Darren Bent’s hilarious story about the SHOCKING food at Tottenham
Former Tottenham star Darren Bent has revealed how he felt old boss Juande Ramos ‘had to go’ after players became sick of eating boring food with no flavour… and having their favourite treat BANNED.
Following yet another managerial change at Watford this week, Bent joined talkSPORT to explain how things can quickly sour behind the scenes at a club.
And in Ramos’ case it was to do with one of the simplest things – food.
The Spaniard was in charge at White Hart Lane for just short of a year. Things looked promising when he took over in October 2007 and led the north Londoners to League Cup glory that season – ending their long wait for a trophy.
But it wasn’t to be, with Ramos given the boot in October 2008 and replaced by Harry Redknapp after overseeing the club’s worst-ever start to a campaign, as Spurs sat rock-bottom after claiming just two points from their first eight games.
It wasn’t just their form on the pitch that contributed to his exit, though, with Bent saying he and his teammates begged the boss to give them proper food to eat, including their favourite apple crumble.
Ramos was apparently shocked by the unhealthy food served at Tottenham when he arrived, and quickly put his new team on a strict no-sauce and no-sugar diet.
Tom Huddlestone was among the players to admit it led to him shedding the pounds, but Bent says he and the team were miserable because of it. Roman Pavlyuchenko even said he hated the food at Spurs so much he brought his wife over from Russia to start cooking for him at home. Nightmare.
When Redknapp came in, legend has it on his first day the new manager slapped a bottle of tomato ketchup on the canteen table and told the players: “I hear you’ve been hungry, lads”.
Redknapp told the press he was more bothered about Spurs players’ apparent inability to pass the ball, rather than them eating too much of the red stuff.
Steamed broccoli, dry grilled chicken and plain pasta with no sauce (who does that?) was out… and in?
“I have seen players who run around for 90 minutes and they eat steak and kidney pie, chips, peas, whatever, two-and-a-half hours before kick-off,” said the new boss. “Everyone is different. It is great that we have fitness people now. But if you can’t pass the ball straight …”
And it appears Bent and the rest of the Tottenham team were grateful for Redknapp’s menu changes… and results soon improved.
“It’s amazing the lift a new manager gives the team,” the former striker said on Tuesday’s talkSPORT Breakfast.
“When Harry came in, we won the next game then went on a great run with some big, big wins. You look back and think, ‘where was that before?’
“I’m guessing sometimes players just become a bit tired of the same voice and the same ideas.
“With Juande, he came in and got success with the League Cup, but I think he tried to change too much, too quickly.
“It was a bit like Fabio Capello when he was manager of England, he was the same. He changed the menu, all the food, and the boys were just like, ‘woah’. It was too drastic, too quick.
“Then, after the 2010 World Cup where it didn’t go to plan, he softened a little bit and changed the menu again.”
Sounds ridiculous right? Multi-millionaire footballers complaining about the food they’re given, for free, by their club. Bent is well aware.
But the former Spurs star says it’s a pretty big deal if you’re trying to manage the mood of a team, have them mentally ready for a game and get them on your side.
Apparently plain pasta, chicken and vegetables just doesn’t do it.
They weren’t even allowed salt and pepper on their meals, with tomato ketchup an absolute no-no.
And junk food? Don’t even go there – as defender Younes Kaboul found out when Ramos discovered he’d hoovered up a McDonalds one time.
Bent continued: “Usually, the night before a game there would be a couple of meat options, some fish, rice, vegetables, and then the desert was always a crumble, which the players used to like.
“Salt, pepper, sauces, everything.
“But when Juande came in, there was one meat option, one fish, and maybe plain rice and vegetables – that was it.
“There was no salt, no pepper… no flavour!
“There was no crumble, either.
“When you’ve trained in the morning, you’ve had your lunch at the training ground, which isn’t usually that great, and then you get on a coach and get to the hotel and think, ‘I’m a bit hungry, I can’t wait for dinner’ and there’s just some dry rice…
“There was also dry pasta- a pasta option with no sauce. You try and eat pasta with no sauce… you’ve got to go! Pasta, no sauce, no salt or pepper, not even a tomato!
“Dry pasta, dry chicken, plain vegetables… and no crumble. People tried, people said to him: ‘Look, Juande, people are struggling…’
“Even our captain Ledley King was like: ‘Listen gaffer, we’re struggling here, what’s up with this food?’.
“Of course we had to go through his assistant, because Juande’s English wasn’t the best…
“Honestly, it was tough. The food was really tough to eat.
“It sounds really silly, but honestly it was really tough!”
One day there’s crumble, Juande it’s gone…
It’s a tough life being a footballer, isn’t it?