Arsenal’s Century Club – Dennis Bergkamp

April 14, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. DB10 sits at number 16.

Dennis Nicolaas Maria Bergkamp – Born: May 10, 1969 Amsterdam, Netherlands was the fourth of four sons. He was brought up in a working-class suburb; his father, who was an electrician, played amateur footballer in the lower leagues.

He was named in honour of Scottish striker Denis Law but in order to comply with Dutch given name customs, an extra “n” was inserted into his first name, by his father, after it was not accepted by the registrar.

Dennis Bergkamp outside Nicolaas Lyceum School age17

He was spotted by Ajax and was brought up through their famous youth system, joining the club at age 11 and making his professional debut on 14 December 1986. He scored his first senior goal for the club against HFC Haarlem on 22 February 1987 in a match Ajax won 6–0. He went on to make 23 appearances in the 1986–87 season, including a European debut against Malmö FF in the 1986–87 European Cup Winners’ Cup, Ajax won the competition, beating Lokomotive Leipzig 1–0.

In later seasons he established himself as a first-team player for Ajax. This culminated in a period of success for the club, which won the Eredivisie title in the 1989–90 season for the first time in five years. Dennis scored 29 goals in 36 games the following season and became the joint top goal scorer in the league. Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup Final, beating Torino through the away goals ruling. He was the top scorer in the Eredivisie from 1991 to 1993, and was voted Dutch Footballer of the Year in 1992 and 1993. In total, he scored 122 goals in 239 games for his hometown club.

Dennis attracted the attention of several European clubs as a result of his performances for Ajax. He was insistent on playing in Italy, as he considered Serie A “the biggest league at the time” and preferred a move to either Juventus or Internazionale. On 16 February 1993, he agreed a £7.1 million move to Internazionale and made his debut against Reggiana on 29 August 1993.

In his first two seasons at Internazionale, the club changed managers twice and Dennis had a difficult time, troubled with stress injuries and fatigue from the 1994 World Cup, he only scored five goals in 26 appearances. Off the field, his relationship with the Italian press and fans became uncomfortable. His shy persona and his propensity to go home after matches were interpreted as apathy. Because of his poor performance on the pitch, one Italian publication renamed their award given to the worst performance of the week, L’asino della settimana (Donkey of the Week) to Bergkamp della settimana.

Dennis left Internazionale and signed with Arsenal in June 1995 for a transfer fee estimated at £7.5 million. He became manager Bruce Rioch’s first signing at Arsenal and broke the club’s transfer fee record of £2.5 million. On the opening day of the 1995–96 league season, he made his full debut against Middlesbrough. He struggled to adapt to the English game and failed to score in the club’s next six league matches, prompting ridicule by the national press. A brace against Southampton at Highbury broke the spell and he ended his first season with 33 appearances and a goal tally of 11.

The appointment of Arsène Wenger as Arsenal manager in September 1996 marked a turning point in his career. Wenger, who had moderate success coaching in France and Japan, recognised his talent and wanted to use him as a fulcrum of the team’s forward play. Both were advocates of a continental style of attacking football, and Dennis was happy with Arsene’s decision to impose a strict fitness and health regime.

Despite making fewer appearances in the 1996–97 season, he was more influential in the first team, creating 13 assists. The following season he was instrumental in helping Arsenal complete a domestic league and cup double. He became the club’s top scorer with 22 goals and recorded a strike rate of 0.57.  In 1997/8 he was the recipient of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award, becoming only the second foreign player to be recognised by his fellow professionals as the outstanding performer in English football.

Bronze award in the 1997 FIFA World Player of the Year award. Tied in 3rd place with Zinedine Zidane, behind Ronaldo in 1st and Roberto Carlos 2nd!

After 3 seasons of finishing second, more success finally came in the 2001–02 season. Arsenal regained the league, beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in the penultimate game of the season to complete the club’s second double under Wenger; Arsenal defeated Chelsea 2–0 to win the FA Cup four days prior. Dennis played in 33 league matches, setting up 15 goals.

After a 3 game red card suspension he made his return against Newcastle United on 3 March 2002. Early in the match, Arsenal midfielder Robert Pirès played a low pass from the left flank to Denis in the edge of the opponent area with his back to goal. Under pressure from his marker Nikos Dabizas, he controlled the ball with one flick and went around the other side before placing the ball precisely into the bottom right-hand corner to score. Arsene described the goal as “unbelievable”, adding “It was not only a magnificent goal but a very important one – I enjoyed it a lot”

Dennis reached a personal landmark during the 2002–03 season, scoring his 100th goal for Arsenal against Oxford United in a FA Cup third-round tie. On 20 July 2003, he signed a one-year extension at the club. The 2003–04 season ended on a high point as Arsenal reclaimed the league title, becoming the first English team in more than a century to go through the entire domestic league season unbeaten. He committed himself to Arsenal at the end of the season, signing a further extension to his contract.

The team finished fourth in the league in his final season at Arsenal. After much campaigning from Arsenal supporters, the club designated one of its Highbury match day themes, organised to commemorate the stadium’s final season as home of Arsenal, to Dennis Bergkamp. “Bergkamp Day” took place on 15 April 2006 It celebrated his contribution to Arsenal; fans were given commemorative orange ‘DB10’ T-shirts – the colour of his national team, his initials and his squad number. Dennis came on as a second-half substitute and set up the winning Pirès goal moments after Nigel Quashie had levelled the score. Fittingly, his 89th-minute goal proved to be his last for Arsenal in competitive football.

He was the focus of the first match at Arsenal’s new ground, the Emirates Stadium. On 22 July 2006, a testimonial was played in his honour at the new stadium as Arsenal played his old club Ajax.

International Career

Dennis made his international debut for the Netherlands national team against Italy on 26 September 1990. He was selected for Euro 1992, where his national team were the defending champions. Although he impressed, scoring three goals in the tournament, the team lost on penalties to eventual champions Denmark. In the qualification for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, hep scored five goals and was selected for the finals, staged in the United States. He featured in every game for the national team, getting goals against Morocco in the group stages and the Republic of Ireland in the round of 16.

Against Wales in the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification on 9 November 1996, he scored his first hat-trick for the national team. The Netherlands finished first in their group and qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, held in France. Dennis scored three times in the competition, including a memorable winning goal in the final minute of the quarterfinal against Argentina. He took one touch to control a long 60-yard aerial pass from Frank de Boer, brought the ball down through Argentine defender Roberto Ayala’s legs, and finally finished by firing a volley with the outside of his right foot, past the keeper at a tight angle from the right, he described the goal as his personal favourite in his career.  His international career ended with 37 goals in 77 appearances.

Honours

In April of 2007, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame by viewers of BBC’s Football Focus. A year later, he was voted second by Arsenal fans behind Thierry Henry in a list of the 50 Gunners Greatest Players.

This is a summary of his achievements in chronological order:

Dutch Football Talent of the Year (1): 1990

Dutch Footballer of the Year (2): 1991, 1992

Eredivisie Top Scorer (3): 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93

UEFA European Football Championship Top Scorer (1): 1992

UEFA European Football Championship Team of the Tournament (1): 1992

World’s Top Goal Scorer of the Year (1): 1992

UEFA Cup Top Scorer (1): 1994

Premier League Player of the Month (4): August 1997, September 1997, March 2002, February 2004

PFA Team of the Year (1): 1997–98

FWA Footballer of the Year (1): 1997–98

PFA Players’ Player of the Year (1): 1997–98

Premier League Goal of the Season (2): 1997–98, 2001–02

FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (1): 1998

FIFA 100

English Football Hall of Fame

His statue now stands outside Emirates Stadium honouring him as one of Arsenal’s legends.

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Arsenal’s Century Club – John Radford

April 6, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Big Raddy sits at number 17.

John Radford was born on 22 February 1947 in Hemsworth, Yorkshire.

He joined Arsenal as an apprentice in 1962, turning professional in February 1964.

During an interview he said – “I well remember the day before my debut in Arsenal’s senior side. It was Friday 20th March 1964, just a month after my 17th birthday. In those days we youngsters had to do all sorts of menial tasks around the place and one of them that day was to clean the baths at Highbury stadium. I was scrubbing away when the next thing I knew, our manager Billy Wright was standing watching me.

“John, you’ll need to rest up a bit when you’ve finished doing that.” he said looking serious.

“Why’s that?” I replied a bit puzzled.

“Because you’re playing at West Ham tomorrow” he said and walked away leaving me stunned as you can well imagine.”

Prior to the start of the 1968-69 football season. (Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

John was a prolific goal scorer in his youth but his only appearance in 1964-65 was his debut game against West Ham. In the 1965-66 season he played 15 times, and became Arsenal’s youngest ever hat-trick scorer, against Wolves on 2 January 1965, at the age of 17 years and 315 days, a record that remains to this day.

He soon became an Arsenal regular, and blossomed under the management of Bertie Mee; in 1968-69, although he had been moved out to the right wing, he scored nineteen goals and reached the 1969 League Cup final. As he peaked, so did Arsenal; in 1969-70 he again scored nineteen goals, and helped Arsenal win the 1970 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, their first trophy in seventeen years; John scored the second goal in Arsenal’s 3-0 win in the second leg of the final, which they won 4-3 on aggregate.

John was moved up front again and continued to score regularly. The following season (1970-71) he scored 21 goals, his best single tally in a season, forming a partnership with Ray Kennedy they recorded 47 goals between them. With his goals, John was an instrumental part of Arsenal’s FA Cup and League Championship double-winning side, and his assists played an important role too; he set up Kennedy for the winning goal in Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final replay win against Stoke City, and set up both Eddie Kelly and Charlie George for their goals in the Final against Liverpool.

Arsenal footballers Ray Kennedy, Frank McClintock, (captain) and John Radford celebrating in the changing room after Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup final. Original Publication: People Disc – HP0267 (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

He continued to play for Arsenal through the early 1970s, scoring another 19 goals in 1972-73. However, his goal rate gradually reduced (only achieving single figures in 1973-74 and 1974-75) and he was injured in 1975-76, further restricting his appearances. By now, the partnership of Malcolm Macdonald and Frank Stapleton had become Arsenal’s first-choice attacking duo and John only played twice in the first four months of 1976-77.

Unable to keep a regular place in the side, he moved on to West Ham United in December 1976 for £80,000. After a year and 28 league appearances and no goals with the Hammers, Radford joined Blackburn Rovers in 1977. He was moderately successful with the Second Division side, scoring ten times in 38 league appearances. He left Rovers in 1978 and played for non-league Bishop’s Stortford before retiring. After retiring, he became a pub landlord, and enjoyed several spells as manager of Bishop’s Stortford in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In all he played 485 times for Arsenal, scoring 149 goals, which makes him Arsenal’s fourth all-time top scorer.

His 100th goal was scored against Leicester City at Highbury on September 25th 1971 in his 306th game for Arsenal.

In a supporter’s poll to determine Arsenal’s all time top 50 players John placed 24th. His total of 149 goals puts him 4th on Arsenal’s all time top goalscorer list.

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Arsenal’s Century Club – Joe Hulme

March 29, 2019

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Joe Hulme sits at number 18.

Joseph Harold Anthony Hulme (26 August 1904 – 27 September 1991) was born in Stafford.

Early on he played for the Stafford YMCA usually on the right wing. He started his career in non-league football in October 1922 with York City and moved on to Blackburn Rovers in February 1924 where he made 74 league appearances.

In February 1926 Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman was looking for a fast skilful winger and he purchased Joe Hulme for £3,500. He joined a team that included – David Jack, Jimmy Brain, Jack Lambert, Bob John, Jack Butler, Andy Neil, Jimmy Ramsey, Billy Blyth, Cliff Bastin, Herbert Roberts, Alf Baker and Tom Parker.

Joe Hulme made his debut against Leeds United on 6th February 1926. He was an immediate success and by the end of the first season Hulme’s startling pace had become his trade mark, his main trick being to push the ball past the opposing full-back then tear past him.

Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

Hulme won his first international cap for England against Scotland on 2nd April 1927. England won the game 2-1. Hulme retained his place in the team and that year played against Belgium (9-1), France (6-0), Northern Ireland (0-2) and Wales (1-2). Other members of the England team that year included Dixie Dean, Tom Cooper, Stanley Earle, Edward Hufton and Alf Baker.  In total Joe won nine caps for England, between 1927 and 1933.

In October 1927, Herbert Chapman signed Eddie Hapgood, a 19 year old milkman, who was playing for non-league Kettering Town for a fee of £750. This was followed by the purchase of David Jack (£10,000), Cliff Bastin (£2,000) and Alex James (£8,750).

In the 1929-30 season Arsenal finished in 14th place in the First Division. However in the FA Cup they beat Birmingham City (1-0), Middlesbrough (2-0), West Ham United (3-0) and Hull City (1-0) to reach the final against Chapman’s old club, Huddersfield Town. Arsenal won the game 2-0 with goals from Alex James and Jack Lambert and Joe Hulme had his first cup winners’ medal.

Joe Hulme on the right

The following season Arsenal won their first ever First Division Championship with a record 66 points. The Gunners only lost four games that season. Jack Lambert was top-scorer with 38 goals. Other important players in the team included Joe Hulme, Frank Moss, Alex James, David Jack, Cliff Bastin, Eddie Hapgood, Bob John, Jimmy Brain, Tom Parker, Herbert Roberts, Alf Baker and George Male.

Joe Hulme scored his 100th goal for Arsenal in his 307th game.

In January 1938 Hulme was transferred to Huddersfield Town. His last senior appearance was in the 1938 FA Cup Final against Preston North End making him the first player ever to appear in five Wembley cup finals.

Honours

Arsenal

Football League Division 1 winner – 1930–31, 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35

FA Cup winner – 1930, 1936

FA Cup finalist – 1927, 1932

Huddersfield Town

FA Cup finalist – 1938

Joe Hulme was also a fine all round cricketer he was a right-handed middle order batsman, right-arm medium bowler and superb deep fieldsman. He represented Middlesex 223 times between 1929 and 1939 and accumulated 8,103 runs (av. 26.56) with twelve centuries and a top score of 143. He hit 1,000 runs in a season three times with a best of 1,258 (av. 34.94) in 1934. He bagged 89 wickets (av. 36.40) with a best of 4 for 44 and he held 110 catches.

1936 Middlesex CCC – Denis Compton and Joe Hulme – Colorsport

After World War II he worked as a police reserve and played for the Metropolitan Police side; he went on to manage Tottenham Hotspur for four years after which he became a sports journalist up until his retirement in 1965.

He passed away at Winchmore Hill, Middlesex, aged 87, on September 26, 1991.

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Arsenal’s Century Club – Theo Walcott

March 25, 2019

Today we start to look at the players who are members of – “The Arsenal Century Club”. We start today with the player who took the most games and we will finish the series of posts with the player who took the least.

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Theo Walcott sits at number 19.

Theo James Walcott was born 16 March 1989 in Stanmore, London, but grew up in Compton, Berkshire. He attended Compton Church of England Primary School and The Downs School. Nike agreed to a sponsorship deal with Walcott when he was fourteen years old. He is a product of the Southampton Academy and started his career with Southampton before Arsene Wenger signed him for Arsenal in 2006 for £5 million.

He initially joined as a scholar, having agreed to sign a professional contract on his 17th birthday on 16 March 2006.

On 30 May 2006, Walcott became England’s youngest ever senior football player aged 17 years and 75 days. In December, he received the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award. On 6 September 2008, he made his first competitive start in a World Cup qualifier against Andorra. He has represented England at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012 and has 47 caps, scoring eight goals. In September 2008 against Croatia he became the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick for the full England side, aged just 19.

His first goal for Arsenal came in the 2007 League Cup Final against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on 25 February 2007. His 12th-minute strike was overshadowed by events later on in the match: John Terry was knocked unconscious, Didier Drogba scored twice to give Chelsea a 2–1 victory and three players were sent off following a mass brawl.

Some words from the man himself-

“I was only 17 and hadn’t even played in the Premiership when I went to Germany. It wasn’t my decision to pick me. But it was good experience to train with world-class players, see the way they handled themselves.

“I never read the papers, so I never know what people are saying about me. That helps. The environment I’m in with the other players around me, I don’t really see what is in the papers. Of course I wanted to play for Arsenal. But I was only 17 and I didn’t want to play too much and get injuries. The boss has done brilliantly with me and now I’m ready to push on.”

Some more words-

Football is about opinions, but love me or hate me I don’t really care,” he said.

“I have been so pleased with everything I have achieved and I’ve enjoyed everything about it. Even with the injuries, it is part of the game. I genuinely wouldn’t change anything, I don’t have any regrets.

“I’ve seen players come through who everyone says, ‘They’re the next best thing’ and they put so much pressure on them, but then they go down the leagues and down the leagues and you just don’t hear about them anymore. But if you’re strong up here [mentally] and you have good people around you, then you can get through it.”

This may come as a surprise, but Walcott is a published author.

He has written no less than four children’s books for his “T.J and the…” series.

He was just 21 when they were published in 2010. The lead character, TJ, appears to be based on the author. Goodreads rated every one of the books at least 4.5/5.

In his 370th game for Arsenal on February 20th 2017 he scored his 100th goal in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Sutton United.

Theo’s 100th goal punch

Throughout his last season at Arsenal, he was mainly used in the Europa League and in the EFL Cup, and he only made 6 substitute appearances in the Premier League. By October, he was increasingly on the fringes and was criticised following a poor performance when made captain in a 2–1 League Cup victory at home to Championship side Norwich City.

On 17 January 2018, Walcott signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Everton, ending his time at Arsenal.

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