Being born and brought up in the late 1990’s there was one game which all of the premier league anticipated apart from the local derbies obviously. It was Manchester United’s winning habit vs. Arsenal’s football. For most United supporters apart from Henry and Viera-Keane Theatrics one guy who was the man to be marked, elbowed or pushed not because he was too weak but he was the nucleus of the team- Dennis ‘iceman’ Bergkamp.
Every team needs a catalyst Chelsea had Zola, United’s transformation was highly due to SAF and Cantona but for Arsenal it has to be Dennis Bergkamp. Brought in as a flop at Inter,he is certainly a legend in the premier league and Arsenal fans are right ‘Walking along, singing a song, walking in a Bergkamp wonderland’
In a matter of 2 years Arsenal changed from the dullest club in England to the sexiest club and their sexiest player was the Dutch master. Tony Adams famously had said ‘It doesn’t matter who plays ahead of Bergkamp they know they will score’ 100% true Be it Ian Wright or Thierry Henry or Pires or Reyes or even Sylvain Wiltord they all reaped benefits because of him.
He had velvet boots possibly because his touch was soft and deft. He was an artist and the pitch in Highbury was his canvas and boy oh boy dint he paint that beautifully. Ask Matt Elliot about his touch and finesse and he would tell you what it was like. Ask 50000 Geordies what happened when this man flicked a ball from inside his left foot.. A common answer would be ‘magic’. yes, It was magic, a piece of absolute genius and possibly written in history books of premier league. I was 12 when I saw him do that today I am 23 I still can’t do it. It is beyond my imagination and I don’t know what on earth is to be done and to do that in a BPL game no wonder why he is called as the Iceman.
His penalty miss at Villa park against United prompted him to never take a penalty but he did show glimpses of his genius brains in the match. There is a moment where he slides past Roy keane n almost sets up Anelka to be intervened by Phil Neville. You don’t put balls past Roy Keane that easily and that too in an High octane Semi-final of an FA cup.
I am definitely not counting his trophies and what he has won and what he has done for the game . But he can write one thing in his resume he made Marc overmars pass. if you play street football Marc Overmars was this guy who would run you and score you but would never pass.. I am not degrading Overmars for sure but Bergkamp’s positional sense was such that even Overmars had to pass him.
How many footballers can claim they have a day named after him? Dennis Bergkamp came on as a substitute and dint he treat them with an absolute display of magic, skills, finesse and brains. He couldn’t fly because of aerophobia and possibly one of the reasons why Arsenal struggled in away European fixtures but still doesn’t take the greatness from the man.
Simplicity of a ballet dance, elegance and forever and undiluted gunner. He made a statement of intent once when journalist had asked ‘ I like Arsenal. do you ? or you like Arsenal with trophies? ‘
Never say never you never know the non flying Dutchman can just return to the league and spin his magic once again.