By Tony Attwood
Sometimes newspapers publish articles just to get an audience. Sometimes just to annoy. Sometimes to fill up a bit of space.
There’s a typical “get an audience” piece from today’s Daily Mail (a right wing, English “get Britain out of the EU” newspaper that recently led the attack on the father of the Labour Party leader – calling him anti-British when in fact he served his country in the RAF during the second world war).
“ADRIAN DURHAM: So, what has Bergkamp done to deserve a statue at Arsenal? It’s an insult to proper legends like Smith and Thomas (and THAT goal at Newcastle was lucky anyway!)”
I haven’t bothered to read the story, because I don’t really want to give the Mail the pleasure of another click through. My guess is it is there just to annoy Arsenal fans, and get readers on that basis.because the only alternative is that A. Durham is utterly ignorant of the veneration in which many Arsenal fans hold Bergkamp.
Bergkamp came to Arsenal as a player not only booed and derided by fans of the club he played for, but also derided by the Italian media en masse. They named their “Miss of the Week” slot was changed to, “Bergkamp of the Week” and they humiliated the player day after day.
What happened to Bergkamp in Italy should be a lesson to all fans who think that booing a player, protesting about a player, or generally moving right away from standard positive supporting, is a good thing. The fact that the protesters at Arsenal could still be positive about Bergkamp while criticising Arsenal’s current players showed how little they know about footballing history.
Bergkamp was revered by so many of us as a player because he was not only a brilliant player who scored brilliant goals over and over again but also…
a) He didn’t bad mouth Arsenal at any time as far as I know
b) He never negotiated his contract in public (again as far as I know)
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c) He stayed. At a time when international players were coming and going, never settling, never showing long term loyalty, Bergkamp stayed and stayed.
d) He was always clean. Healthy, respectful, not a night club man.
e) He spoke better English than Ashley Cole (not difficult, of course, but still worth mentioning).
f) When he was tormented into lashing out, he lashed out against the sort of people I would fancy lashing out at although I have never had the strength Dennis had.
g) He was open and clear about his one personal problem – the fear of flying. No hiding from it, he just said yes, I have this problem.
As for the fact that Alan Smith should have a statue instead, that is rather rich coming from any part of the English media. When Alan won the Golden Boot (twice at it happened) each time the media ignored the fact, focussing on their hero Gary Lineker, who won the Boot in the year in between Alan Smith’s two wins.
In essence, the media never gave much credence to Alan Smith, and for part of the media to suggest now that they hold him in higher regard is bizarre.
Of course Dennis should have his statue, and of course we should celebrate this.
If it needs to come down to one thing, it should just be this…
- 315 game
- 87 goals.
- Premier League: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04*
- FA Cup: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05
2003/4 – ring any bells?