Archive for July 22nd, 2006

Goodbye Dennis

143 comments July 22nd, 2006

Dennis Bergkamp’s career ended as an unused substitute in our Champions League Final defeat to Barcelona. After the game, he went across and applauded the Arsenal fans: dignity personified, as ever.

What Dennis clearly deserved was a glorious send-off, and tomorrow he will get it: on the pitch, where it ought to be. His testimonial this afternoon against Ajax will feature the likes of Patrick Vieira, Marc Overmars, Ian Wright, and Johan Cruyff, and will also have the honour of being the first game at the Emirates Stadium.

When one considers what Dennis has given in his time at Arsenal, it’s hard to sum it all up. However, this video compilation does a decent job. So many brilliant goals, so many wonderful memories. His final curled strike against West Brom was so typical of the man: perfect precision, pure class.

Class is the word as far as Bergkamp is concerned: his combination of control and power were at times unstoppable. The 1997/98 season was arguably his best, with some remarkable statistics regarding goals and assists, but he did have several renaissances later in his career. Late into his thirties he was able to produce 3 month spells of brilliance before disappearing back to the subsitutes bench.

Today, however, he takes centre stage again. I hope he turns in the performance he deserves.

“Now Iâ??m looking ahead to my last game of football ever and itâ??s the little things I will miss the most. The dressing room, the humour, the training â?? then the big things like the buzz of playing at full stadiums.”

Well Dennis, we will miss you too. His retirement is a global football event. In case you’ve forgotten how much he meant to the Dutch, listen to this.

For those of you at home, tune into the game on Channel 5 or TG4 in Ireland. It’s the last time you’ll get to see one of the greatest of our time. And for those of you lucky enough to be in the ground, don’t forget to remind everyone that there truly is only one Dennis Bergkamp.

ps. I promised you a picture of Kolo Toure getting lost at the Emirates. Here you go. Unfortunately you can’t really make him out in there, but I promise that’s him. Silly boy.

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