If Tottenham Hotspur believed the closure of Darren Bent's infamous Twitter account meant they had heard the last of their departed forward, they were mistaken as they came under renewed verbal assault from Sunderland's new record signing.
The pent-up frustration of an unfulfilled spell at White Hart Lane came bubbling to the surface as the forward was unveiled at the Wearside club's training ground yesterday. His frank assessment: "The worst two years of my career." Bent, who said he has been inundated with messages of support from Tottenham fans unhappy at his departure in a deal that could eventually rise to £16.5m, clearly has little time for manager Harry Redknapp, or his predecessor, Juande Ramos. "Even last year when I was their top scorer I never actually felt wanted," the England international said. "There's nothing worse as a striker than seeing your club linked with every other striker, but I've left all that behind.
"I didn't feel he [Redknapp] wanted me. It's massive to have the support of your manager and that's not been the case for the last two years. There's a lot of politics going on at Spurs and my career stood still. I scored lots of goals but it was the hardest two years of my life and it's a weight off my shoulders to be here.
"I never felt I'd stay in the team even when I was scoring goals but what's done is done, they have their issues and I have mine. The amount of positive messages I've had from Tottenham fans saying I was being treated like rubbish is amazing."
Martin Jol brought Bent to White Hart Lane for a club record £16.5m in 2007, but within weeks the Dutchman had been replaced by Ramos, whose arrival marked the beginning of the end for the former Charlton forward's time in North London. "Martin Jol was probably the last manager to publicly praise me at Spurs," he added. "After he went it was always going to be different. I never really felt a part of it at Tottenham."
Bent's feeling of ostracism grew despite an impressive record of 25 goals in 43 starts in two staccato campaigns. His league tally of 12 last season topped Spurs' goal charts to secure his place as the Premier League's most prolific Englishman behind Steven Gerrard.
Matters reached a nadir in January after a glaring miss in the 1-1 draw against Portsmouth, when an exasperated Redknapp went public in his criticism of the 25-year-old, with a particularly cutting observation that it was a chance his wife Sandra would have expected to score from. Bent said: "No-one goes out to deliberately miss but when you do and your manager comes out and supports you rather than criticises you, it's a big help."
Frustrations boiled over last month when he earned a hefty club fine for aiming a furious expletive-laden Twitter tirade at Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, for allegedly for holding up his move to Wearside.
His new manager Steve Bruce, a self-confessed technophobe, is relieved the new arrival's Twittering days are over.
Bent, who will make his debut in Saturday's friendly at Hearts, added: "Steve was a big factor in me signing, this is a fantastic place. There have been so many positive messages from Sunderland fans. When I first heard about the club being in for me, I had 2,000 friend requests from Sunderland supporters in three days on Twitter. It was insane. Sunderland have the potential to go beyond Spurs."