Dennis Bergkamp and Arsene Wenger to entertain Arsenal fans during the international break

Dennis Bergkamp Arsene Wenger

Hello fellow Gooners. Once again, I’ve decided to talk about my favourite Arsenal books.

For years now (nearly a decade I must say), I’ve read a lot about this club, I’ve usually found them quality, but sometimes disappointment. However, each time, my love and passion for this club grew a bit further.

With an international break and a painful lack of Arsenal football, it is definitely the time to read a few stories about our beloved club. Here is the second part of my books selection.

“Dennis Bergkamp, Stillness and Speed – my story” by David Winner and Jaap Visser

Dennis Bergkamp book

Recently honoured by the club, and casted in bronze in front of the Emirates, alongside Arsenal legends Tony Adams, Thierry Henry and Herbert Chapman, Dennis Bergkamp is a vivid personification of modern football.

The former Arsenal star, now Ajax’s assistant coach, has also recently seen published his biography – summed up as “my story”, wisely named “Stillness and Speed”. Interesting point is the initial writer, Dutchman Jaap Visser, who worked closely with David Winner on English translation.

In fact, Winner, also the author – along with Bergkamp – of “Brilliant Orange : the neurotic Genius of Dutch Football”, refers to the two versions of “Stillness” as “twins”, assuming the books are “remarkably similar yet entirely different”.

More than a biography, this books tells us the amazing building of a great player, since his very early years, working his tricks by kicking a ball to the wall of his house, to his learning in Ajax with his inspirational master Johan Cruyff, and finally to his Arsenal time. Sometimes a story telling, sometimes a dialog with Bergkamp himself, definitely a wonderful book to read.
The quote : “{Thierry Henry about that goal against Newcastle} “When people ask me about that goal, I just go: ‘Dennis Bergkamp’. And they say ‘Yeah, but did he mean it..?’ So I say it again: ‘Dennis Bergkamp’.”

“The Wenger Code – Will it survive the Age of the Oligarch?” by Richard Evans

Arsene Wenger book

When talking about Arsene Wenger’s era, it’s easy to see two separate moments with eight initial years of success and then eight (too long) years of struggle.

In his book, Evans describes with a great accuracy what made Wenger one of the best managers in the world between 1996 and 2005: dietetic, physic and psychologic revolutionary approach of football, a science of scouting young talent in Europe, a new vision of the game.

The combination of all these attributes made a definite “Code”, a banner Arsenal and Wenger have proudly pushed since those years, which has inspired a lot of managers across England and Europe.

That said, Evans also confronts this Arsenal ideal to the Oligarch’s one, based on the “money is the only way to bring short term success” credo. The Arsenal model of self-sustainability, strongly based on the “Wenger Code”, is sometimes describes as a failure but it could become, again, a new banner which will shine across Europe.

Richard Evans balances the two aspects and gives his verdict. Far to be a fanatic point of view, this book also questioned vigorously Wenger’s model and theory.

The quote: “[Wenger] Code not only…changed diet and training methods…but it produced this mesmerizing brand of beautiful football that turned neutrals into believers and made Arsenal the team everyone wanted to watch”

That’s all for today. I assume this selection reflects my own view, so feel free to share in comment any books about Arsenal you may want to recommend.

Vincent Fabre


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