From White Hart Lane to Marbella: How David Bentley’s career drastically changed by the age of 29

From White Hart Lane to Marbella: How David Bentley’s career drastically changed by the age of 29

The outspoken winger, who famously drenched Harry Redknapp live on TV, explains why he turned his back on the game so early

In an age where diluted interviews from footballers can help us all drift off to sleep after a couple of pints, former Blackburn, Arsenal and Tottenham midfielder David Bentley was, you could say, a maverick throughout his short playing career at the very top.

The jovial character, who famously tipped a bucket of water over then-manager Harry Redknapp in a post-match interview with Sky Sports, following Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in 2010, retired from professional football at the age of 29 after falling out of love with the game.

Aside from possessing a great deal of talent and potential, Bentley will more so be remembered for his jokey side, and there are enough memorable stories involving the midfielder to keep you going for a good few hours.

In an extract taken from Jimmy Bullard’s 2014 book – Bend it like Bullard – the former Fulham midfielder, who attended the same England camp as Bentley back in 2008, told of the story when the tearaway snuck McDonald’s into the team hotel after manager Fabio Capello had placed a ban on the players eating after 7pm.

“‘Leave it to me,’ he said as he called a mate of his.

“Within half an hour, there was a knock at the door and Bentley’s mate was standing there with a large McDonald’s brown paper bag full of Big Macs and chips. You f***ing beauty!”

Bullard and Bentley were part of the same England squad in 2008 – where the two terrorised manager Fabio Capello.

Although this was Bentley’s first appearance in the senior England set-up, it certainly didn’t tame the outspoken wide-man’s attitude. Bullard explains that the pair used to frequently take the p*ss out of Capello, frequently calling the Italian Postman Pat, as they felt that he resembled the children’s TV character.

“I’d walk past Capello and say ‘Postman Pat’ out of the corner of my mouth, but Bentley took it to another level when he would walk straight up to the boss and scream ‘Postman Pat!’ in his face before adding ‘And his black and white cat!’ for good measure,” said Bullard in his book.

Another story involving Bentley was when The Sun newspaper caught him moshing with his top off at a Kings of Leon gig. Speaking to FourFourTwo, he said:

“I had my top off in the mosh pit once at Wembley Arena – I was having a great night. The thing is, a picture got in The Sun and I ended up getting fined a week’s wages by Spurs!

“I’d seen them in Camden before they were famous and loved them. I met them eventually and ended up on a night out with the band. I’m not telling you about that night, though – rock ’n’ roll!”

A video of Bentley kicking a ball into a skip from the top of RedBull HQ (having bet his agents £15,000 watch that he could do so), sums up the mischievous footballers personality perfectly – he never takes himself too seriously and, as Bullard states in his book, is “always laughing and I mean, always laughing”.

On the pitch though, things weren’t going too well for the man dubbed as ‘the next David Beckham’. Struggling for game time at White Hart Lane, the practical joke involving Harry Redknapp appeared to be hindering his chances on the pitch. At the time the former Spurs boss laughed the incident off, but later admitted that he thought it was “disrespectful”.

“It was just a celebration, I wasn’t trying to make him look silly. He wasn’t happy because he was trying to change his image and I went and chucked water on him.

“I played loads that year and there was no problem between us, but then that was the end for me,” Bentley told The Telegraph.

Having spent time on loan at Birmingham, West Ham, Russian side FC Rostov and Blackburn between 2011-2013, Bentley knew exactly when his carer had come to an end.

“I went back to Blackburn and I came off in a game against Cardiff and said ‘that’s the last game I’ll ever play,'” he said to The Telegraph. 

David Bentley

The midfielder knew exactly when his career in the professional game was over.

Having made over 150 appearances in the Premier League, Bentley called time on his career within the professional game five years ago and moved to Marbella with wife Kimberly, where he spent three years part-owning a popular restaurant called La Sala.

Bentley has since returned to England with his wife and twin children – Dyna and Dalton. He still part-owns the restaurant in Spain though, alongside its sister branch in Chigwell, Essex. Alongside this, Bentley now renovates houses, has invested in a commercial cleaning company with his best friend and also has a share in an accounting firm.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror last year, Bentley said:

“I loved football but I also love this side of things – it stimulates me. I was brought up to always be busy, always work hard and ­always do things you love, and I’m someone who thinks with my heart rather than my head.

“In my head I should have ­carried on playing football but my heart told me: ‘It’s time to go now’.

“I do everything like that, so everything I do is a passion ­project. And I’m in flooring ­because I love the people I’m working with. I just love it and I wake up energised. I’m still living the dream.”