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Discussion Starter #1
By Paul Williams:

Dennis Bergkamp. Doesn't it feel good to say that name? Well, yes it does, but maybe it doesn't feel as exciting as it once did. Come with me fellow Gooner, as I take you on a little stroll down memory lane ...

I remember the signing of Dennis, not quite like it was yesterday, but well enough to remember reading about his impending arrival for two days on Teletext and still not believing he was signed until I saw the coverage of him at Highbury on the local evening news. I remember thinking how ironic it was that we had signed the one player probably even more unpopular than Jurgen Klinsmann in this country. If you don't remember, or simply don't know, Dennis scored a goal in each game as England faced Holland (2-2 and 0-2) in the ultimately unsuccessful 94 World Cup qualifying campaign, and could be seen to have played a large part in our elimination. But I also remember the excitement of a close friend who wasn't even a Gooner as we planned to get tickets for his debut v Middlesbrough. I remember taking a different friend up to Highbury and queuing for two hours in blistering sunshine to get those tickets, such was the excitement created by this one man (maybe Ticketmaster isn't such a bad thing).

From my view point, North Bank Lower, Ian Wright smack bang in front of me when he headed our equaliser (I'm on that season's video, as is my mate in his Cork City shirt) Dennis didn't have the greatest of games and failed to score. The trend continued throughout the first month of the season and a Spurs supporting friend was more than pleased to see how Dennis' fortunes compared to Chris Armstrong's!

However, all that was to change on a momentous weekend in late, sunny, September.

As Arsenal played host to Southampton on the 23rd September, I was being driven up to Leeds to start my University education. On an already emotional weekend for me, Dennis lit the blue touch paper for his Arsenal career and scored two of the best debut goals the 38,136 present are likely to witness, listening to the excited commentary on the radio I was thrilled, he'd come good at last! I insisted that instead of going out for a meal as my parents wanted to do that evening, we were watching Match of the Day. I wasn't disappointed.

The next time Dennis was to make such an impact on proceedings and my life was with the winning goal v Manchester United at Highbury. News of which filtered through to me as I stood pitch side at a first XI football match on the Uni grounds. It was raining and I'd been chucked the night before, but Dennis made it all better for me, doing in his first league match against the Mancs what Wrighty hadn't and never managed to do.

Life took over from the need to be glued to a radio after that, it was my first year after all, and so it was that on the final day of the season, I found myself in the Old Ball in Horsforth with Arsenal in a four way battle with Spurs, Blackburn and Everton for a UEFA Cup spot. They must be the glory years Spurs fans refer to, eh?

We were at home to Bolton and expected to win, but Sky were focusing on the top two (and a part of the UEFA Cup battle) as Newcastle could still nick the Championship if they beat Spurs and the Mancs lost. That didn't happen, but for 57 minutes, it was Arsenal in the driving seat. Until Spurs went 1-0 up at St James and took over the box seat. A Newcastle equaliser 71 minutes into that match put us back up there. For five minutes.

And then the unthinkable, Bolton take the lead, it got worse two minutes later as Everton went 1-0 up at home to Villa. We were now last in the race and even David Platt's 82nd minute equaliser won't be enough as Everton have a superior goal difference. But, with just six minutes on the clock, the "sign" from Dennis arrived in the shape of a 20 yarder that swerved and smashed into the far corner of the Clock End goal. I watched it all unfold on score flashes at the bottom of the screen and then ran across the pub to share my joy with a Spurs fan I knew.

It was the ultimate end to the season. Not that we did very much in Europe the following season, a soon to be recurring theme.

If Dennis was on his way to canonisation by sections of the Highbury crowd as a result of that wonder goal, I didn't really know or not, distance disassociating me from events in N5. However, the stand out game personally, from the following season, maybe 'cos I still have it on video nearly ten years later, was the November 96 clash with the enemy. Just two months into Wenger's reign, the Spuds came to town. In a match played in what appeared to be pelting rain, Arsenal dominated and duly took the lead through an Ian Wright penalty, before Spurs came back into it, levelling with a Lukic own goal as Andy Sinton's shot hit the post, bounced off Lukic's head and went in. Arsenal strove for a breakthrough that just wouldn't come before Tony Adams ran onto a Bergkamp flick, with just two minutes left, and smashed the ball into the North Bank goal with a left foot volley to send the crowd into raptures. Something we'd see a little more of just 18 months later.

Dennis wasn't done yet, luckily for him, nor was Ian Wright. Into injury time now and Wright chased a long ball down the right hand touchline, turning Clive Wilson with a neat step over before firing a cross over, as the ball dropped out of evening sky, Dennis killed it with one, left footed touch, stepping inside the faltering fullback as he moved the ball onto his right foot and slotted the ball past the keeper. Tearing away from goal, Dennis slid to his knees roaring his delight. The watching Andy Gray felt it to be the best game Dennis had played in an Arsenal shirt. Truly, the Iceman cometh.

Just two months later, another strike from the God. This time in an FA Cup replay at Roker Park. It is 0-0 when he receives the ball from Paul Merson, twenty five yards from goal, Dennis allows the ball to slip away from him towards a Sunderland player, dragging the ball back, he spins away from the defender, taking the ball with him as he goes. To top that, with no options available, Dennis caresses the ball past the goalkeeper and into the corner from the edge of the area and Arsenal have the breakthrough. A goal so good it had Peter Reid, then Sunderland manger, clapping, so good, that the Sunderland fans watching in the college bar in Leeds could only follow their manager in grudging appreciation of the magic just witnessed.

Home defeats to United, Liverpool and, painfully, Wimbledon were to do for us as Wenger's first attempt at the title petered out. Likewise, a home defeat to George Graham's (!) Leeds (!!) by the familiar score of 1-0 (!!!) in the FA Cup saw the challenge ended for another year, but we would be back. And how.

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:proud:
 

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blimey, whoever wrote that has a good memory, although one thing he didn't add was Andy Sinton's goal came from a throw in that by rights Spurs should have given back to us as a man was down injured when we put it out :yuck:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Part two:

The Best Player in the World?- 1997/ 98

Maybe it is Tony Adams we have to thank for the sparkling football that followed the season after, the season that saw Dennis bag an unprecedented 1-2-3 on the MOTD goal of the month competition, part of an amazing opening to the season that saw Dennis bag 11 goals in 11 games. Tony remarked to Dennis on a coach somewhere that with his ability it’d be a real shame not to win something with the club. Dennis went on to score 22 goals in a season that resulted in Arsenal winning the second double in their history. And Dennis picked up the Footballer of the Year award for his troubles. In a season that culminated in another Bergkamp wonder strike to knock Argentina out of the World Cup in the last minute, there were numerous highlights.

THE highlight was perhaps in a game Arsenal didn’t even win. Less than three weeks into the new season, we drew with Leicester City. The three all draw was notable for 6 minutes of injury time played at the end of the match, which saw Arsenal pegged back from 2-0 to 2-2, take the lead again, only to be denied right at the death. It was also notable for the quality of all three of Arsenal’s goals. All three scored by Dennis. The mark of the first goal is how easy Dennis made it look to curl the ball into the top corner from the outer limits of the penalty area. The second goal came as Dennis ran onto a Patrick Vieira pass, one on one with the keeper, Kasey Keller blocked his attempted chip, but the ball spun up, and over the keeper, dropping into the empty net. The third goal, well I guess we’ll all be telling our grandkids and digging out the videos of this one. A chipped ball from Platt, cushioned on the outside of Bergkamp’s right foot, while it was still in the air he flicked it past Matt Elliot with the left, took one more touch to control it as it hit the ground and then stroked it past Keller with a final sublime touch with his right foot to complete a beautiful treble. Had time stood still as Bergkamp made his move? It certainly seemed possible; I bet Matt Elliot still doesn’t know what hit him to this day.

The following month, Gooners were treated to an awesome display of football as Bergkamp, Overmars and Wright dismantled West Ham United, 4-0 at Highbury. That game, however, was preceded by an absolute thriller at Stamford Bridge. A game I wasn’t intending on watching, as I had to work. Luckily for me, I am easily persuaded, so when friends decided my Sunday afternoon would be better spent taking in the game with a few beers for company, I wasn’t quick to argue. The Old Ball, again, was the venue. And again, it would be a late, late goal that would send me home happy. This time it was Nigel Winterburn with an absolute belter from 30 yards to steal the points, 3-2. The groundwork for this victory was laid, not for the first time by Dennis Bergkamp.

Falling behind to a predatory strike from Gus Poyet, (did he ever score any goal that you couldn’t describe thus?) five minutes before half time, it was Dennis who dragged us level. A wonderfully worked goal (do WE ever score any goal you couldn’t describe…?) levelled things up just before half time. Vieira’s chip forward, nodded down by Ian Wright, Dennis, running onto it, did the rest. Dennis then put us into the lead just before the hour, volleying home a loose ball from the edge of the box. Chelsea would equalise just a minute later, but then, had they not, we wouldn’t have Winterburn’s late howitzer to savour, would we?

My next brush with Dennis would come as I managed to get my hands on a ticket for the FA Cup 3rd round game with Port Vale. I seem to remember the game being at the end of my Christmas holiday and that I had to change my travel plans as a result of getting the ticket. My girlfriend Claire, who had no such intention of doing the same, was a little put out. I didn’t care, I was off to see the Arsenal and so it was that I headed to Highbury direct from the coach station that afternoon. I wish I hadn’t bothered.
A 0-0 draw against a team something like forty places below us in the league hardly served to keep the dying embers of festive spirit alight. Dennis had the best chance for us, hitting the post after a run at the goalkeeper. The ball rolled wide.

Funny little aside here- just in the process of checking things forgotten over the last 7 years, it turns out that at the time of this game, John Hartson was the Premiership’s top scorer!

I digress. Two weeks later, we went to Coventry, Bergkamp and the fast developing Anelka scoring our goals in a 2-2 draw. The game would be remembered, though, primarily for a ludicrous sending off for Patrick Vieira. Having slung an arm up in the air, in our penalty area, he was then shocked to see the ref, Steve Lodge, give a penalty. I’m not sure why, but Patrick felt the need to compound his initial stupidity by haranguing Lodge until he produced the inevitable red card. How times have changed, eh? Anyway, Dion Dublin put the penalty away with much less fuss than had preceded it. The post match debate would centre, however, on whether or not Dennis had dived to get my namesake, Paul Williams sent off, with ten minutes left. It was difficult to prove either way, I like to think that Dennis, through on goal, would not have resorted to such chicanery, but it wasn’t easy to say for sure.

The “dark side” of Dennis would resurface in a thrilling FA Cup replay at West Ham, in March. Ten minutes till half time and Dennis is in possession, of the ball, he is being hassled by the Hammers’ Steve Lomas, Dennis cracks, swinging an elbow back into Lomas’ face. Was it an accident? Unlikely, the ref shared the view of most observers and duly dispatched Dennis for an early bath. Ten minutes later, Nic Anelka scored a brilliant goal to edge us in front. A brave rear guard action came up short as the ginger Hartson scored with just minutes on the clock to take the game to extra time. No matter, the durability of that legendary defence, and the superstar for a night, Alex Manninger got us through extra time and penalties to the FA Cup semi final. Just three days earlier, we had gone to Old Trafford and achieved our first Premiership win up there. The title race was hotting up, the Double was on. In fact, in the adrenaline rush of the dramatic win at west Ham, I was now convinced we were going to do it.
I should’ve put a bet on us.

A Friday night out in Horsforth, ok just a Friday night in Horsforth; beers and a good time had by me, Claire, her housemate KT, KT’s boyfriend Andy (one of my best mates incidentally) and we are on our way back to Andy’s. Passing a couple of lads, KT is greeted with the comment “Haven’t I seen you in Playboy?” Over my shoulder, I tell them to get lost. A few steps more, footsteps on the path. And then nothing.

I come to with my girlfriend in full hysterical mode; I think I’ve just been kicked in the head. Andy is down too. Claire and KT have managed to prevent further damage being inflicted on us, and they get us to our feet and back to Andy’s. Blood has been spilt and Claire is possibly more shaken than I am. But only because I’m too dazed to be shaken, I even manage to tell her to stop being so hysterical. Why am I telling you this? Because my crime was to be a Londoner in Leeds. At least that’s what they told Claire. Which was ironic really as Andy was born in Scarborough, and a staunch Leeds fan. But he took the kicking with me, regardless.

The following day, after a trip to Otley Hospital to confirm there would be no further repercussions for my health, the four of us hit the pub to see Arsenal take on Barnsley. To me, it was a strange quirk of fate that Arsenal were playing a Yorkshire side the day after this assault, in my mind, I needed Arsenal to exact revenge, if I couldn’t have Leeds, then Barnsley would have to do. Only Arsenal started this match like they hadn’t heard about one of their own being battered on the mean streets of Yorkshire- which, of course, they hadn’t. Nonetheless, Dennis put us into a lead which, in the context of the match was fairly undeserved, but no arguments about the quality of the goal, one of those trademark curlers from the edge of the area. Once a goal up, we were never going to lose and Marc Overmars confirmed the win in the second half. Revenge taken.

More importantly, we were now on the brink of the title. A win at home to Derby would put us within two points of the title with three games to play. To add personal spice to a game that really didn’t need that much more adding to it, I did get a bet on us, I went for a 2-0 home win. And then listened on my friend Mike’s radio- the kiss of death…

Delight at an earlyish penalty award soon turned to despair as Dennis put the kick too close to Mart Poom. It was to be his last contribution to Arsenal’s season as he limped off the pitch after half an hour, having taken some heavy tackles from Derby. Shortly after his departure, Manu Petit lashed in what proved to be the only goal, so I lost my bet. But we were just one home game away from the title now, and everyone knows what happened there.

Bergkamp would recover to play a key role in Holland’s progress to the semi finals of the World Cup, but it seems bitterly ironic that Dennis did so much to drag us towards the Double achievement, only to miss out on the final glory. Even more so, when you consider that his final act of the season was to miss a penalty. Such failure would be back to bite Dennis, and ourselves, on the arse the following season…..

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:proud:
 

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from August 97 til his injury he was the best in the world without a doubt, and the best period of an Arsenal player i have ever seen in Highbury. :proud:
 

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Great article...Thanks again. Wish bergkamp was 7 years younger in this current Arsenal team.. He would have been even better in this team

But the funny thing is how a player like Bergkamp is not as famous and rated lower than someone like beckham in the football world.. Bergkamp only once came in third in WPOTY award.. But Beckham came in runner up twice in those award and almost won the second one... Hmm bergkamp produces great performances in WC98 and WC94 and was easily the best Arsenal player for a good few seasons.. But monsiuer Becks have failed to produce anything world class in all major competitons with England and never was the best player in Man United.. Bergkamp even has more abilities than Becks. But why is that Beckham is rated higher in the football world?? It couldn't be because of looks either.. Bergkamp is good looking too although he doesn't have that girly Beckham look.. Maybe bergkamp married the wrong woman.. if Bergkamp had married Posh, i bet he would have won the WPOTY award at least once.

It's a mystery in football that needs some solving...
 

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beckham mania said:
Great article...Thanks again. Wish bergkamp was 7 years younger in this current Arsenal team.. He would have been even better in this team

But the funny thing is how a player like Bergkamp is not as famous and rated lower than someone like beckham in the football world.. Bergkamp only once came in third in WPOTY award.. But Beckham came in runner up twice in those award and almost won the second one... Hmm bergkamp produces great performances in WC98 and WC94 and was easily the best Arsenal player for a good few seasons.. But monsiuer Becks have failed to produce anything world class in all major competitons with England and never was the best player in Man United.. Bergkamp even has more abilities than Becks. But why is that Beckham is rated higher in the football world?? It couldn't be because of looks either.. Bergkamp is good looking too although he doesn't have that girly Beckham look.. Maybe bergkamp married the wrong woman.. if Bergkamp had married Posh, i bet he would have won the WPOTY award at least once.

It's a mystery in football that needs some solving...

maybe if Bergkamp had of played for United and been English then he would have had a shot as well, also perhaps if he pretended there was an attempted kidnapping of his baby in Knightsbridge then got it in the papers then maybe he would have won it twice. ;)
 

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Don't know about the best in the World,But a true master and genius in the game that's for sure.I've always admired his class and professionalism,A pity things didn't work out better for him in serie A.
 

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Faisal said:
Inter does not equal SerieA, Anywhere else and Bergkamp probably would of been a star.
Exactly :thumbsup: I'm thinking the same thing,Sadly Bergkamp was at the wrong club in Italy.
 

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Probably the most artistic forward of his generation, and overall one of the two most artistic players ofhis generation along with Zidane.

I haven't got the exact quote, but I think it was Silvinho who said that when Bergkamp scores, its not just any goal, its a 'Dennis Bergkamp goal'. And I remember Edu saying he is a player who in Brazil would be called the portuguese for 'class', that's it. Gilberto also said sth similar. Brazilians,who grow up watching kids do crazy things with a ball, don'treserve that kind of praise for the Europeans' level of skill unless you've got something really special in you. And ofcourse we've always heard Henry talk about how he is such a lesser playerwithout Bergkamp. As those Brazilians would say, Class !!:star:
 

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Guys...reading all of your comments and posts has made me shed my tears and my body trembling with so much of proud feeling. As Dennis Bergkamp fan myself (I know you're all fans of him as well), I humbly thank you all for the kind words. Thank you so much. :stuckup::stuckup::proud:

Recently I just have an idea that probably I can use the name for my child, 'Dennis' (if male) or 'Denise' (if female) in the future. Sounds a good idea, isn't it ? :)


FORZA IL MAESTRO !!
FORZA DENNIS BERGKAMP !! :star:


P.S ; To The Merengue :
That's one of the classiest post I've ever read from you. Great post ! :happy:;)
 

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Zhuge Liang said:
Recently I just have an idea that probably I can use the name for my child, 'Dennis' (if male) or 'Denise' (if female) in the future. Sounds a good idea, isn't it ? :)


FORZA IL MAESTRO !!
FORZA DENNIS BERGKAMP !! :star:

why not ? after all Bergkamp's father did the same with Dennis, naming him after his favourite player Denis Law. :thumbsup:

of course you will have to have an understanding wife. :D
 

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I haven't got the exact quote, but I think it was Silvinho who said that when Bergkamp scores, its not just any goal, its a 'Dennis Bergkamp goal'. And I remember Edu saying he is a player who in Brazil would be called the portuguese for 'class', that's it. Gilberto also said sth similar. Brazilians,who grow up watching kids do crazy things with a ball, don'treserve that kind of praise for the Europeans' level of skill unless you've got something really special in you.

WOW. The man. The ice man. The greatest player in highbury history. The man who made it all happen. For me the greatest import into english football ever.
 

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"If Ryan Giggs is worth £20M, Bergkamp is worth a hundred"


who said that ? was it our best mate by any chance ? :D
 
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