Who can fault the New Man who avoids football and goes Christmas shopping instead? Surely Darren Bent’s love for, and commitment to, Aston Villa are not already in doubt. Wasn’t he always true to us? Pete Sixsmith reflects …


I based
a whole teaching career on John Cleese’s Fawlty Towers scripts. A simple question aimed at a young person which was not answered was often met with “Oh come on Karl/Karen, it’s not a proposition from Wittgenstein” or “What did you expect to see from a Ferryhill school window? Krakatoa exploding? Herds of Wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain?”.

There’s a great scene when he is preparing a meal for some American visitors and the chef has sloped off on a date with a Finn. He makes a mess of a Waldorf Salad and comes out with a written apology from the non-existent chef, to justify him taking £20 from the American – who sees through the pathetic ruse immediately.

It’s a bit like that with footballers at the moment. Nicklas Bendtner issued a long and rambling apology for his behaviour in the vicinity of The Sports Direct Arena.

He promised to be a good boy and concentrate on his game and said that he was sorry to all and sundry: motorists, Sunderland fans, Denmark fans, managers, his mother and various Norse deities.

Another apology came from our old friend Darren B£nt who was caught shopping on Sunday instead of sitting and watching his Villa team mates give a passable impression of Horden Colliery Welfare in their defeat by Liverpool.

I do not doubt for one minute that Darren was injured and that he was not bunking off to buy himself a new watch or a pair of trainers. However, his form at Villa has not been great this year so maybe, just maybe, he is laying down the foundations for a move to who knows where.

The Villa fan who wrote his clubs Observer half term review was critical of the boy Darren. In fact he said that he was the biggest disappointment of Villa’s season thus far.

He was not impressed with his return of five league goals this season and said most of them were inside the six yard box. The word “goal hanger” appeared, but not the term “baby liner”, extensively used on the playing fields of County Durham.

So maybe we got rid of him at the right time. The money was useful and, although we have not adequately replaced him (spent it – editor?), had he shown similar form for us, we would be stuck with him.

It may well be that he will be on the move in this window. Once Villa fans turn on a player or manager, they make the Blackburn fans currently howling at Steve Kean seem like the Eton College Debating Society. Watch this space.

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by – and principally for – supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

3 Responses to “Basil Fawlty’s Waldorf salad, Darren Bent’s truancy – and apologies by the score” Subscribe

  1. Jeremy December 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    There’s no such thing as the “new man” who goes Christmas shopping instead of watching the match. Our gate against Blackburn is testimony to that.

  2. Bill Taylor December 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Just don’t mention the war!

  3. Andy December 22, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    I think you’ve missed the point, Jeremy …..

    Random comment about Horden CW a bit unfair, lot of work put in by (probably) fellow SAFC supporters, and a great pitch. Long live the Northern League.

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