October 20 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Arsenal will honour former striker Dennis Bergkamp with a statue outside their Emirates Stadium home, the club confirmed this evening.
Bronze statues of former manager Herbert Chapman, double-winning captain Tony Adams and record goalscorer Thierry Henry are already in place around the ground at Ashburton Grove, where Arsenal moved from Highbury in 2006.
Images of a cast for Bergkamp were leaked online, and the club tonight issued a statement on their website confirming the plans.
Holland international Bergkamp scored 120 goals for the Gunners, before retiring in 2006, helping spearhead Arsene Wenger’s team to unprecedented domestic success as part of the Invincibles’ unbeaten Premier League season of 2003-04.
Bergkamp said: “First of all, I am honoured that this is going to happen. It makes me very proud. Everyone knows that I love Arsenal and that I had a fantastic time at the club.
“For me and my family it was an important period in our lives. Next to that the people were great, the team was amazing and we had a lot of success over the years.
“I will do everything I can to be there when it will be unveiled. It will definitely be a special moment for me which I don’t want to miss.”
Arsenal are to confirm at a later date the timings of the statue’s placement.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “It will be a fitting tribute to Dennis’ huge contribution to the club that a statue will be on display outside Emirates Stadium in the near future.
“Dennis’ quality and style of play will never be forgotten. He is a true legend of Arsenal and it’s great to think that so many Arsenal supporters and visitors to Emirates Stadium will be able to enjoy this tribute to such a great player for years to come.”
Gazidis suggested tonight’s announcement had been brought forward in light of pictures surfacing online, which depicted the striker in a pose as he controlled the ball in mid-air against Newcastle in 2003.
He added: “Dennis and everybody at Arsenal are slightly disappointed that some images have been leaked today of the statue in its development, but this will not detract from the excitement we have for the statue’s unveiling in the coming months.”