A son of Amsterdam, the Dutch legend began his playing career for hometown club and footballing giants Ajax in 1981 at the age of 12. After spending five years learning his trade in the youth ranks, Bergkamp would make his full debut at the tender age of 17 – 185 domestic appearances later for de Godenzonen, Bergkamp had found the net 103 times. His brilliant performances in his native country would eventually see Italian club Inter come calling in 1993, but two years, 52 appearances and only 11 goals later, they would part ways with the player after what must be said to have been a disappointing spell in Italy…but it would be Dennis that would have the last laugh.
In the summer of ’95, Arsenal manager Bruce Rioch would splash a then club record fee of 7.5million pounds (shattering the previous club record of 2.5million pounds) – he would go on to make 33 appearances in his debut season in North London, netting 11 goals. Despite taking time to find his feet in England, the best that Bergie had to offer was yet to come when in the following year Frenchman Arsene Wenger took over headmaster duties at Highbury – it would be a match made in heaven.
Bergkamp would flourish under Wenger and eventually formed wonderful attacking partnerships and understandings with players such as Nicholas Anelka, former club mate and national team mate Marc Overmars, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Fredrick Ljungberg just to name a few. Over the course of his years at Arsenal, DB10 was absolutely vital to the Arsenal way of life and once it was time to hang up his boots after the end of the 2005-2006 season, he had firmly placed himself forever in the hearts of Gooners the world over.
Dennis Bergkamp will forever be remembered for his brilliant individual effort against Newcastle in 2002, and even more so, his wonderful take against Argentina in World Cup ’98 in France, and despite having a wonderful club career, he remains one of the most successful and most revered players in the history of the Dutch national team.
While his playing days are over, his managerial career could just be beginning, having been Frank de Boer’s number two at Ajax for the past five seasons…and I know I am not alone when I say that a sensational return back to North London, this time on the touchline, is something we all would love to see.
“You can’t blame anyone for that. You just have to accept that Bergkamp did a beautiful thing” – Sir Bobby Robson on Dennis Bergkamp’s wonder goal against Newcastle
1986-1993 – Ajax: 237 appearances/122 goals
1993-1995 – Inter: 81 appearances/30 goals
1995-2006 – Arsenal – 423 appearances/120 goals
1990-2000 – the Netherlands – 79 appearances/37 goals
Remember to check back in each Friday as we induct another great into the Robin Friday Hipster Hall of Fame. Thank you to Hipster Drew @AFCBvB1410 for this contribution.