What of those players who crossed the great divide, and played for both Spurs and Arsenal, surely none can have survived unscathed?
Oddly enough, the picture is more varied than might seem the case on first appearances. Some attract utter loathing, of course, some pity perhaps but for others it hardly seems an issue and at least one player is probably adored by both sets of fans (though smugly we can attest, mostly ourselves!).
Whether it’s more one thing than another has less to do with talent, it would appear, and more to do with personality. Traditional values like integrity, respect and humility play a significant part.
Just a few surname syllables short of being the new David Beckham, Bentley’s was more of a sad story than anything else. He showed prodigious promise at Arsenal, training with the senior squad by the age of sixteen but then hardly featuring on the pitch. He had a brilliant season at Blackburn, broke into the England set up and got a transfer to Spurs. He scored one of the best ever derby goals against Arsenal and then faded from the team sheet. Dumping a bucket of ice on Harry Redknapp’s head live on TV (celebrating getting into the Champions’ League) sealed his fate. He hardly played again and retired at 29. As a young man, his gambling habit resulted in something like a hundred bets a day. His was a salutary tale of promise unfulfilled and a treacherous immaturity unraveling any chance he might have had.
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