It was a straight shootout for the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot in the 2009-2010 season. With Liverpool FC finishing a distant seventh and about to part ways with Rafa Benitez, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were to go head-to-head for the fourth and final spot which would earn them the right to play in Europe’s elite club competition.
For both, it would be a new experience since the Champions League went underneath its own rebrand in 1992 and going into the match at Eastlands, it was Tottenham who held the advantage. Victory would secure a top four finish for Harry Redknapp’s side. However, a Manchester City win would put them in pole position for fourth position going into the final day.
It was a tight, even contest settled by a late goal from Peter Crouch. Tottenham held on for the 1-0 victory which booked their ticket into the UEFA Champions League for the following season.
After the match, Redknapp was conducting his usual post-match duties and was being interviewed by Sky Sports. As he praised his coaching staff, several of the first-team squad, notably David Bentley emerged and threw a bucket of ice water over their manager!
Redknapp didn’t look too impressed but realising the celebration his players were enjoying and with the incident being live, he took his waistcoast off and joined in the acclaim. Inside though, he was raging. Speaking to Absolute Radio just under a year later, he said: “It was a bit of fun, but I wasn’t best pleased with it. I just thought it was a bit disrespectful.”
Tottenham went on to reach the quarter-finals in their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign. As for David Bentley, he was sent on-loan to Birmingham City in the winter transfer window of 2011 and barely played for Spurs again. He retired from professional football in 2014.