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"Professor Barton, He say 'Yes'"!
on 24 January 2015
This book is about Dutch football as seen through the genius of a world class player, written by David Winner, author of the terrific 'Brilliant Orange: the Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football' which had my expectations raised enough to fear disappointment. It matters little that I prefer the other book, this can in fact be placed alongside the other since they're a sort of diptych on modern Dutch football: Football in Post Cryuff Holland, perhaps. In fact it is not really an autobiography at all, it's Dennis reflecting on aspects of his career, his play, his associates and it's all the better for that. Quite unlike those typical, ghastly, lazy cut 'n' paste jobs, this tome includes many opinions from those who have worked with and alongside the flying Dutchman and fewer than expected from our man. It is not a biography in the usual sense, people from Bergkamp's past are quoted and the Dutchman responds to their truth with his own. No matter, it is thus a many-faceted view of a multifaceted man. I found the thoughts of Cryuff, Bergomi, Adams and Wenger among many quite fascinating; indeed I read the whole book with pleasure in a short sitting...So much for the reviewer who miscalled it 'turgid' (get a dictionary, man!). It is a breeze, I only wish it were longer. As different from yer usual 'Frankly, Brian' [or was it 'Brian, Frankly'?] biography as it is possible to imagine. It certainly couldn't earn the magisterial reprimand earned by a couple of such waste-of-spaces written after the World Cup in South Africa by philosopher Joey Barton, who said of them in devastating parody: "I had a crap World Cup. Read my book'. Prof Barton's shelf doubtless includes this effort.
N.B. In the interests of full disclosure I must own that I am a West Ham fan (well someone's got to be). Above all, I love the Beautiful Game and my favourite team is the Dutch one circa 1970-78. As Mr Punch would've said "THAT'S the way to do it!" [I have just finished Ibrahimovic's ego trip and this is as manna from heaven after that ego-stricken paeon; chalk and cheese].