In the first of a new series we take a peek at the new lives of famous people after falling of the media radar.
Francis Jeffers was once known as ‘the fox in the box’, not because he liked troubling lady gardens instead it was due to to his prolific goal scoring record as a young player. He contributed 20 goals in his first 60 appearances for Everton and was offered a contract that would’ve made him the best paid player in the club’s history but a couple of weeks later he rejected it and in the summer of 2001 he was sold to Arsenal for £8m.
From here on it was a tale of disappointment and injury that took him to such footballing outposts as Blackburn, Ipswich and Accrington Stanley and he only scored another 22 goals across 12 seasons.
Injury was his major trouble but many people also cited his obsession with flannels as a big contributor to his failure. While his team mates were out on the training pitch Jeffers would be limping down the home aisle in a Tesco or Asda gaily filling a trolley full of flannels and subsequently building up huge credit card bills. Towards the end of his time at Arsenal the club had full time doorman employed at all the local supermarkets with implicit instructions to stop the textile fiend making any more purchases.
When asked how it all went so wrong Jeffers is reputed to have replied “I couldn’t be arsed. Have you got any spare face cloths?”
David Bentley is a waster of similar proportions. He began his career at Arsenal where he met the above mentioned Jeffers. Their friendship led to his team mates giving him the moniker “The midfielder or number ten in and around the box” but it never really caught on, on account of it being shit.
Bentley, like Jeffers, showed great promise at an early stage of his career and although he suffered a dip with a gambling addiction and a fondness for scotch eggs he got himself back on track and had a couple of super seasons for Blackburn rovers where he again found himself sharing a room with Jeffers.
Sadly while occupying room 103 of the Bristol premier inn one Friday night Bentley had a sudden realisation that he, like Jeffers, really couldn’t be arsed either. Yes, he has been paid astonishingly well to play football. A job that 90% of all people in the world would love and Yes, he was at that time in the England squad but there was so much hard work involved it had become exhausting. No one ever thinks about how often footballers have to put and take off footwear. No one cares how much they have to train in the rain or even fog. It’s nigh on an impossible job.
It is also worth mentioning that Jeffers was at the peak of his flannel love during their time together at Rovers and there was one very troubling episode that may have made up Bentley’s mind over his commitment. David Bentley was a natty dresser with one weakness, fluorescent socks. Which are usually made from terylene towelling. Uh oh. Bentley arrived back to their hotel room after an unsuccessful trip to have his ankle broken by some loan dolphins (less fearsome money lenders) to find Jeffers sat with his willy in one sock and his fingers in the other. A scuffle erupted and Jeffers said some mean things about Bentley’s quiff. That was the end of the line for Dave.
He may have signed for Tottenham and put in the odd performance here and there but his heart was never in it and he only made 40 odd apparences for the Spurs.
So where are they now? After Jeffers poked Bentley on Facebook at the start of July the friendship was repaired and they met up (with an appropriate adult chaperone) at a spud-u-like in Bristols Cribbs Causeway shopping centre.
A mutual love of food led them to invest their money in a very high end restaurant in the heart of Toxteth and they opened the establishment on the 5th September, Sylvain Wiltord cut the ribbon on the front door.
Sadly the menu is reminiscent of their footballing careers and despite showing immense promise on the aperitifs it falls apart after the fish course and by the desserts it is farcical. An recent a la carte menu read like this:
Pineau des Charentes
Snails au gratin with red wine
Chefs salad with quails eggs, walnuts and goats Brie
Assiete of foie gras with turnips and prunes
Spicy Tuna Tartar with black olive and cucumber
Cheese and marmite sandwich
Curry pot noodle
I don’t hold out much hope for these restaurateurs but if Jamie Oliver can make a living from it anyone can. Bon chance Dave and Frank.