Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Relegated Charlton in Plea to Bent - Relegated Charlton in Appeal for Bent to Stay; Striker Staying Is Key to Quick Return to Big Time, Says Chief

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Relegated Charlton in Plea to Bent - Relegated Charlton in Appeal for Bent to Stay; Striker Staying Is Key to Quick Return to Big Time, Says Chief

Article excerpt

CHARLTON today pleaded with Darren Bent not to turn his back on the club as they prepare for life in the Championship next season.

Bent will be a prime target for a host of Premiership clubs once the season ends on Sunday after Charltons relegation was confirmed by last nights 2-0 defeat by Spurs at The Valley.

Manager Alan Pardew has already said it will be hard to keep hold of the 23-year-old striker, especially if he wants to maintain his involvement in the England squad.

But chief executive Peter Varney insisted that Charlton must do everything they can to keep Bent to aid their attempt to return to the top flight.

He cited the example of Andy Johnson, who managed to keep his place in the England squad after staying at Crystal Palace for one further season after they were relegated in 2005.

Varney said: You saw the situation with Andrew Johnson, what wed like to do is try to get back with the strongest possible squad we can but its impossible to answer that at the moment.

There are all sorts of ifs and buts about Darren. Hes an England international and will obviously want to play at the highest level, and I dont know the answer yet. But weve got to keep the strongest squad possible to get back into the Premiership.

You have all got to stay together. Nearly 17,000 fans have already renewed their season tickets, and did that before they knew what status we had, Championship or Premiership. That shows the faith they have got, for Alan Pardew in particular. Weve got to work on that, build on that, and create an atmosphere that gets us back up.Varney also denied being in contact with any consortium trying to take over the club.

Reports on the BBC had suggested that a Middle Eastern group who had previously been interested in Liverpool were preparing a [pounds sterling]45million bid. …

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