Dennis Bergkamp Reveals Why He Won't Ever Manage Arsenal
Referring to extracts from Bergkamp's new autobiography, Stillness and Speed, adapted by The Independent, Kent uses the following quotes, where the former Arsenal striker describes his anxieties:
It made me feel so awful and I began to develop such an aversion to it that it suddenly dawned on me: "I don't want to do this any more."
It got so bad I would look up at the sky during away games to see what the weather was like. Were there any clouds coming? Sometimes I was preoccupied by the flight home while I was playing football. It was hell.
I've flown countless times in large planes, small ones, tiny ones. At Ajax, I once flew in a minuscule plane over Mount Etna near Naples when we got into a terrible air pocket – in terms of flying, I've seen and done it all and I'm simply not flying again. Ever.
His fear seemed to escalate around the 1994 World Cup in America, with the Dutch squad frequently flying out to new destinations.
While this caused him increasing trouble off the field, it didn't have such an adverse effect on his form, with Bergkamp finishing the tournament as the top scorer for the Netherlands with three goals in five games.
He had similar troubles at Inter Milan, especially when the club demanded he return just 10 days after the World Cup. The small aircraft used particularly troubled Bergkamp, as Sam Wallace quotes in The Independent.
They were those nasty little planes that stay in the clouds and shake all the time. When you looked out all you could see was white or grey. And there was hardly any space. It was so cramped it made me claustrophobic.
All of this began to magnify his phobia, meaning he eventually signed for the Gunners in 1995 on the understanding that he would no longer travel on aeroplanes.
Would Bergkamp have been a suitable candidate to manage Arsenal one day?
His European appearances would consist of trips to northern Europe or destinations accessible by road or rail, something that resulted in Bergkamp willingly missing out on income, per Kent: "In talks with Arsenal, if I said 'a million' they automatically deducted a hundred grand 'because you don't fly.' And I accepted that."
While these passages of his book will be fascinating for all football fans' perusal, many Arsenal supporters will experience an accompanying tinge of sadness at the fact he won't one day return as manager.
Unable to board any team flights for European trips or scour the globe on short-notice scouting missions, his aerophobia won't allow him a future in top-level management.
Currently assistant to Frank de Boer at Ajax, Bergkamp seemed at the start of a journey that could eventually lead the 11-year Arsenal hero back to the Emirates. On the back of these revelations, that now seems impossible.
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