By Richard Clarke
"Quite special," said Dennis Bergkamp with typical modesty when asked about the superb curling finish that capped both the victory over West Brom on Saturday and a day in his honour at Highbury.
But then perhaps Bergkamp is not the best judge of Bergkamp Day. The thousands of fans in orange T-shirts, the healthy contingent over from Holland, the roof-lifting ovation when he came on and the words "dream strike partner" from Thierry Henry are a better barometer of the man.
Few Arsenal fans would have been surprised at the affection in which he is held. It was a little different for the 36-year-old striker who retires at the end of the season
"Someone mentioned at the training ground that there would be about 10,000 fans in orange T-shirts," said Bergkamp. "I could not really figure out what it was, and when I came out for the warm-up, I thought 'whoa! - this is it then'
"Orange has nothing to do with Arsenal or England, so it is good that they came out and supported me like that.
"I am just happy that apart from the whole day, it is nice to have come on and really been involved in the game, helping with the second goal and scoring the third.
"You have that feeling of being on the pitch and playing football. It is some time since I have had that now.
"Hopefully I can have a few more good moments like that and finish in a good way."
If Saturday's strike IS to be the last Bergkamp scores in his career then at least it was an archetypal goal by the technically-perfect striker. He saw a chink of an opening on the edge of the area and caressed a curling shot into the far corner. West Brom keeper Tomasz Kuszczak dived out of sheer optimism
"It reminded me a few goals I scored in 1998," he smiled, "bending it around the keeper. It was a good finish, but I would like to score more."
Bergkamp admits he has been thinking increasingly about a life without football. But there are ambitions left - fourth place in the Premiership and, of course, the possibility of a Champions League Final
"We know what we have to do - we have to win all of our games and even then we are not sure of fourth place.
"We can be focused on the Champions League, but those Premiership games around that tie are also important.
"We need a little help from other teams, but there is nothing else we can do apart from win these games."
It is what Bergkamp has been doing for the past 20 years and, as
Saturday showed, the ability still remains.
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