Don’t do it Dennis
Dennis Bergkamp has spent 11 glorious seasons in a Gunner’s uniform and has said he will retire at the end of the season. He shouldn’t. At 36 he is still extremely useful, as evidenced in the way he orchestrated the win against West Brom last weekend. Those 3 points helped keep the pressure on Tottenham and could yet be seen as the points which gave Arsenal their Champions League spot for next season, which is unless they win it all.
I bring this up because I was given a DVD of Bergkamp’s 100 Arsenal goals as a gift the other day and when I watched it I was filled with nostalgia and reminded what a true master he is. Not many guys will get Motty to say “well, you just run out of superlatives”.
Remember that goal (’97 I think) where he took that long cross and magically dinked it towards the center of the box across the defender’s momentum and scored? And that goal where he took that long ball from over his head and dribbled it in the air 3 times to beat the defender, finally smashing it across the keeper? The unforgettable spin against Newcastle? And the countless other wonder strikes from outside the box like the short Overmars corner where he curled it into the top corner of the net from outside the corner of the box?
Beyond great goals it’s the football brain that still makes him so useful. Many players lose their speed and there is nothing left to prop them up. Not Bergkamp, he was never the fastest player to begin with. With Dennis, you move and bam, there is the ball. Ask Pires against West Brom. And who was more instrumental during the 49 match run? With Bergkamp it’s all about ball control, first touch, defense splitting passes and quick thinking. None of those really deteriorate with age.
There have been other useful players who played on well past Bergkamp’s age and deserved their place on the pitch: Gianfranco Zola and Teddy Sheringham are prime examples. Bergkamp is also a great influence on the younger players on the squad. You can’t tell me that Robin van Persie would be where he is now without him.
For all those reasons and more I wish Dennis Bergkamp would play on. It’s a shame some players have to age. Dennis, you’ve got at least 2 good years left in you. Stay on.