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A Fascinating Read On A Dutch Master
on 6 October 2015
(WARNING: The review of this book may or more likely will contain spoilers!)
Dennis Bergkamp is a name that will be forever be synonymous with football technical brilliance. His scoring of goals; his creation of chances; and his overall vision towards the game won him many admirers throughout his playing career. If the man even so much as flicked the big toe on his right foot, it would give football pundits orgasms lasting several weeks. But why does Dennis think and operate the way he does with football? This book “Stillness & Speed” gives the reader a great insight into the man who thoroughly deserves his descriptive title of “Dutch Master.”
Strictly speaking this isn’t a biography or autobiography. It’s more of an interview book where the writer asks various questions about Bergkamp’s football career. He talks about his thinking when creating chances and goals both for himself and his teammates; his attitude towards training and his need to go the extra mile to “get it right”; and his precise views on various aspects of the game which includes taking penalties. Overall the book was a real eye-opener for me. Yes, we have various football pundits breaking down the action on a daily basis. Yes, we have Sky Sports and their bottomless cup of computer graphic analysis. But this book really opened my eyes has to how much depth there is in the game of football, and what needs to be learned and perfected in order to get really good at it. I was compelled to just keep reading, and that can only be a good thing.
“Stillness & Speed” is not just an educational experience (I would venture to say). It’s also a series of mini stories providing an interesting view on the different styles of football play throughout Europe. The book talks about Dennis establishing his skills in the technical world of Dutch football at Ajax; his struggles physically and mentally with the defensive Italian style at Inter Milan; and his revival in the open and attacking arena of English football with Arsenal. Among the famous football faces consistently praising Bergkamp’s skill and personality are former Arsenal players, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, and the current Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger. There’s even a bit of time for some short-tugging humour. Trust me you’ll know what I mean when you read it!
This is just my opinion -make of it what you will- but having read through this book from start to finish, it has made me realise that...it’s OK to be a perfectionist. It’s OK to not be happy with your current results and performances, and want it to be better. It’s OK to constantly want to strive for more and get out there to make it happen. It’s OK to want to be...perfect. One thing it certainly is...it’s an in-writing motivational speech to work hard to get the results you want.
Even if you don’t agree with those opinions in the last paragraph, the insight to Bergkamp’s mindset on the field of play and his general football philosophies make “Stillness & Speed” a compelling read. It’s a series of educational lessons on football and life. The bottom line is if you love your football, you’ll love this book.