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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:05 pm

A strange game was played today between Arsenal and Amsterdam team Ajax. It was the first ever game at Arenal's hi-tech new stadium the Emirates Stadium in North London, but it was also the last ever game for Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp.

Two games were rolled into one - the first half being one game and the second half being another game. The first half was the two normal, current Arsenal and Ajax teams. Ajax won that game although Arsenal did intentionally field a weakened side. The second half was a game between mainly retired, ex-Arsenal players and retired, ex-Ajax players, so the likes of Ian Wright, Emmanuel Petit, the de Boer brothers, Nigel Winterburn, Johann Cruff and Marco van Basten and a few current players. That game was won by the Londoners.

In the normal game during the first half, Klass-Jan Huntelaar scored the first ever goal at the new Emirates Stadium. In the second half, Thierry Henry, whos cored the last ever goal at the old Highbury Stadium, appropriately scored Arsenal's first ever goal in their new stadium.

It was great entertainment for the 60,000 fans. Before the game, Bergkamp put a T-shirt on every seat as a gift for them.

Arsenal 0-1 Ajax

Arsenal 2-0 Ajax.

Bergkamp given rousing farewell

It was a family day for Bergkamp as he said his footballing farewells
Dennis Bergkamp bowed out of football on a entertaining, celebratory opening day at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium.
A sell-out crowd revelled in seeing some of the club's greats play in a second-half Legends match against Bergkamp's first club, Dutch side Ajax.

Ian Wright, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira and Marc Overmars were some of the names to return for the Gunners.

And 59-year-old Johan Cruyff and Holland manager Marco van Basten came on for Ajax in the last 10 minutes.

Ajax's Dutch international striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar had the honour of scoring the first goal at the 60,000 capacity stadium in a first half in which the clubs sent out a host of youngsters for a regulation pre-season run-out.

Huntelaar went close on a couple of occasions before turning in Edgar Manucharyan's low, flat cross from the left.

After the break the girths were a little wider and the legs, in some cases, a bit slower than in their heyday as a new match began between two teams of legends.

But it was Arsenal's only present day player on show who gave Arsenal the lead.

Thierry Henry, having chartered a private jet to fly back from a family holiday in the USA for the match, converted Lee Dixon's cross to the delight of the home fans.

And after Ronald De Boer blazed a penalty over following Gilles Grimandi's foul on Tottenham's Edgar Davids - the day's pantomime villain, Kanu's deflected shot made it two to Arsenal.

He may not have scored, despite being put through one-on-one on the right in the closing minutes, but the day was all about one man and Bergkamp was given a rousing send off.

"If I was to have a testimonial it was always going to be against Ajax and their fans have put in a lot of effort to come here," he said in an emotional speech after the final whistle when he said his thanks to one and all.

"My mum and dad were always there from the beginning and have probably seen every game.

"And my wife has been amazing over the years. You can't do a career like this alone and if it wasn't for her I would not be here.

"It's difficult to say goodbye. I've had a fantastic time over the last 11 years and a big part were the fans and how they treated me - they have been fantastic."

Bergkamp was carried shoulder high during a lap of honour by Vieira and Henry - Arsenal captains past and present.

It was applauded long and loud by the legends on the pitch as well as the crowd who have marvelled at his Arsenal displays for the last 11 years in which time he scored 120 goals in 423 games.

Everyone has seen this artist's impression of the new Emirates Stadium, but today we got to see the stadium for real as Arsenal played Ajax in a game that was two games rolled into one.

London's skyscrapers can be seen from the stadium.



Image ... age070.jpg

Arsenal's cannons are right outside the stadium.

Some of its bars are posh.


Giant letters spelling ARSENAL and a bridge are also outside the stadium.

The stadium is bigger than Arsenal's former stadium Highbury and it has a bigger pitch. Here, the seats form a pattern of the English flag and the words ENGLAND. Nearly all the seats are now red.

More pictures -

Last edited by GreatBriton on Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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