Arsenal - Open Letter to David Bentley
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Open Letter to David Bentley

Dear David,

I got up this morning and made my way into work, as normal. As lunch came about, I thought I'd catch up on the day's Arsenal news. Imagine my joy when I came across a piece on newsnow quoting yourself, a talented young English player once of Arsenal, urging Theo Walcott, another talented young Englishman (younger than you were at the point when Arsenal flogged you), currently of Arsenal, that he might have to leave to secure regular first team football.

We all know how confident you are in your own capabilities - indeed, it was this confidence and arrogance that led you to believe you merited a place in the team ahead of Robert Pires and Fredrik Ljungberg, two players who were, at that point, two of the best wide-men in the Premier League, and ultimately led to you leaving Arsenal for first team football (now was this really because you felt you deserved to be in the team ahead of Pires and Freddie, and thus were being unfairly treated, or was it because, deep down, you didn't think you had what it takes to force either of those players out of the first eleven?).

Your confidence and arrogance in your own abilities led to you pulling out of the England squad for the U21 finals last summer, earning you criticism from the media, and boos from the England fans. You said it was because you wanted to concentrate on getting picked for the senior England squad. And fair play to you, you've earned yourself time on the pitch with the full team.

But I bring into question your judgement. You were impatient for first team football. Arsene, not wanting to hold you back, eventually let you leave for Blackburn Rovers. And, whilst you are doing very well up there, perhaps you left too soon. Another season and I reckon you'd have found yourself easing your way into the Arsenal team, getting more playing time with each game. You could well have been a regular by now (what with the injuries that Tomas Rosicky suffers, lord only knows there's ample opportunity for a game on one of the flanks for the Arsenal...), And I reckon that England call would have come your way last season (let's face it, if Keiron Richardson was getting England matches whilst being a bit-part player at ManUre, or out on loan, you would have too, as, in my opinion, you're a better player than he).

At Arsenal, you'd have also been testing yourself against the best opposition technically in Europe, in the Champions League. Just like Theo is doing at the moment. You may even have seen him playing at the San Siro against AC Milan, and setting up Adebayor's game-killing goal.

And now you're urging Theo to think about leaving our club, for regular first team football. You are quoted as having said,

Sometimes you need football, you need games to become better, to put your skills out on the football pitch, if he is not getting the minutes at Arsenal, he's going to have to look elsewhere.

Your career doesn't start and end at Arsenal. It can flourish somewhere else.

At the end of the day you want to make a career for yourself.

You want to play football for a start and you want to make money as well.

Well thanks for those pearls of wisdom. Luckily for Theo, he's still only 18 (soon to be 19), which is - what - 2 years younger than you were when you eventually joined Blackburn. And he's getting game time. And experience. And he's developing, and nicely too - he's just taking a bit of time to get where Arsene wants him to be. But getting there, bit by bit, is what he's doing. SO at comparative stages of your careers, Theo is ahead of you in development. He's getting more games than you did, and at an earlier stage.

He's also ahead of you insofar that he recognises that he still needs to learn, to work hard, and to wait for his chance. He, unlike you, has patience. And it's these qualities that will eventually make him a better player than you are - the awareness that he is not the finished article, and automatically deserving of all the fame and fortune the world can offer (a trait that, sadly, most young English players seem to be more pre-occupied with - seems that a young English international's more keen to learn how to get a book deal than he is to improve himself as a player), along with a guaranteed starting berth, just because he is English.

Your comment about wanting to 'make money' seems rather revealing. As a good example of he above mentioned points, take Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas. Flamini has had the utmost patience, waiting and waiting, and at times getting overly frustrated, to get a shot in his position. He's been given the opportunity this season, and grasped it with both hands. Cesc, even though he is one of the best young players in world football, and one of the game's top midfielders, readily acknowledges that he still has much to learn, and is by no means the finished article. And this is not stopping either of them from earning large sums, and they are doing so through their hardwork, endeavours for the club, and talent - not through the fact they have English nationality.

You have also said in the past that you're glad you left Arsenal as you were able to 'toughen up' as a player, and you may well feel Walcott could do with the same - well, seeing as we tend to be kicked to buggery in many-a-game (ask - say, I dunno - Eduardo if he finds this to be the case...), so this won't be a problem as I'm sure that many opposition players in the Prem will be trying to boot seven-shades-of-showaddywaddy out of Theo.

All in all, I'll be happy to give Theo another couple of seasons to become that first-team regular, which would lead him neatly up to the same age of you, at the time of your transfer. He's getting numerous appearances for Arsenal, and is slowly but surely easing his way into scoring goals as well as creating them. Theo is doing just fine, and he doesn't need 'advice' like yours - he's a very level-headed individual, and I'm sure is quite capable of figuring this out for himself. Seems like he already has, as he's spoken numerous times of 'still learning' and 'waiting'.

So please quit with the words of wisdom and worry about your own career. And just think, by the time Theo gets to your age, he'll be on his way to a major international finals, as an England and Arsenal regular. If the current crop of England Internationals were more ready to concentrate on their footballing career, and recognising the need to continue to learn as a player, instead of earning a huge wad, you might well have been going to one yourself, this summer.

Yours truly,


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The Journalist

Writer: Wingston Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 6 2008

Time: 9:21PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
The picture on the front of this month's Gooner is subtle genius, possibly missed by many, Hleb skipping away gracefully with Bentley on his arse in the background. But honestly, I couldn't give a chuff what Bentley says.
Little Dutch
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06/03/2008 21:29:00

Will David Bentley ever get the chance to skin an international captain in front of 80,000 at the San Siro with a huge international TV audience and set up a goal for his team in the worlds premier cup competition? He'd best not hold his breath.
Report Abuse
06/03/2008 21:52:00

Wenger has already responded to this, ""Bentley is entitled to his opinion but it does not mean he is right. "I don't know why one player should incite another player to leave a club. It is not his job. "What is important is what the player really wants. When you are in one of the biggest clubs in the world you have to accept competition and if you accept it, it makes you better. If you move down you are down, not at the top."
Little Dutch
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06/03/2008 22:05:00

Wengers spot on. why should a 18 year old be first choice? Walcott has the right mentality. Doesn't need jokers like bentley spouting rubbish in his ear!
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06/03/2008 22:11:00

Hush yourself Bentley, why keep talking of us? get on with your life man and don't be so insecure, you were impatient and made your move, don't take your regrets and bitterness out on us, for someone always banging on about how he has to enjoy his game he comes out with a hell of a lot of negative juju. On a lighter note give me a P....Give me an S....Give me a V....what do you get?? Tottenham outpassed, outplayed and outfought on national telly.
Report Abuse
06/03/2008 22:12:00

Why oh why are we wasting colum space on that idiot. He got what he wanted, attention, so lets stop giving him any notice.
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06/03/2008 22:27:00

Top letter Wingers, anyone got his address? DB7 Manor Grim Northern Lane Posh Soulless Northern Suburb Somewhere Outside Blackburn UK Thats my guess. His case is identical to Pennant's- bags of talent, but a bad attitude. Wenger has obviously learnt from these 2 as all the young English crop seem to be much calmer and level-headed. You can always instil a bit of arrogance later in the career if needs be...
Report Abuse
06/03/2008 22:29:00

By the way any chance of improving this Your Say page so that when you press RETURN you actually get to start on a new line? Any geeks out there?
Report Abuse
06/03/2008 22:31:00

Chipo, if you want to do a line break, just type in: < br > , but without the spaces.
»»Arsene Knows««
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06/03/2008 22:47:00

Bentley is bitter. I think he regrets moving from Arsenal and for someone who developed at Arsenal, he really seems to have it for the club. Everyone was saying Theo was getting worse and maybe should have gone on loan, now he's getting some decent form, he suddenly needs to leave Arsenal? When he's fit he gets games and this is only his second real season with us. And he didn't start at Arsenal, we paid Southampton £11 million for him. Chipo, are you from Zimbabwe by any chance?
Report Abuse
06/03/2008 22:50:00

As much as I admire this great piece - thanks Wingers - this idiot Bentley isn’t even worth our while. But I’d give him one thing he said “If you want to make a career for yourself you can't afford to stay at a club where you might be 24 or 25 with 30 games under your belt.” Fair point I have to say. But look, Theo’s had 15+13=28 games so far this season, at 18, turning 19 next Sunday btw. So isn't Bentley giving his 'advice' like 6 years in advance when Theo's developing slowly but surely under the best coach in working with youth there is, training with world-class players, playing in camoes but an increasingly important role in Europe? Out of those Theo appearances, 3+4=7 were in CL, on that front he's ahead of Bentley already. Well, was it the "it could have been me" feeling when he saw Theo making an impact at the San Siro that made him feel like saying something today? Two words: sour grapes.
Lou the Gunneress
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06/03/2008 23:06:00

He is an ungrateful twerp. I hate when players try desettling the vibe of another team which is what I feel he is doing. Much of it would be sour grapes too, Walcott succeeding at Arsenal would probably make him feel that he jacked up in his decission
Report Abuse
06/03/2008 23:10:00

Deep down, Bentley knows he was not good enough to make it at Arsenal, explaining his constant comments about Arsenal. He needs to move on, Arsenal was a chapter in his life but its in the past. His 'advice' to Theo may be his opinion, but he's out of line making these comments to the media.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 02:58:00

How funny was that niko. The spuddies bottle it again. After all the *****e we got from them for losing to PSV last year at least we didnt lose at home.
Ozi Gooner
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07/03/2008 03:21:00

A little bit off point but what are these Eduardo rumours?? Thought spurs had their house in order but obviously not.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 06:44:00

Bentley's a tottenham supporting mug. Absolute berk, i genuinely dislike english footballers because of their over inflated thoughts of self importance. The only ones i've been able to not detest in recent years have been Owen and our very own Theo, who seem to have their feet on the ground. Even if one does have a severe gambling addiction.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 09:11:00

Every time Bentley opens his gob I feel so much happier that he left us. With the amount of **** he talks it won't be long till he's sitting beside Alan Shearer as a pundit.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 10:16:00

You are a touchy bunch guys. He may have said things to the media that weren;t his place but he was on talksport and got asked his opinion and gave it... better to be honest than sit on the fence and talk ****e like the BBC pundits for eg. People laughed at Dave in the Summer for pulling out ill from the U21s. He's the one laughing now. And Just for the record guys... you cant spout off about arrogance when ian7 leaves posts like that 3rd from the top... pot kettle and black.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 10:35:00

Bentley pulled out of the the U21 tournament to save himself for Euro 2008. Fine - except that we didn't get there. Wouldn't Bentley have been better helping the U21s to try to win their tournament? He might still be laughing but not for any good reason.
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07/03/2008 10:48:00

Bentley was more honest than some give him credit for. "....I didn't want to accept not playing and thinking 'these players are better than me'. Every week I wanted a game" he said. He came to the same conclusion that Wenger did - we have better players than Bentley.
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07/03/2008 10:59:00

Bentleys just a jelious ARSENAL reject!!!
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07/03/2008 11:52:00

It hasn't been argued by Bentley. He didn't think he could get in the team - that's why he left.
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07/03/2008 11:56:00

Bentley was brought up in our academy. Of course he has the technique and skill necessary to have made it at Arsenal. He has a messed up attitude and he is happy at Blackburn now, but fail to qualify for Europe this season, MikeyGamst and I can almost guarantee he won't be there next season. We would never want him back anyway, people with a rotten attitude like his are not the type of players we want at Arsenal. I'm glad he left.
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07/03/2008 12:19:00

And MikeyGamst, Blackburn isn't a top side yet. So Ian7 isn't being arrogant. You are moving in the right direction and it's only a matter of time but you aren't there as yet.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 12:20:00

cheers for stepping on my toes (check the debate and analysis section) but obviously you have more time on your hands to write more! haha
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 12:25:00

BENTLEY IS CLASS, he left knowing his chances of regular football was limited due to an english passport and wenger being an anti english manager
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 12:49:00

Didnt you know MikeyGamst, its all over the news and talksport. The media are out to get Arsenal and Wenger, Gallas is the best captain in the land and nikolaijns has NOT forgotten the same happened to his set of dickheads when they last played PSV. LMFAO
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 13:09:00

Not quite the same HudYid - we didn't lose the home leg! We do get a bit over defensive whenever anyone has a pop at us but you are right that Gallas is indeed one the the best captains in the land.
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07/03/2008 13:18:00

HudderfieldYid, we've moved on as a squad. PSV aren't even in the Champions League anymore.
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07/03/2008 13:22:00

keplaz you fool they were in the Champions league 2 months ago, are you saying in the last 2 months they have changed that much you idiot
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 13:29:00

No - what is being said is that PSV weren't good enough to stay in the CL and dropped into the consolation competition. At the moment they have the advantage of an away goal lead over the the Spuds. Not difficult to understand is it.
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07/03/2008 13:34:00

no amos your stating that as soon as your knocked out you are not good enough to be a champions league side!! no matter what stage you get to, Inter look like they are heading out, are you saying they are crap even tho they will win the seria a this year
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 13:50:00

No - I am saying that PSV weren't good enough to stay in it - they didn't get past the group stages and dropped into the consolation competition. Inter may or may not get knocked out now but at least they are good enough to still be in the competition. By the way I see that PSV have only lost at home twice this season - once in the CL to Inter by a single goal. Good luck in the 2nd leg.
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07/03/2008 14:01:00

so by that comment you have no chance of winning the CL because youve never done it before? and can i remind you no matter what you have done on the domestic front we do have a superior european trophy cabinet then u.
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07/03/2008 14:06:00

I don't follow your logic but that's probably because you're not using any. You have a much older European trophy cabinet than us - it's still in black and white! We are currently ranked 5th by Uefa in European rankings - you are rather generously rated as 55th!
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07/03/2008 14:12:00

rankings??? hahaha are you having a laugh haha all this banter and you are using uefa rankings hahaha im sorry mate thats pathetic, not to mention the age of our trophies either??? you european champions you!
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 14:15:00

We knocked out the European Champions, you are currently losing to a team that wasn't good enough to stay in the competition, so yeah, we have a chance to be Champions. And what's wrong with the UEFA rankings? If they said Spurs 5th and Arsenal 55th, I'm sure they'd be a DVD about it. You can't keep talking about glory in European Cups twenty years ago. Some of those competitions don't even exist anymore.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 14:19:00

Yes I know - hurtful things those rankings arent they! Best not talk about it. Instead tell us how you did the double last century almost 50 years ago. Weren't they great times! Maybe next season eh! Or the season after? When the year ends in 1 maybe?
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07/03/2008 14:22:00

so because the english 1st division does not exist anymore your record in it does not count, and dont try and disrespect psv they are a good side they beat us they beat you, and more importantly they were in the CL because they won their league you finished 4th, so they actually deserve it more then you. good bye your boring me now just like the way you played v milan boring
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 14:25:00

Bye-Bye 5-1. Game Over. You didn't make the next level I am afraid. Still come back and treat us to more stories of your triumphs last century won't you - we promise not to be bored by them!
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07/03/2008 14:30:00

PSV is an excellent team but if they were as good as you make out, they wouldn't be in the UEFA Cup. They would have at least made it to the last 16. PSV would not beat us right now. We are a side that's moved on and the fact that they won their league means nothing, the EPL is a better league by far than the Dutch League. And they were in the CL, they deserved to be in it, but they were not good enough to stay in it. We are still there though. And talking about finishing fourth, where are you in the league again? 5th, 7th? Help me out 5-1.
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07/03/2008 14:34:00

Bentley, hope u rot at blackburn. as for UCL games, u can always buy ticket to attend UCL games. hope u wont have a chance to play in UCL games at all. u can go download the UCL song though. it sounds pretty good at the Ashburton Groove.
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07/03/2008 14:39:00

5-1, I think you should just concentrate on the fact that SPURS aren't good enough to be a Champions League side. Based on last night they aren't good enough to be a Uefa Cup side either.
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07/03/2008 15:03:00

i like looking around the vital football network when i get a chance, i find most of the articles really good and most of the banter funny, but some just ridiculous and altho ive only seen a few of your posts 5-1 virtually all of them seem pointless and basically not worthwhile? im assuming the 5-1 is in reference to the spurs win the other week? you cannot dine off that forever you know...
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07/03/2008 15:11:00

Sorry to disappoint you Hicksvilleyiddo but PSV did not beat us at home and most definitely did not outplay us or outclass us at home, after a 0-0 in Eindhoven we took the lead at home then they were gifted a free kick and profited from it, 1-1 is not losing you marrow.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 15:38:00

ignore him pompeyrug.....we do....and he's already dined on it enough to feed the world twice over the lardy little oik.
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07/03/2008 15:40:00

He's an alright player. Theo has greater potential but I would say that Theo probably moved from Saints too early. In the sense that at Saints he could have developed more and played week in week out championship football and then the step up would've been easier for him because undoubtedly, it's going to be hard to break into any of the top sides.
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 15:59:00

nikolaijns, We lost 1-0 at PSV. However they were better last season when they had the defensive rock Alex & also Kone on the wing. Neither of those players were on the pitch the other night (Alex is now at chelski & I'm not sure if Kone has left as well or is just injured), but they were the only two that caused us problems so I'm baffled as to how spuds managed to lose at home to them!!
Ashburton Gooner
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 16:53:00

I don't think we have heard the last of the Bentley saga. I don't think I have ever heard anything less than professional emitting fom AFC concerning the reasons for Bentleys departure...something tells me that soon that will change.....
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 17:52:00

damn so we did AG must've blocked that one!
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 17:52:00

Whats the 5-1 stand for ? it 5 goals against and 1 for , since the CC final ?
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 17:56:00

I salute you guys for having all that patience to talk to that idiot. Why don't we think about how to celebrate St Totts Day instead - quite likely this Sunday?
Lou the Gunneress
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07/03/2008 20:39:00

Removed for being too offensive and ban will follow if repeated. [Edited by TheFear]
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 21:40:00

........and pompeycarpet, whats your point do i go on vital pompey telling you how much i love southampton, by the way - mendes, campbell, defoe, davis, pamarot are you spurs in disguise?
Report Abuse
07/03/2008 22:14:00

this tot13nh2m fan whose brain cell is 5 minus 1
Report Abuse
08/03/2008 00:19:00

Btw 5 minus 1 also equals +4, which happens to be Spurs' goal difference in the league table at this point...
Lou the Gunneress
Report Abuse
08/03/2008 00:47:00

its also the points lead you have given up to man utd in the past couple of games
Report Abuse
08/03/2008 01:36:00

Right, it's also the gap we can open up this Sunday, while they play in the cup and we celebrate St Totts Day.
Lou the Gunneress
Report Abuse
08/03/2008 02:56:00

AG: Arouna Kone's with Sevilla now, transferring from PSV, so he obviously won't be able to play for PSV this season and play against Sp*rs because he played in the Champions League with Sevilla.
Report Abuse
08/03/2008 13:15:00

Normally I ignore cretins who come on here but I have to take issue with comments made above about my mother/parents...FFS was that necessary ?......
Report Abuse
08/03/2008 15:42:00

5-1. Banter is fine, that one post was far from fine. Repeat it and I'll be forced to ban you from the network. A quick apology to radar wouldn't go amiss I'm sure.
The Fear
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08/03/2008 16:32:00


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