I was watching the All Gunz Blazing podcast on ArsenalFanTV this weekend. MrDT named Dennis Bergkamp as an option to replace Arsene Wenger. It isn’t his first choice, but he mentioned him so it got me thinking. As a Dutch Ajax fan, I’ve seen Bergkamp working as assistant manager for my club in the past six years. In this post I will try to clarify why I believe he shouldn’t become manager of a football club.
Dennis Bergkamp as a manager
When he started his career as assistant manager, Bergkamp assisted Frank de Broer. His only problem in that time were our away matches. He still hates flying, so he never went with the team on away matches far from home. In the summer of 2016, Bergkamp told new Ajax manager Peter Bosz, that he didn’t want to be on the bench anymore. He wanted to focus on training individual players. Peter Bosz accepted it and Bergkamp moved to the stands during matches.
Versus Wim Jonk
In his active career, Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk were very close. Both played together at Ajax and Inter Milan. The always knew exactly what one and another would do. When Bergkamp started his run, Jonk gave the pass at the right time. I was very happy when these two guys decided to take our club by the hand when we were in trouble. Bergkamp was the assistant manager, while Wim Jonk managed our youth academy. Things went downwards when both old friends got in an argument. Wim Jonk then refused to talk with Bergkamp and eventually left the club. Both had their own opinion on what’s good for the club and refused to listen to the others opinion.
Versus Peter Bosz
In Peter Bosz’ first season as Ajax manager he reached the Europa League final. Things couldn’t be much better, until he decided to leave the club in the summer after this result. He moved to Dortmund and I believe this has a lot to do with the money the Germans offered him. Bosz himself however told to the media he already decided to leave the club before Dortmund called him. He had a lot of problem with some people in the club (Bergkamp amongst others). Apparently Bosz told Marc Overmars (technical director) he wanted Bergkamp and the other assistants manager to leave, or he would leave. This really hurts me. Bergkamp is a hero for me because of everything he achieved as an active footballer. So I decided to choose his side. But still, another one left the club after arguments with Bergkamp.
Versus Marc Overmars
Bergkamp’s final episode at Ajax was during this season. After Wim Jonk and Peter Bosz left the club because of him, it was Marc Overmars who decided Bergkamp needed to leave the club. Bergkamp was the one who forced Marcel Keizer’s appointment as new Ajax manager at the beginning of this season. They played together in the youth academy and Bergkamp was impressed by Keizer’s performance with the Under 23 of Ajax last season. From the start of this season, it was clear to me that Keizer was nowhere near ready to manage a big club like Ajax. Marc Overmars took control over the club in December of last year and decided to sack Keizer, Bergkamp and Henny Spijkerman(assistant manager).
My opinion on Bergkamp
As he was a hero for me in my childhood, it really hurts me to see Dennis Bergkamp sacked by the club. But I do think it is better for my club. One of the things that really annoyed me, was his view on the transfer policy of our club. In the summer we had the chance of signing current Watford player Richarlison. Bergkamp preferred Amin Younes and Ajax’s youth players over the Brazilian. We’ve all seen Richarlison perform for Watford in the beginning of this season. When someone can play like that in the Premier League, he would have been a big star in the Dutch Eredivisie. But still, Bergkamp is one of the biggest players I’ve ever seen playing for my club, so I would love for him to find something that will make him happy.
One moment during his career as assistant manager is very important for his future. When he stepped up and told Peter Bosz that he didn’t want to be on the bench anymore and focus on training individual players. I think he needs to continue the rest of his managerial career as individual trainer at Arsenal. I can’t think of a better qualified person to work with players like Mesut Ozil and Henrik Mkhitaryan, but also the players in Arsenal’s youth academy. He likes to work with players and makes them better and he loves Arsenal. So I wouldn’t sign him as manager or assistant manager, but someone who walks around Arsenal’s training centre and works one on one with players to really make them better.