The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot in these days of the less-than-24 hour news cycle. Everything is epic, everyone is a legend, every event is the most amazing thing ever, until the next one comes along. But describing Dennis Bergkamp as an Arsenal legend is, in fact, accurate - he, Ian Wright, and Thierry Henry pretty much define modern-era Arsenal - and Bergkamp has the statue to prove it.
Which is why “what do you think of Arsenal now” is not just a throwaway question, when you ask it of a person of Bergkamp’s stature. Now unemployed after several seasons at Ajax, Bergkamp opened up a bit today on an interview with Ian Wright’s YouTube channel about watching Arsenal, and how it feels compared to when he was at the club. He said all the usual nice-and-vaguely-encouraging things, but he also said that “sometimes it’s good but a lot of times you don’t really feel that it’s Arsenal as we know it”.
That, of course, is the common sentiment of a lot of people who Want Their Arsenal Back. But “Arsenal as we know it” WAS Bergkamp’s Arsenal, not some overly romanticized era that people overvalue but never really saw exist, so I’ll give him more leeway than I would give some other ex-players (or fans) when he says stuff like that.
He also said, of watching Arsenal, that “It’s hard, it’s difficult and it hurts sometimes.” Which is a sentiment to which we can all relate. Overall, though, Bergkamp had mostly positive things to say about the club, the manager, and the direction the team is heading, even if the results aren’t there yet.
There’s lots of good stuff in the full 41 minute interview, which you can find here.