Herbert Chapman, the Arsene Wenger of football before Arsene Wenger was even a thought.
Tony Adams, Mr.Arsenal, the one club man, Arsenal’s greatest captain.
Thierry Henry, the club’s top goalscorer and most favoured son.
Three heroes of The Arsenal F.C., three men whose greatness are now forever enshrined around the Emirates Stadium after their statues were unveiled last Friday as part of the club’s 125 year anniversary celebrations.
Today, the club website posted various players’ (old and new) thoughts on what Arsenal means. Time and again the words “class,” “quality” and “enjoyment” were mentioned. If you had to think of one single player that embodies this, would you look any further than Dennis Bergkamp?
Down through the years, Arsenal have had some very special players: Charlie George, Ian Wright, Liam Brady, Robert Pires, Pat Jennings, Ted Drake, Cliff Bastin, the list goes on. But at risk of undermining Henry’s place as Arsenal’s greatest ever player, did anyone represent what Arsenal means as a club more than Bergkamp?
There have been some great imports into the Premier League since its inception, but have any come close in even being worthy of tying the Iceman’s boots?
In a word, no!
Bergkamp was genius.
While Henry (and so many more) relied on speed to beat his opponent, DB10 relied on his brain. Never has a player in the English Premier League (before, during, or after Bergkamp’s era) left you wondering how he pulled off a move as much as Bergkamp did.
THAT goal against Newcastle. Just ... just how? Nikos Dabizas and Shay Given are still wondering the same.
His hat-trick against Leicester City.
Making a fool of Roberto Ayala when he played for Holland against Argentina in the World Cup.
Dennis Bergkamp didn’t know the meaning of the word “ordinary.” Even his assists would leave Gooners going bonkers and the opposition wondering just how Arsenal got him so cheap.
Bergkamp was class, Arsenal is class. Surely class should recognise class and give the man a statue? Yes, you may ask where will the statues end? If Bergkamp gets one shouldn’t Brady? What about Dave O’Leary or Ian Wright or Charlie George?
An argument could be made for any player, but the one for Bergkamp is extra strong. His arrival at Arsenal signified the club’s move into becoming a major European player, and becoming successful once more on the domestic scene. He also played football the “Arsenal way” before we knew there was going to be a new Arsenal way, away from the boring boring 1-0 to the Arsenal.
If anyone signified Arsenal’s move into modern day football on the field it was Dennis Bergkamp, and for that he deserves to be bronzed forever at Ashburton Grove.