Alfreton, Derbyshire born centre forward Alf Bentley joined Alfreton Town in 1905 and turned professional with First Division Derby County in December 1906, joining The Rams for a £50 fee, making his Football League debut almost immediately against Woolwich Arsenal, however his 4 goals were not enough to help Derby avoid relegation at the end of the season.
He was a regular for the following three seasons and really lit the blue touch paper – he top scored for Derby in 1907-08 with 28 goals, including 4 at Barnsley in September 1907 and 4 more four weeks later at Clapton Orient. During the 1908-09 season he was the top scorer of the Second Division with 24 goals, with a further 8 goals in FA Cup matches as Derby went out in the FA Cup semi final losing 2-1 to Bristol City at St Andrew’s in a replay. His total included 4 at Leeds City in September 1908 and a hat-trick in a win over Stockport County the same November, as well as an FA Cup quarter final treble in a win over local rivals Nottingham Forest. In 1909-10 he again top scored with 31 goals with hat-tricks in wins over Gainsborough Trinity, Grimsby Town and Manchester City, although in 1910-11 he returned a relatively modest 15 goals in what proved his final season at The Baseball Ground with the returning Steve Bloomer and Jimmy Bauchop taking over his leading goalscorer mantle.
In total he scored 112 goals in 169 appearances for The Rams.before he signed for First Division Bolton Wanderers for £1,000 in May 1911, scoring 16 goals in 55 appearances before moving to West Bromwich Albion for £500 in June 1913. At Albion he announced himself with all 4 goals on his debut in a win over Burnley in September that year, top scoring with 17 goals during 1913-14.
His career was then interrupted by the suspension of football in May 1915 due to the onset of the First World War, during which he served in the Armed Forces. After the conflict Bentley returned to The Hawthorns and scored 15 goals as they won the League Championship in 1919-20, including a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers in January 1920, when he also played as The Baggies won the end of season FA Charity Shield match with a 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur. He made his last appearance for Albion in November 1921, scoring in a defeat at Manchester City, in total scoring 47 goals in 102 appearances both sides of the War before he joined Burton Town in May 1922. Bentley moved back to his hometown club Alfreton Town in August 1924, before retiring from football in May 1926.