There was a funny story in the papers over the last couple of days, and it was about Darren Bent.
He was talking about how Lennon called him up to ask him a couple of questions after he’d shared his opinion on our manager – completely unsolicited – and then suggested that he might have done a job for either ourselves or the Ibrox NewCo.
It’s the kind of deal that might have interested them, but let’s just say that the prospect of some out of work EPL scrapper coming to Parkhead to top up his pension pot neither appealed to the club nor to our supporters.
It would have been greeted in much the same manner as someone cutting a loud and smelly fart at a dinner party.
What made me laugh was that Lennon didn’t have his number and had to request it through a third party.
And Bent’s automatic assumption, upon hearing that, was that Lennon wanted to talk to him about coming to sign for us.
Wow. That’s … ridiculous.
Bent hasn’t kicked a ball in over a year.
He was last glimpsed, as a footballer, failing to score very much for Burton Albion back in 2018.
What in God’s name makes this guy think, for a second, that we would even entertain giving him a contract?
He clearly doesn’t know Celtic at all.
I blame Gerrard for that, in some ways.
If he wasn’t advertising the league as a charity home for has-beens Bent might not have these delusions of grandeur. But at its heart it’s not even about the Ibrox boss, it’s about an arrogance that still permeates those who’ve played in England’s top flight.
There’s no sense that the game here is a serious proposition.
A couple of years ago, I read the Secret Footballer books in the course of my holiday.
They were fantastic.
In one of them the player talks about how he had an offer on the table from “one of the big two”; I always assumed, reading it, that it was us.
You have to remember that there was a time – and not even that long ago – when we did sign these sort of guys.
Bent isn’t that big a step away from Carlton Cole.
But this story preceded even that one; I’d say it was around ten years ago maybe?
The player is widely believed to be Dave Kitson, so if you recall rumours from around about that time this will be why.
Anyway, he was, as he puts it, “sold on the move.”
He called a mate of his, a mate who had played for us.
By his own admission he was thinking that the offer sounded good because it would be a breeze.
Whoever his mate was, he did him a big favour and talked him out of it, simply by clueing him in on what it would really be like.
“It’s not a jolly pal,” he was told. “These people up here aren’t going to be grateful that you’re coming up to play for them … if you have a bad game you’re going to know about it, and not on Monday morning but 20 minutes into the match … there’s pressure everywhere. You will not escape it. I’ve seen some incredibly talented players crumble and leave the club after just six months or a year because they just couldn’t cope with it every week.”
That was some of the best advice that guy ever got in his life, and he took it and turned down the move.
Look at players like Wright, Gravesen, Ljundberg … none of them could handle it.
But the mind-set, the attitude, The Secret Footballer started out with still persists down there and Bent epitomises it.
He should be glad he never got to find out how wrong he was, the hard way.
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