On This Day In 2008: Tottenham Make David Bentley Their Club Record Signing

On This Day In 2008: Tottenham Make David Bentley Their Club Record Signing
08:30, 31 Jul 2019

Artfully picking holes in the Manchester United defence, one of the cleanest hitters of a dead ball in the Premier League. What was more, he was young, English, and determined to make it to the top. 

This was the David Bentley Tottenham signed for a club-record fee rising to £16.5million, the one being compared in all quarters, and not just because of their similar names, to a certain David Beckham. 

Blackburn had given him a platform, but the midfielder was ready for European football.   

The dream materialised on July 31, 2008. He was at White Hart Lane, sitting next to Juande Ramos – a man he had been told was the next Arsene Wenger, ready to revolutionise the Premier League.  

The rest, as they say, is history, but not of the kind anybody on the Lilywhite side of north London would like to remember. Bentley’s attitude may not have been exemplary, but he wasn’t helped by a haphazard regime and being played out of position, on one occasion deployed as a right-back in one of Ramos’ famous but ultimately ill-thought experimentations.  

His greatest moments at Tottenham came under Harry Redknapp, forever immortalised thanks to his goal against his former club, Arsenal, from the halfway line at the Emirates in the 4-4 draw.  

However, the thing about dreams, or at least those which come true, is that they tend to be anti-climactic. Moving to Spurs was about getting the club into the Champions League and yet the moment it happened – Peter Crouch scoring the winner at the City of Manchester Stadium – Bentley had been dropped. 

Redknapp was none too pleased either, when the substitute gate-crashed his TV interview after the game to pour a tub of freezing cold water over his head. 

As his career rumbled on, little did anyone know that the ostensibly flash but fading star was falling out of love with football. He would retire in June 2014 at the age of 29 before going on to set up a roofing business, as well as a successful restaurant in Marbella. 

A total of seven England caps and a huge impact on the Premier League in his earlier years, it’s hard to know how to sum up a player who was once Spurs’ record signing. 

That record has since been surpassed three times, the £30m acquisition of Erik Lamela from Roma in 2013 taking up a good proportion of the money made from Gareth Bale’s sale to Real Madrid. 

Four years later, the club spent £42m on Davinson Sanchez, the Colombian starting a new era as the first modern Tottenham player never to have played at White Hart Lane. 

Of course, his record lasted until a matter of weeks ago when £62m man Tanguy Ndombele made his way to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium from Lyon. 

That fee allowed Spurs to compete with the likes of Manchester City and PSG, both of whom had been seeking out his signature. 

Regardless of Daniel Levy’s notorious reputation in the boardroom, Spurs are once again making serious statements of intent ahead of the new season – and could Ndombele be overtaken in the coming weeks by Paulo Dybala?