Arsenal and Dutch legend Dennis Bergkamp has told FourFourTwo of his surprise at the drinking culture that existed at Arsenal when he first arrived at the club in 1995.
Bergkamp joined the Gunners from Inter Milan, and the move from elegant Mediterranean lifestyle to that of mid 90s Britain clearly provided a few shocks for the Dutchman.
In an interview for the 200th issue of FourFourTwo magazine – out now – Bergkamp spoke of a specific situation early in his Arsenal career when the existence of a drinking culture at the club became apparent.
“It was something I just couldn’t understand! Pre-season we went to a training camp in Sweden and trained twice a day. In the evening I went for a walk with my wife and saw all the Arsenal players sitting outside a pub. I thought it was unbelievable,” he said.
Although Bergkamp did not agree with the actions of his Arsenal team-mates, he never questioned its effects on their performances or the level of their commitment to training.
“The funny thing is you never noticed it in training because they were so strong and they always gave 100 percent.”
However, the drinking culture that Bergkamp witnessed proved short lived as he revealed that the following year Arsene Wenger took over “and it all changed.”
Drinking cultures at football clubs have caused shock at both ends of the spectrum. More recently Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini and England manager Fabio Capello have lamented their players for drinking, where as when Terry Venables took over at Barcelona in the mid 80s, he was astonished to hear none of his players drank.
The full interview with Bergkamp, in which he talks about his childhood heroes, Holland at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups and his toughest opponents, can be found in the 200th issue of FourFourTwo - out now - along with exclusive interviews with Alan Shearer, Jurgen Klinsmann, Lionel Messi, Ryan Giggs, Ronaldo and Romario.
By Killian Woodscomments