Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Old Master Bergkamp Steals Spotlight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Old Master Bergkamp Steals Spotlight

Article excerpt


ARSENE WENGER wanted Arsenal to go into the season with a bit of momentum and they achieved that in style last night with a 2-1 victory over Porto to earn their first silverware of the new campaign - the Amsterdam Cup.

Despite an array of young talent on show, it was two golden oldies who earned the biggest cheers of the night in the AmsterdamArena.

The first was for Diego Maradona, who came to watch the match with his son, and the second was for Arsenal's 36-year-old striker Dennis Bergkamp.

The Dutchman was doing nothing more strenuous that sitting on the bench during the first half of the game when a close-up of his face on giant screens around the ground was enough to prompt a cascade of applause for the man who remains one of the club's favourite sons.

The saga of whether each new campaign will be his last in Arsenal colours has rumbled on for the past three years but Bergkamp promised that this one will be his finale and at next season's Ajax spectacular, he will sit in the VIP area. But despite all his achievements he wants to leave English football as a winner.

There is of course one massive barrier to that ambition - Chelsea.

They won the league by a 12 points last season and while they have been further strengthened by the arrival of Shaun Wright-Phillips and possibly Michael Essien, Arsenal have suffered the massive loss of Patrick Vieira.

Bergkamp is now the sole remainder of the 1998 Double-winning squad that he believes launched Arsenal's golden era under Arsene Wenger.

Bergkamp said: "Me and the boss, we are the only two left. Patrick was big, big player for us on and off the pitch. He helped to build what we have now, we shouldn't forget that. How will we cope? Well, we have won games without him in the past and we will stick together and come out of it hopefully stronger because we have to do that."

But can Arsenal compete with the millions of Roman Abramovich? …

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