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Flogging Darren Bent's Dead Horse, Aston Villa

Or you can call it Aston for short if you'd prefer that, doesn't matter. Either way, special attention is warranted to the saga that was Bent to Birmingham because the Internet failed in addressing the transfer with much gusto or bravado during a week where England only offered up a few FA Cup third rounders, wait, never mind.

Allow me to start over.

Darren Bent to Aston Villa, did you hear about this one? No? O.K., so this footballer walks into a bar ... sorry, scratch that one as well, I've forgotten the punch line. With great power comes great ... nah. Comparing Darren Bent's transfer to Glee, An Analytical Approach: eh?, I've not seen that one yet.

When attempting to sum up what we've experienced with Bent over the course of the last few days, I'm befuddled. Partly, no, largely because I failed to see what all the fuss was about. I understand it's been a slow news week with minimal matches and a week where the winter depression of in doors-ness begins to consume rational thought. But the temporary insanity of the Bent epic - the sky is falling mentality concerning the transfer fee Villa paid, the Twitter death threats from Sunderland fans - both have me dreaming of Saturday morning kickoffs like some untold yarn involving wizards and elves (it's all in your imagination, Son).

But seriously, if we strip down the fuss of it all, we're left with a football club that needed goals scored by someone other than their current employees. They went out, sniffed around and tossed some notes towards the general direction of where they thought they could get just that - and presto, a deal was done. What played out earlier in the week with Bent, Sunderland, Villa and even Steve Bruce wasn't the combined plot line to Inception, Primer, Season Two of The Wire or a recent-ish Radiohead album. It was fodder. American Idol. Entertainment Tonight or last weekend's Golden Globes, minus Ricky Gervais. Yet the media, in all their importance (or impotence), blew it sky-high out of proportion - and yes, I know, I'm now a part of the same hypocrisy.

But I get it now. A common man once said that 'news doesn't write itself' (upon minutes of research, a common man has never said that, but didn't I just?) which put the Bent saga in the headlines during a relatively slow news week. And although Villa smashed their transfer fee by some margin in acquiring the services of Bent, should the England man help keep Villa up, which I believe he will, the fee will immediately be looked upon as investment and not deterrent.

For Villa fans, the answer is No. For Villa fans (again), the question is: was it a mistake to pluck Bent from Sunderland?

While I'm 100% sure (better make that 99%, this is, however, the written word) that Bent will score goals at Villa, assist in keeping them in the league, I'm equally as concerned that in the grand scheme of Villa's history, the great mistake that will be remembered over the course of the 2010-11 season won't be that of Bent's inclusion to the Aston Villa family, but that of the untimely, melodramatic and painful departure of Martin O'Neill just days before the season's commencement.

Remember that fella? Yeah, he was the one who took Villa to a sixth place finish three years in a row starting in 2007-08. It was his departure, regardless of who's to blame, that led to the acquisition of Gerard Houllier who subsequently plunged Villa into the depths of the relegation area. Forgive the suits at Villa for then trying to auto-correct that flub by signing a proven goal-scorer.

But just as this commentary shouldn't shift focus to O'Neill, it should do its part in criticizing and generally pointing a nasty finger at outraged Sunderland and Villa fans while asking the question: why all the fuss? Players are bought and sold with the wind and will continue to as it blows. Ambition is a dish best served now, the regret can wait until later when fickle football fans truly have something to complain about.

A tenner on Bent keeping Villa up, any takers?