Sunday 15th May, 2005. Craven Cottage. A date that will live in infamy…
Whatever everyone’s memories of our thrashing at Fulham, there is one cast iron fact. On that day, Norwich were let down by a number of players who turned in a performance so gutless it wouldn’t grace a Sunday league pitch. Those players, knowing they weren’t going to be at the club the following season regardless of result, let down the club, the fans and their fellow players. There’s always been rumours of post-match confrontation between those who tried and those who didn’t, be it in the dressing room or on the bus.
One player remembered for this is David Bentley, and with reports over the weekend (and a few before that) suggesting that Norwich are interested in taking the Spurs flop back on loan, you would forgive many fans for being extremely wary. Whether its on twitter or forums or other blog posts, the general consensus is this: we don’t want him back.
I can see why people would say this. Lambert has been clear about the type of player he wants and character is high on the list of attributes he rates. Having a player willing to play for the shirt, as Bentley famously didn’t, is not going to be productive. So is it worth going for a player who has this history?
I think it is.
I think, first and foremost, it’s worth remembering Lambert’s success in the transfer market. With only 1 bad signing to speak of (S Smith), he’s got a knack of finding the right player and getting the most out of them. With Bentley, a player who had a dream move to Spurs go so horribly wrong, I can imagine a player itching to prove people wrong, get back to the best form of his career that he showed with Blackburn and prove why so many people rated him in the first place. And it’s worth remembering that he was superb. His move to Spurs wasn’t any inflated fee or fluke – he earned it.
Given Lambert’s success in this area, it’s worth realising that if he is happy that his character will fit in with the group, then we should be too. If his attitude is a problem, he won’t be here. So it feels a bit like a non-issue to begin with.
So with that out of the way, the only thing to consider is quality, and Bentley would bring sackloads of it. Experience too. A player with his talent is not someone that should be sniffed at, and with his ability to play both wide right and central making him ideal for a diamond, he would be a dream player to have.
Yes, there are stumbling blocks. Wages or a transfer fee would be a major one, with Spurs reportedly wanting to sell rather than loan, and the whole thing is probably just paper talk to begin with. But the point I am trying to make is that Bentley, despite his defects, is a cracking player who would make us a better team. He deserves, in all honesty, to be playing first team football now, and at a team that won’t be in a relegation battle, but such is life. If Lambert rejects based on character then that’s fine, he’s probably right to. But if he accepts, then I would too, knowing we were bringing someone in who can make a real impact.
In other Norwich news this week, we’re going to have a friendly vs Parma, we signed De Laet from Man Utd on loan for the season as well as Elliott Bennett from Brighton for about £1.5m, and are trying to shove as many seats in Fortress Carrow as possible. Apparently some fixtures were released too?