Preview: Arsenal v Ajax
The All New Ashburton Grove
Saturday 22nd July
Events start 4:15pm
This game will make history for two reasons.
1) The great Dennis Bergkamp will wear the glorious red and white of Arsenal for one last time.
2) The game will see the grand opening of Ashburton Grove.
After 7 years discussing, planning & constructing, the arena is finally ready. 20,000 gooners got to have a sneak preview when they attended the annual members day last Thursday, but Saturday will see the first game to be staged there, and could it be more fitting?
The day Dennis Bergkamp signed, every person conected with Arsenal was in shock. How had such a player been convinced to play for Arsenal considering their current state? Bruce Rioch was arguably one of the worst managers we've ever had, yet we found ourselves with one of the best players on the planet.
It took Bergkamp a while to settle in, but by the end of the season Bergkamp had fired the Gunners into the UEFA cup, smashing the vital last minute vital goal that sent Highbury mental.
From day one Bergkamp has amazed, astonished and astounded. Some of the things he achieved would not have even been attempted by any average player, his assist for Ljungberg and 'that' goal against Newcastle being prime examples.
Not only was it Dennis' footballing skills that were to be admired, but the way he conducted himself off the pitch. Never did you see him stumbling out of a night club at 4 O'clock in the morning, there were never kiss and tell stories in the paper speaking of 'roasting' session & you certainly never saw him talking to other clubs behind our backs and then slagging the club off in his new book. Even when the great man was only offered a one year rolling contract he acted with great dignity claiming all he wanted to do was finish his career at Arsenal.
You may want to take notes Mr. Cole.
I was lucky enough to be present when he netted for the last time for the Gunners which, rather fittingly, was on the prearranged 'Bergkamp day'. Thousand's of Gooners wore orange shirts out of respect for one of the Premierships greatest imports. The cry of 'We got Dennis Bergkamp' rang out as Wenger summoned him from the bench to take his rightful place on the pitch, and as so many times in his career, he didn't disapoint. Picking the ball up 25 yards from goal with seconds left he stroked the ball into the top corner in the way only DB10 can.
He will be greatly missed.
'This will be a very emotional day for me as I have spent the last 11 years here, playing some of the best football of my career,'
'The supporters have been amazing to me and I hope that they will enjoy the day as much as I will.'
'It's a real privilege for me to have a testimonial and for it to be the first match at Emirates Stadium and with great friends and old team mates is even more special.'
The Gunners Team News:
The first half of the game will be made up of current Arsenal player & the second of Arsenal legends......including Ian Wright Wright Wright & Paddy Vieira.
Player to watch: Dennis Bergkamp
Cue all the tricks and flicks from the Ice Man.
Ajax Team News:
Same format as the Gunners.
Player to watch: Johan Cruyff
As if he's playing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Arsenal v SV Mattersburg
Tuesday 25th July