DENNIS BERGKAMP – THE KING OF KINGS by Ken1945
I have been asking why just three of our players have only been awarded the honour of having a statue made in their image – the answer regarding Dennis is simple, he has been the most magical player ever to wear our famous shirt.
Now I know that the previous post on Tony Adams praised the man for his commitment, strength and love for the club, but the Dennis Bergkamp signing signalled something that shook the world of north London football at that time.
First of all, The Arsenal broke their club record, with a £7.5 million coup when signing him in 1995 and, secondly spuds turned him down and bought Chris Armstrong from Crystal Palace for £4.5 million instead!!!
Dennis confirmed the interest from the spuds later, saying that they had been in the equation “but even then I considered Arsenal to be a bit above Spurs. I’m not sure why!!!! That’s the first part of becoming a legend Dennis!!!!!
Now here’s an interesting point…his mentality, which was branded as weak by his critics, the media, who widely questioned it when he arrived.
How ridiculous that seems now, when we remember his outstanding technique, composure and vision at our club.
There was never a minute his that so called “weak mentality” ever crossed any Gooners mind during his stay, proving those who labelled a player with such a moniker really didn’t know what they were talking about.
I quote someone else when I write “Vieira provided the power, Henry got the goals, but it was the quiet Dutchman who was the brains behind the entire operation as the north Londoners emerged as the team to beat in England” – what a true and superb statement this is.
I never understood why Wenger put him on the bench against Barcelona in the CL final, such a waste of talent, and not using him as well!!!
Bruce Rioch was the manager when Dennis arrived, but in my opinion, it was David Dein who masterminded this fabulous transfer right under the noises of our noisy neighbours.
Dennis played 315 times for The Arsenal and scored 87 times – won the premier league three times 1997-98 2001-02 2003-04 – FA cup four times 1997-98 2001-02 2002-03 2004-05 featuring in two of our three double winning teams in 1998 and 2002.
His international career spanned ten years (1990-2000) where he played in 79 games and scored 37 goals for The Netherlands.
Dennis spoke many times about his love for the club and here are some of the quotes:
1. Other clubs never came into my thoughts once I knew Arsenal wanted to sign me.
2. When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there: found a place where you belong.
3. I went for a walk with my wife and saw eight or nine Arsenal players sitting outside a pub, drinking beer. I thought: This is unbelievable! You just had two hard sessions to prepare for the season and now everything you did is going down with the alcohol.
4. People can say the money doesn’t really matter, but it does show how much a club respects you.
5. And then I saw Highbury for the first time…WOW! This was football! I loved all the houses around it, then you turn the corner and there’s the stadium! That’s not Dutch or Italian; you don’t see it in Europe. It’s just typically English.
His testimonial game, attended by 54,000 Gooners, trumpeted the opening of The Emirates Stadium… the crowd was limited due to it being the first game at our stadium.
Such was the pulling power of Dennis Bergkamp, the match was live on television…for a testimonial!!!
Special T shirts adorned every seat in the colours of red, white and orange.
Ajax were the opponents, Dennis’s other main club and the players who attended was a who’s who of football greats, including Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten!!!
They formed a guard of honour as Dennis came out to an explosion of cheers and chants, including “one more year” and “Only one Dennis Bergkamp” and the game was played.
After 11 years, 423 games, 120 goals and incredible, wonderful, magical memories the greatest footballer I have ever seen in our beloved shirt, finally called it a day.
How I wish I could have seen his magical performances on the large and beautiful playing surface of our new home, but time catches up with us all.
I have always hoped that this “King of Kings” would one day return to our club as a coach, or ambassador for the club that he ended up appreciating even more than when he joined us…perhaps it will still happen?
All I can say, finally, is “Thank you for the memories” Dennis Bergkamp, you are a true legend for our club and the supporters.