I have been most privileged to see Arsenal play football at the old Highbury Stadium in early 2000. That was curtesy of my friend Martin Levy, a die hard, hard core "Gooner". This particular night was the first time that I saw Thierry Henry play along side my favourite player Denis Berkgamp. Dennis scored a trademark goal 35 yards outside the opposition half and I became a big time Gooner myself. Times have changed; the old stadium and grounds have been transformed into luxury apartments and the new stadium has now been firmly established 5 minutes walk from Holloway Station.
Most home games, I would make this walk from the station to the grounds, approaching The Emirates Stadium, not to see the game. I was here in my capacity as a Professional Magician. I was one of several magicians hired to work one of the main restaurants before the big game started at 15.00pm.
It has been a while since I was last at The Emirates Stadium, today, I decide to visit the grounds to take some shots of The Stadium and the Bronze Statues honoring Thierry Henry and Denis Bergkamp.
Thierry Henry and Denis Bergkamp are two Legends who have thrilled and delighted Arsenal fans with their magical skills, grace and truly stunning goals. To fully appreciate the artistry of Theirry Henry, look at the video below. It is "The Good Friday Classic" against Liverpool. I was there in the stands at "The Clock End" and it was a masterclass from Theirry who singlehandedly turned the game in Arsenal's favour for a stunning victory.
This statue of Theirry captures his iconic pose after scoring against arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
It was unveiled as part of a triple whammy celebration honoring Thierry Henry, Tony Adams and Herbert Chapman.
Theirry captured the essence of "The Spirit of Highbury" with every game he played, it was raw passion and a desire to win.
Theirry will be the first to tell you that his favourite player of all time would be Dennis Bergkamp. Why would a great player like Thierry Henry pay such a huge compliment to a fellow player in the same team?
This is a mark of Thierry's humility because he knew that his game would not be as effective without the sublime talents of Dennis Bergkamp.
Theirry and Dennis had a telepathy on the pitch which was as close to mind reading as you would want in a midfield - striker partnership. Arsene Wenger said, "if Dennis was injured, Thierry was not happy". I can understand this because, Dennis's game went beyond thought, what shall I do with the ball? let me think??? NO, Dennis could read the flow of the game and make the killer pass to either Theirry or another great player Fredrik Ljungberg, who could read Dennis's mind and make the insightful run, collect ball with split precision timing and score the goal.
The Ice Man cometh
Ian Wright said that Dennis Bergkamp is, was and always will be Arsenal's greatest ever signing.I agree whole heartedly, because Dennis, when he arrived at Arsenal in 1995, transformed the club.
Dennis served some truly remarkable strikers throughout his 11 years at Arsenal, Ian Wright, Nicholas Anelka and Theirry Henry.
What made Dennis so great was the simple fact that by his own admission, he was a "team player" first and foremost.
Imagine, a team player blessed by the gods of football with the most magical touch on a football I and the world have ever seen. A team player whose assists for Arsenals great strikers, allowed them to flourish. When the moment came for Dennis Bergkamp to take the game by the scruff of the neck, he did so in truly astonishing fashion. Look at the video below to see why Dennis Bergkamp will always be Arsenal's great acquisition.
I felt this Statue was long over due for this remarkable football player and truly deserved.
I experienced real joy watching Dennis play and felt blessed that in my life time I saw a truly great artist at work. I felt the same way about Pele, however he was well before my time.
Dennis more than makes up for that, because I was and still am inspired by his desire to play the game well, play it fair and entertain the crowed. These qualities sum up the spirit of a truly great Arsenal Legend.
This blog post combines my love of photography with my passion for Arsenal Football Club and two of the greatest footballers I have ever seen.
Magician, Lecturer, Speaker.