I meet a fair few Dutch people in my job, driving in London. I like Dutch people, they have a good sense of humour, like a beer, have fantastic coffee shops and make reasonably good footballers…. I don’t think that I’d be alone among many Arsenal fans if I said I’d be very happy to see 2 or 3 more Dutch players in the Arsenal squad.
Dennis Bergkamp is an iconic figure for us Arsenal fans. It’s difficult to look beyond Bergy when the question of who is the best player to have played at Arsenal since the War comes up. My hero is, and always will be Charlie George, but Dennis has to be the best I’ve seen in an Arsenal shirt.
One goal of his, sticks in the mind, I believe it was the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay at Sunderland. The tackles were flying, studs up, from the men in the red stripes, but with all this mayhem going on around him, Dennis still had the poise and coolness of mind to deftly drag the ball back twice, with each foot, sending Sunderland players hurtling into thin air as he calmly bent the ball beyond the bemused Sunderland goalkeeper.
The man was a genius…
But Dennis wasn’t the first Nederlander to play for Arsenal. That honour goes to Gerry Keyser, who played the opening 12 League games in Arsenal’s record-breaking championship team in 1930-31. Keyser was actually Arsenal’s first ever overseas player, 60 odd years later Glenn Helder arrived. He initially looked good, then he had a serious haircut and was never the same…
During the late 1970’s Arsenal were strongly linked to Rudi Krol a stylish centre-back and the fantastic Johann Neeskens, a powerful dynamic forward cum attacking midfielder. We never were really certain, in those days of Dutch ‘Total Football’, they seemed capable of playing anywhere. Anyway in traditional Arsenal penny-pinching fashion The Board lost both because they wouldn’t pay the going rate for quality.
Sounds familiar eh..?
Marc Overmars had been linked to Arsenal several years before he arrived in 1997, he was one of Arsene Wenger’s first big signings. Injuries had blighted his career, but he showed us what a quality player he was, in the three years he was a Gunner. You never had to worry about over-passing with Marc in the team. If he had a chance or a run on goal… boom.
I was sorry to see him go.
Gio Van Bronckhorst was a solid, versatile and dependable player. He filled in many crucial roles for Wenger before following Overmars to the Camp Nou where Arsenal send all their old players ‘out to grass’…
Nacer Barazite didn’t make it, due to a bad case of the Abou Diaby’s. Oguzhan Ozyakup and Kyle Ebecilio have a lot of promise.
And then we have Robin Van Persie…
Robin oozes quality, has a swagger about his play, and he shares his goal celebration’s with the fans, making us feel part of it. A true Dutch Master. If he could stay fit for a season, then 30 EPL goals would be there for the taking.
‘Dank u wel Holland’.
Written by allezkev