Photo: GETTY IMAGES
A statue of Dennis Bergkamp has been unveiled at Arsenal‘s
Emirates Stadium, ahead of the club’s Premier League clash with Sunderland.
The Dutchman, who spent 11 years at the club until his retirement in 2006, was
present for the unveiling, which took place at 11.30am on Saturday, as
hundreds of fans showed their support for the forward.
Bergkamp paid an emotional tribute to his former Arsenal team-mates and family
as he was immortalised with a bronze statue outside the Clock End, and said
hopes one day to return to the club.
“I spoke to Thierry Henry last night and he warned me about this moment, he
said ‘you will be fine until you have to talk a little bit, and you will be
emotional’, that happens to me now,” said Bergkamp.
“All this makes you realise how many good years we had here and how big this
club has become over the last 20 years. I was just happy to play a role in
“You all see me as a team player, and there is only one statue of me, but I
believe it is part of a whole team that I was involved in which made me
“When you think of that team, it is not only the quality players around you,
it is the fantastic manager, the staff around the club.
“I would like to thank my friends and family as well, they have been there
from the beginning in my career. Thank you to Henrita, my wife. We made this
adventure together and have four beautiful children who were all born in
“Last but not least, I had a very good relationship with the fans. You were
very patient with me.
“In the first six or seven games of my career, a lot of people spoke about
that, is he good or not? Can he do it? We had some comments from chairmen of
other clubs in London, I won’t mention the name!
“We proved them all wrong and are where we are now, and it is all down to the
fans because you had belief in me, in the team, so this is how it ends with
a beautiful statue.”
Bergkamp has just started out on his coaching career at his boyhood club Ajax
in Amsterdam, but in the long term would relish the opportunity to return to
He said: “I would, definitely. I have just started my career at Ajax as an
assistant coach, being part of the Ajax philosophy, trying to get players
through the system.
“We just started that, so I don’t think now is the time to leave that aside
and do something else, but in the future I would love to come to this
country, to this league and this club especially.”
Bergkamp joined Arsenal in June 1995 from Serie A giants Inter Milan, with
whom he had endured a difficult two seasons after switching from his first
club Ajax Amsterdam.
Under Arsene Wenger the attacker regained his confidence and verve and went on
to make a total of 423 appearances for Arsenal, during which time he managed
120 goals for the club.
During his time in north London he played a crucial part to the side winning
seven major trophies, and was a key member of the ‘Invicibles’ who managed
to complete the 2003-04 season unbeaten en route to the title.
He showed a guide and silky talent which was unique in the Premier League, and
his goal against Newcastle will be remembered for some while yet.
Bergkamp’s statue is the latest behind a clutch of other Arsenal legends
unveiled at the Emirates Stadium, after Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and
The 44-year-old, who scored 37 times for Holland
in 79 international appearances (including a memorable strike in the 1998
World Cup agianst Argentina), is currently assistant coach at Ajax.