Marc Overmars says he will always remember his “special” three years at Arsenal.
The former Netherlands winger made 142 appearances during his time in north London, helping the Gunners win a domestic double in his debut season.
Overmars made an instant impact at Highbury with his blistering pace, and the Dutchman will always be remembered for his vital strike at Manchester United in 1998 which helped tilt the title race in Arsenal’s favour.
"To get the double and to go driving into the city on the big double-decker buses, to see all the people and the excitement outside is a memory I would love to re-live if I could turn back time"
“We knew before we played that we had to win because we were nine points behind,” Overmars told Arsenal Player. “If we lost it was 12 [points] and the season would have been over. We had to reduce that to six to keep the pressure on them.
“I remember the goal because it came from Keown's pass. I knew that Anelka could jump very well and it’s important for a winger to always create his own chances. You have to think, ‘Where can I be dangerous?’, so you always have to run. Eight times out of 10 you will run for nothing, but two times you can score.”
Two months later Overmars opened the scoring against Newcastle United in the FA Cup final as the Gunners cruised to their first double in 27 years, and the former winger is proud to have made his mark on Arsenal's history.
“I remember that goal and I had a nice moment as well,” he said. “When the first half ended and we had to go to the tunnel, all the Newcastle fans were beside our dressing room so I thought they would throw things at me but it didn’t happen.
“It was unbelievable for me to see how much respect they had for our team and they also stood up and applauded us after the match as well. That made Newcastle also a special club for me because the support of their team, how they did that even though they couldn’t beat us that day, made me have so much respect for them.
“When you stop playing you want to have achieved something,” Overmars added. “To get the double and to go driving into the city on the big double-decker buses, to see all the people and the excitement outside is a memory I would love to re-live if I could turn back time.
“The joy I had as a footballer to play in the Premier League was also a highlight. It gives you so much pleasure. I will always say to the young players here that where you will enjoy football the most is in England. That’s a nice quote to end with.”
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