After Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions’ League on Tuesday night, young Nicklas Bendtner decided to go out for a quiet drink to drown his sorrows. Approximately six hours later, he was photographed leaving a nightclub with his jeans round his ankles, that quiet drink presumably having turned into one or two louder ones, followed by the inevitable public display of underpantage.
“Reaching a Champions’ League final is one of my biggest dreams and getting knocked out was a massive blow,” Bendtner snivelled. “However, no matter how disappointed I was, it does not excuse my behaviour later in the evening. I want to apologise to the club and the fans for letting them and myself down.”
What is curious about this apology is that at no time yesterday, or indeed at any point throughout the season, did he see fit to apologise for the fact that he is completely hopeless as a footballer.
Bendtner joined Arsenal as a sixteen-year-old from Denmark and joined the Wenger dream-factory, scoring buckets of goals in the reserve team but not cracking the first team beyond the few mandatory League Cup games.
Honestly, there was one third round tie against Burnley a couple of years ago when Wenger played a team made up entirely of the schoolfriends of one of his grandkids just for a laugh. A lot of pundits grumble that Arsene brings the League Cup competition into repute every time he picks a team, whereas I believe the Cup was brought into repute long before that, when the Football League allowed it to be sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board – who ever got an open top bus parade for winning something called the Milk Cup?
And while I’m on the subject, why the hell did we ever need a Milk Marketing Board, and more importantly, why did they have a budget large enough to sponsor a national football competition? Were people sitting around drinking Tizer until they saw Ronnie Whelan’s extra time winner in 1983?
Anyway, Wenger loaned Bendtner out to Birmingham for an entire season, during which he helped them get promoted from the Championship. According to press reports, City manager Steve Bruce wanted to sign Bendtner on a permanent basis, but, extraordinarily, rather than taking Bruce’s hand off like a half-starved alligator Wenger instead gave Bendtner a five year contract.
This seriously calls into question Arsene Wenger’s reputation as a professorial polymath with an impeccable eye for a player. But if Steve Bruce also wanted him, then there must have been something there.
Why, then, has Nicklas Bendtner in the two seasons since then, degenerated into such an incompetent figure of fun. The main reason that Arsenal fans mourned the loss of Eduardo after that nasty leg break was that it meant Bendtner would be forced to have a lengthy run in the side. Apparently he and Emmanuel Adebayor don’t speak to each other any more, presumably because Bendtner thinks Adebayor’s goals make him look bad.
He’s wrong. It’s his own lack of pace, brick wall first touch and woeful eye for goal that make him look bad.