Ex-Netherlands forward’s fear of flying would make it impossible to coach a top-level European team.
Arsenal fans’ hopes of one day seeing former legend Dennis Bergkamp manage the north London club have been scuppered after the Dutchman revealed that he will never again fly in an aeroplane, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
The one-time Gunners hero is currently working as the assistant coach to Ajax manager Frank de Boer back home in the Netherlands, a role that the 44-year-old has held since 2011.
However, despite Bergkamp earning a growing reputation as a trainer back in the Eredivisie, with the Amsterdam giants having won the previous two Dutch titles, there is no possibility whatsoever that the ex-Netherlands international will ever take over from current Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger at the Emirates.
And that is because of Bergkamp’s long-standing fear of flying that first surfaced during the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States, when the Dutch national team spent large portions of the tournament flying around the vast country.
“It made me feel so awful and I began to develop such an aversion to it that it suddenly dawned on me: ‘I don’t want to do this any more,'” says Bergkamp in his new autobiography that is currently being serialised in the Independent.
“It got so bad I would look up at the sky during away games to see what the weather was like. Were there any clouds coming? Sometimes I was preoccupied by the flight home while I was playing football. It was hell.
“I’ve flown countless times in large planes, small ones, tiny ones. At Ajax, I once flew in a minuscule plane over Mount Etna near Naples when we got into a terrible air pocket – in terms of flying, I’ve seen and done it all and I’m simply not flying again. Ever.”
And the Dutchman has also revealed that in contract negotiations with clubs, he would happily accept reduced terms on his salary demands as compensation for not being able to fly to away matches on the Continent.
“In talks with Arsenal, if I said ‘a million’ they automatically deducted a hundred grand ‘because you don’t fly’. And I accepted that.”