I remember vividly looking out of the window of one of the tired looking railway offices in Derby twenty years ago. My big boss Brian – the chairman – was standing next to me and we were admiring the velvet blues and greens of a few magpies below us. I said jokingly to my Sunderland supporting superior that I knew he was supposed to hate magpies but wasn’t it a magnificent bird?! He agreed smilingly and then out of the blue asked me: “Did he mean it, Frank?”.
I knew instantly what he was referring to. I said yes he did mean it alright. Bergkamp is a dancer and that was football ballet. Brian smiled and agreed and said he enjoyed that goal in multiple ways. I have always respected him for his knowledge and warmth, his great anecdotes and love of operas; and in particular for his decision to retire early and then study the horrors of the holocaust afterwards. A true inspiration, he was.
Today is the exact 20 year anniversary of that goal: the quick readjustment to a slightly misplaced pass by Robert, the tennis-volley-like first touch and resulting spin on the ball, the pirouette around sorry Dabizas, the readjustment after a dizzying spin, and that cool and calculated finish passed the frozen goalkeeper. It was indeed as the commentator said ‘magnificent’.
Nobody after Dennis in the Premier League has reached that level of artistry and efficiency that the Iceman brought to the game. That ability to find or make space through a sumptuous first, second or even third touch, that turning around his own axis, those lofty balls over stranded goalkeepers and those mesmerising deceptions of defenders. I could go on and on but would love to hear your thoughts on what DB10 brought to the game and did for you.
Here’s the goal again. 🙂