Twitter death threats as Bent transfer row escalates
Sunderland accuse Villa of ‘setting Bent up’ as furious fans attack the player on Twitter
Darren Bent famously agitated for a transfer to Sunderland from Spurs using Twitter - but now he has started receiving death threats from fans on the social networking site after quitting the club for Aston Villa.
And although the England striker is adept at forcing a club to sell him, having done it on more than one occasion, he still found time to play the innocent victim as the fall out from his £34m transfer turned increasingly nasty, declaring: "If they didn't want to sell me, they didn't have to."
Bent, who has played for five clubs in 10 years, demanded a transfer last weekend and two days later became a Villa player, prompting accusations from the Black Cats that Villa may have been complicit in the whole affair.
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn got the ball rolling when he suggested that Bent may have been 'tapped up' during an TV interview in Ireland.
Quinn, a former player, said: "Two or three weeks ago maybe, I went into the training ground and there was something up with him.
"Having been in the game, you kind of know when someone's got something going on in their head. It transpired that that's what had happened. They were setting him up to try and come and he took the bait."
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce also claimed that he now "understood why" Bent hadn't performed well in recent weeks.
That did not go down well with Aston Villa who issued a statement that accused Sunderland of trying to besmirch the reputation of the club and the player.
It rather sarcastically claimed to understand Sunderland's "need to explain to their naturally disappointed supporters why Darren Bent has been allowed to leave."
But it went on: "We wish to make clear that at no time did Aston Villa make an inappropriate approach to the player or unfairly compromise the business of Sunderland Football Club."
Bent himself has waded into the row. He announced: "It's not nice obviously, because you spent the best part of 18 months getting on perfectly well with the manager, the owners of the club, the whole football club, and then a day later they're all taking a dig at me.
"I am disappointed with the way it finished and what's happening now. At the same time I'm an Aston Villa player now and I can't really worry about what my ex-manager or chairman is saying about me."
Despite claiming to have spent 18 happy months at the Stadium of Light, Bent chose not to explain why he decided it was time to move from Sunderland, who are sixth in the Premier League to Aston Villa, who are 17th and in danger of relegation.
Fans of Sunderland were unsympathetic to Bent's plight, and several took to Twitter to hurl abuse at the player. Some even posted death threats, telling him: "I hope you die painfully" and "Die Judas". Bent, an avid user of Twitter, now says he is avoiding the site. ·
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