Charlton rightly prides itself on its links to the community, its friendly and welcoming approach, and its open-arms policy when it comes to returning ex-players (except those called Parker, Pitcher etc). And there are times when you just have to do the right thing, whatever the consequences.
We all know that in his two seasons with us Darren Bent was a star, on and off the pitch. We also know that, while an exceptional striker who should progress to play for many years at the very top level, he wasn’t the finished article and needed to work on elements of his game. Hardly surprising; find me any footballer of that age, including Rooney, who doesn’t. But instead of allowing him to move on to a club where he would be nurtured and allowed to progress (a couple of years with Wenger at Arsenal would have been perfect), we milked every penny we could from his transfer by sending him off to an outfit which has turned inflated expectations into an art form. There are strong parallels with selling Killer to Derby, where he was expected to play alongside Charlie George and Archie Gemmell in an ageing and declining team. Expecting Darren to perform well alongside arch sulkers Defoe and Berbatov, or prima paddie Keane, and to transform a club which can’t even sack managers properly while carrying a massive price tag was downright unfair.
Now poor Darren finds himself possibly low on confidence and apparently surplus to requirements where he is. And according to reports today “Tottenham have had no takers for Darren Bent, who they are prepared to sell at a loss despite having only signed him last summer (Independent)”. We have a duty to do what we can to help.
For Spurs loaning Darren back to us for the rest of the season would hold out the prospect of either taking back a rejuvenated player in the summer, one who has benefited from scoring a hatful of goals, or selling him on for a good deal more than they would get at present. For us, there would be the inner pleasure of knowing that we had done right by one we took to our hearts (plus the opportunity to send him back with our best wishes in the unlikely event that he doesn’t fire us to promotion).
I know its been mooted around the table by us before and I know in my heart of hearts that it isn’t going to happen. Curbs must be prowling on the sidelines waiting to pounce at the last minute with a bargain offer. But it’s got to be worth the cost of a call.