Last week the Cutter was fortunate enough to interview David Bentley, the former Arsenal, Blackburn and Spurs midfielder and found him on fine form, opining on Arsene Wenger’s woes at the Emirates and Tottenham’s rise to title contenders.
As the chat concluded a quote the 32 year old made on his premature retirement three years ago came up in discussion. The quote concerned Bentley’s disillusionment with how the modern game has gone, with individuality and the aim to entertain now trumped by financial considerations. Football had become first and foremost a business and he had ‘fallen out of love with it’.
When reminded of this the player who once scored a hat-trick against Ferguson’s Manchester United and volleyed a forty-yarder in a north London derby spoke passionately on his stance then and now. It is published below in its entirety and is put up not only in defence of a misunderstood ex pro but also as food for thought.
“I loved the game and love it now as if it’s my life. Playing football is the best thing that I can do. I once made a comment that I’d fallen out of love with what I was doing but that’s down to the modern game. The lifestyle of a footballer has all changed. When I first started out you’d love every minute of it and at Arsenal you had Ray Parlour and Adams on the training ground and at Blackburn there was Bellamy and Robbie Savage: characters who loved being in the dressing room and loved being a footballer. You would think, ‘F*** me I’m getting paid to do this’. “
“But it’s a job now. Everything is so serious and money has ruined the game. You can have as much money in your pocket as you want but if you don’t love what you love to do then you won’t be happy.”
“Even youth football has gone this way. All the players focusing on what they’re getting. Who the f*** cares about what you get? It’s about having fun with what you’re doing with your life.”
“When I was playing I got offered money all over the place but was I just going to take the money and go through the motions and not enjoy myself? I didn’t want to ruin it and you shouldn’t do things in life just for the money.”
“People say to me all the time ‘well you don’t love football’. The truth is I love it more than you but there’s far too much emphasis on the money side of things. Money has ruined the game and even ruined it for players in a funny sort of way because it’s no longer enjoyable. It runs through the whole game – you can’t drink or stand up or shout at a game. They always talk about how much bigger and better the game is but what they mean is there is just more money.”
Read the full and frank interview for 888sport – including David’s thoughts on Ozil and Sanchez – here.