Fabio Capello, Bent and Villa: a storm in a teacup?

CHELSEA (0) v liverpool (0)  Mark Freeman


Andy Humble, out in Oz, was among the first to raise it, deploring at Salut! Sunderland the reported comment of Fabio Capello to the effect that Darren Bent had improved his chances of playing for England by moving from Sunderland to Aston Villa.

Andy demanded that one of two things should happen.

Either Capello should issue an immediate statement denying that he had ever expressed such a thought and that Bent was a silly boy for suggesting that he had, or – if the remark had been accurately reported – Niall Quinn should insist on a full explanation and Capello should face disciplinary action.

Since then, plenty of other Sunderland fans have had their say and Steve Bruce described the suggestion that Bent had somehow become a better player because of his move as “a frustration to us and hugely disrespectful”.

Well, I was intrigued as to whether Capello or the Football Association had thought of denying, explaining or clarifying the quoted comment. Since Fabio and I have never got round to swapping mobile phone numbers, I asked the FA press office.

The explanation I received was, up to a point, reasonable. No, Capello had not been misquoted as such – the remarks having originated at a briefing for Sunday newspaper football writers on the Friday before the Denmark friendly – but yes, their meaning had been stretched.

Capello’s point, I was assured, was not that Bent had overnight become a better player simply by joining Villa. Nor had the manager changed his mind about him on the strength of seeing him twice in Villa colours. Capello simply felt he had developed into a more complete player than the one he left behind when selecting his final squad for South Africa.

It was stressed to me that Bent’s progress had been noted and acted upon while he was still at Sunderland, since he was still at the Stadium of Light when he played in the game against Switzerland – and scored. But for injury, he would have been selected for other England games.

It seems, on the face of it, a classic case of the reporter reading much more into a remark than was there. The name of Jordan Henderson, who won his full full cap against France, was also thrown into the conversation,

And to give Capello the benefit of the doubt – and he may, of course, be challenged further on this later in the week and feel obliged to make himself abundantly clear – Bent’s performances for us earlier in the season could have persuaded him that he had moved on from being “just a goalscorer” (the phrase was actually used to me). Some of us, of course, regretted the fact that he seemed to become much less of a goalscorer, but then we were not to know how set he then was on getting away.

On the question of whether Capello can be bothered to venture to Sunderland to watch us play at home, I am less convinced by the explanation that it is often possible for him to catch two or even three games on the same day in London or without having to travel farther than, say Birmingham.

Given what is done to the fixtures list in the name of television rights, that hardly excuses his absence on each of the many occasions since his last visit to the Stadium of Light – August 2009 for heaven’s sake – when there have been no additional games on the same day that would automatically rule out watching ours.

Yes, he saw us trounce Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but Sunderland? It seems that”s just too far away.

In the original debate, some Villa fans made sensible points and others simply brayed “yah boo, we’re a bigger club whatever the league position says”. It would, I assume, be those in the latter category who came up with the moronic Andy Gray chants when Sian Massey ran the line, impeccably according to neutrals, at Blackpool on Saturday.

Monsieur Salut

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10 thoughts on “Fabio Capello, Bent and Villa: a storm in a teacup?”

  1. Lovely quote from Sports Illustrated’s Jonathan Wilson.

    “When the Football League was founded in 1889, Sunderland was forbidden to compete for two seasons for being “too far away;” 120 years later, it seems not much has changed. The irony is that the same pundits who spent 18 months not realizing how good Darren Bent was now think Sunderland is missing him far more than it actually is.”

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jonathan_wilson/02/15/sunderland/index.html#ixzz1E3bEvjQI

  2. You are dead right Avillian. He may be transformed in some ways as he was hardly pulling his pluck out for us since November.

    You are bang on the money for me about Postman Pat.

  3. im a villa fan and tbf capello doesn’t half talk some crap, bent has left sunderland for a month and now he has transformed (bullshit) all he has done is changed the way he plays cz thats what hes been told to infact he was capable of anythink he does now while he was at sunderland which isn’t really that much i mean he runs back makes a pass and now hes transformed?

  4. We live in a world of instant communication and notification. None of that overcomes the privilege afforded by being party to a conversation and understanding the context. Bent is a keen user of Twitter etc and knows to some extent how particular remarks will be construed. He has a record of using this approach to his benefit, to get what he wants and mobilise opinion. This may not all come down to Capello. It may all be down to Bent. Capello’s English is so bad in fact that anything he says could be “misconstrued” and used in mischievous ways. I wouldn’t trust the Bent boy’s comments on anything after the way he treated us.

    It just seems like exactly the kind of comment that he’d make in the circumstance. In the instrumental mind of someone like him it will appear to provide some justification for his complete and utter duplicity.

  5. What he probably said was that “it takes six weeks to get rid of effluent in England.”

    Something was lost in the translation. It’s not true of course.We’ve been stuck with Crapello for years now.

    He should have been shoved down the drains back in the summer.

  6. If Cappelo has never been to teh SOL then he sheould be ashamed of himself and we might as well sell all our English players because by playing for us they are never going to get chance of being in the full squad. There should be an agreemnt in place that the England manager and his entourage visits each Premiership ground at least twice a season. If he doesen’t its no wonder that we have not been able to sign the likes of Crouch, Baines et al. Its difficult enough for us up here in th NE to compete with the attractions of living close to London and Manchester hold for players, nevermind asking them to put their future international careers put at risk as well. We get the bum end of the deal up here. At that reminds me did any one else notice that when our game was summed up by Lineker and his mates on MOTD they only spoke about Spurs. There was never on mention of how we had played.

  7. Typical press really, they twisted his words in order to created animosity between clubs, as that is far more entertaining than the truth.
    The truth is, he has improved greatly in recent times and that is what prompted Villa to make the bid. His all round team play is better, which puts him ahead of the likes of Jermain Defoe.
    I’m sorry that you guys have lost a great player, but Gyan looks good, and that £18m must surely soften the blow!

  8. Cappello came into the England job stating he would be fleunt in English in six weeks, well he is not and on the face of it probablly never will be. Could this statement be misunderstood on this premise? I think not I believe Cappello told Bent if he wanted to play for England he should leave Sunderland and this is the only way his hasty and unexpected departure makes sense. Cappello has been a failure in the England job and has under performed in tournaments which is all that matters. His preparation in SA was a disaster and he should have been given the bullet befor he left Rustenberg.

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