'There were some doubts… but then Wenger arrived'

Dennis Bergkamp
Dennis Bergkamp

“Arsène who?”

That’s what the Evening Standard declared when we unveiled Arsène Wenger as our manager in September 1996.


Many of our first-team squad also shared that view at first, but those doubts were soon put to rest when they began working with the Frenchman.


"I do remember it was kind of a shock they had to let Bruce go," Dennis Bergkamp told our In Lockdown podcast. "We'd not had the best of seasons in 1995/96 but I think it was good enough to progress to the next season with a lot of confidence, but it wasn't meant to be.


"There was a certain period between the moment he was let go until Arsene came - I think it was a few months - which was an insecure time for me because I was remembering the lies from Italy again. I was thinking, 'OK, wait a minute, what's going to happen now?' 


"There were some doubts in my mind but they were soon taken away when Arsene came in because he was the one who had a philosophy that suited my philosophy, it was the same. His philosophy suited my game and therefore there were no doubts once he took over. 


"There was a good understanding and from day one we knew what we expected from each other and that's why it worked."

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