when one has butchered one’s local rivals and danced in their blood live on national television and does it change if there is a Marquis in attendance rather than a Baron? If Bruce wanted to show that he had more class than us he should have risen above it, but he hasn’t so he didn’t. So his mates in the media all wanted to know what song he was going to play, to teach us a lesson when they beat us. Ignoring the fact that assuming they were going to win up here got them beaten 5-1 and we have always been cooler than them and thus have got a better record collection than them. Consequently they haven’t even heard of D12’s “Shit On You”, Green Day’s “Scumbag” and Bloodhound Gang’s “I Hope You Die” – Not to mention Eminem’s “Still Don’t Give A F***” to nail the last words of the argument into Stevie’s fat head.
Instead of driving around hoping for inspiration from Ken Bruce on Radio 2 as to what Abba song to punish us with he might have put some consideration into why the hell sunderland’s team and fans thought they could beat this Newcastle team by bullying it out of the game? When we have got a team of hardened professionals and they have got a team of bottle merchants. Clearly sunderland are where they are in the league because not enough teams have taken them seriously – getting battered 6-2 over the season by a mid-table team like Newcastle United shows how vulnerable they are when they are not treated as an also-ran.
The proposed recruitment of David Miliband to sunderland is further proof that St Niall is all about the spin, the appearance, the public perception. Nobody outside Newcastle seems to notice this lack of substance and that might be because nobody outside the North East really cares about sunderland. For example their fans always run on the pitch when they play us at their hovel but they are never punished for it.
And this is why nobody has answered the question correctly as to why Darren Bent would leave 6th placed sunderland for 17th placed Aston Villa. “Money, obviously. What else could it be?” said one commentator.
Bollocks. Although a reported doubling of salary shouldn’t be sniffed at.
There is another reason that hasn’t been explored and you get into it by asking who was the last quality player who stayed at sunderland, who is their equivalent to Robert Lee or Alan Shearer? “Niall Quinn,” said Keith as he washed my car last week.
OK. I asked two other sunderland fans and they both instantly gave me the same answer.
Tells you all you need to know – quite simply Darren Bent is too good for sunderland.
I have at this point to confess that I have always rated Darren Bent. As a bloke and as a footballer, I was appalled that he went to sunderland in the first place but I am quite proud of myself for not hating him despite this. An England forward line of Bent and Carroll would be formidable and I said this to my good friend Keith in the bath last week. (He is so much trouble now – he he). Now Bent has rewarded me, not just by playing badly against my team but for not being able to stand Wearside a moment longer. That’s what no one has said: “quality of life.” The BBC did run a short piece about the problems of getting players to move to the North East when the actual story is not about the North East in general but sunderland in particular. Why do you think Bent (and other sunderland players by the way) spent so much time in Newcastle? The unfortunate thing about his car getting attacked in The Bigg Market (apart from it being embarrassing – but it is where we keep our least evolved residents) was that he didn’t feel as comfortable coming through here anymore and confined to sunderland had little choice but to bugger off at the first available opportunity. Just a theory – but it makes a lot of sense and is bad news for sunderland if it gets out. So we’ll not be mentioning it then?
On an unrelated issue; has anybody got a megaphone?
From The Mag 255