* Prices may differ from that shown
Among Holland's best ever players, Dennis Bergkamp turned out for Ajax, Inter Milan & Arsenal throughout a 20 year career. In a sense you feel for the likes of Nikos Dabizas & Matt Elliott, even Roberto Ayala, not for their errors or shortcomings, but for the knowledge that they could never do what Bergkamp did to them. The goals are well known, pored over on YouTube regularly. **** If Bergkamp's stunning finish against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup can't convince a naysayer of the beauty of football, nothing will. You don't watch Bergkamp for the goal tallies or the work rate, you're in it for the majesty & the possibility of seeing something no other on the field could even conceive of. The impeccable technique & unparalleled vision are merely a bonus. One moment the pitch is tight & congested, with the flick of a boot, suddenly it is impossibly large & wide. Another defender rendered irrelevant by a perfect Bergkamp pass. Remembered as an important player, primarily for being one of the first big names to join the Premier League from abroad, Bergkamp had the rare ability to make a tap in from a yard look like the most glorious goal & could get you off your seat with skills other players could barely comprehend. My first re-collection of Bergkamp was him dropping a delicate chip over David Seaman at Wembley in 1992, wearing the orange of Holland, the goal completed a comeback from 2-0 down & left Graham Taylor's hopes of qualification in tatters. By this time Bergkamp was already a household name in his native Holland & an established starter for Ajax, another product of the club's much celebrated youth system. Joining the club at the age of 12, he made his debut at 17 playing wide right, before long he became a goal scoring sensation, clocking up over 100 goals in his time in Amsterdam in addition to several trophies & various other awards. However like many other famed products of the Ajax youth system, Bergkamp left for pastures new & the allure of Inter Milan, signing in the summer of 1993 for £12 million. Despite winning his 2nd UEFA Cup, his time with the Nerazzurri was a failure, after being mis-used as a target man he became an unpopular figure at the club, managing just 11 goals across two seasons. In the Summer of 1995 he completed a shock move to Arsenal, director David Dein closing the deal, closely followed by the arrival of England captain David Platt. Coming off the back of a disappointing 12th placed finish the previous season & a gutting last gasp loss in the 1995 Cup Winner's Cup Final, the capture of Bergkamp proved a huge coup for Arsenal, however few knew the influence the Dutchman would wield in the decade he would spend with the club. Similar to Spurs' signing of Jurgen Klinsmann the previous year, this was a signing the like of which simply didn't happen in England, a truly world-level name costing a British record of £7.5m. The day he signed I was off school ill & was following updates on Teletext constantly. Progressing from 'Bergkamp likely to sign today', to 'Bergkamp landed at Heathrow', to 'Bergkamp at Highbury discussing personal terms', at the key moment my Mum suddenly elected to take a trip to B&Q for some gardening supplies, taking me with her to boot. At the garden centre I overheard on a radio that he had officially signed. That evening I had a discussion with a Spurs fan, (Tottenham having signed Chris Armstrong from Crystal Palace that same day). He laughed in my face & confidently informed me that Armstrong was clearly the superior player. 15 years later I think we can close the book on that debate with the very shortest of order. Ironically Bergkamp arrived at Highbury having followed Tottenham as a child, his family were avid followers of the English game & would plan holidays around coming over to attend games, he is also named after Denis Law, albeit with an extra N thrown in there. Bergkamp was not an instant hit at Arsenal, failing to score in his first 7 games for the club, taking a few games to hit his stride, Cue the predictable tabloid derision, one paper even dreamed up a clock showing the total minutes Bergkamp had failed to score in. However that was all brought to a shuddering end during a home game against Southampton. In those days me & my Dad would travel down to Highbury a few times a season, & this was one of the games we had chosen, taking the train to Kings Cross, we talked about when he would break his duck. On the tube to the ground the whole carriage seemed to be discussing Bergkamp's lack of goals, the feeling seeming to be that he wouldn't be getting off the mark anytime soon. Dennis buried two, the opener after about ten minutes - firstly getting on the end of a real collector's item, a perfect Glenn Helder cross, to lash a volley into the far corner. In the 2nd half with the game locked at 2-2, Bergkamp picked the ball up inside his own half, jinked past a couple of players & smashed an unstoppable shot in off the post from 25 yards. The delirium behind the goal that day is something which football has definitely lost in the 15 years since, the bland open spaces of the Emirates Stadium filled with fans who take the skill of the players as a given. In this era of English football, a star of this quality was a truly rare commodity. Ian Wright wrapped up the win & the heady celebrations outside the stadium are among my better memories of football, this felt like the arrival of a superstar. Quickly establishing a fruitful frontline with Ian Wright, Arsenal claimed 5th place in his first season, & with it a place in the UEFA Cup, Dennis booked the place with a thunderous 20 yarder against Bolton on the last day of the season. His 2nd season saw his game develop further, his touch & vision a joy to behold & he again scored a number of memorable goals. A strike in the last minute of the North London Derby still ranks among my favourite Arsenal goals, with his first touch Bergkamp not only perfectly controlled the football, but also left Stephen Carr flat on his back, then used his 2nd to drill the ball past Ian Walker. The simplicity & complexity of the goal renders it something few others could even have attempted. A stunning chip at Sunderland was also one for the scrapbook (which my sister missed while yawning) Bergkamp dragged the ball back, turned & unleashed the most perfect chip into the far corner. Sat in the Clock Stand at Roker Park, in the midst of the home fans, my only memory is the stunned silence for about 5 seconds, then, as one, the entire stand burst into a spontaneous round of applause. Thierry Henry is the only other modern Arsenal player capable of evoking such a response from opposition supporters. 1997-1998 was probably Bergkamp's apex as a player, arguably the best player in the world, every week he seemed to better his best, at one point seemingly having his own Goal of the Month contest (in September 1997 he got 1, 2 & 3 in the BBC Goal of the Month contest). Arsenal won the Double & Bergkamp was among the key players, getting his best ever tally of goals. A memorable hat trick at Leicester proved perhaps the high watermark, yet as ever the assists & delightful link-up play proved just as pleasing as the goals. A truly phenomenal 90th minute goal for Holland against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup has also become one of Bergkamp's best remembered moments, not only did it fire the Dutch into the semi finals, it was also the goal that broke Marco Van Basten's Dutch scoring record. In 1999 Arsenal were pipped to the league & the FA Cup, by Manchester United. Along the way Bergkamp suffered one of his career lows, missing a 90th minute penalty in the FA Cup Semi Final against United. Ryan Giggs ultimately dumped Arsenal out in extra time & Bergkamp never took another penalty again. After a couple of quiet seasons Bergkamp came back to the fore in the 2001-2002 season, returning to his best & scoring perhaps his greatest goal - in a league fixture at Newcastle, Bergkamp flicked the ball round one side of the helpless Nikos Dabizas, turning his body the other, perfectly controlling the ball & placing it in the corner to seal a vital victory. With the injured Robert Pires missing for the run-in, Freddie Ljungberg stepped up & provided the goals which sealed another Double, however it was Bergkamp who provided the assists, seemingly laying a never ending supply of perfectly placed passes on a plate for the Swede. Although past his peak, Bergkamp played an important role in the side which went undefeated throughout the 2004 season, a run which ultimately stretched to 49 games. Used mainly as a substitute in his final few years with Arsenal, Bergkamp's final flourish came in a home game with West Brom in 2006. Needing a win to keep hopes of qualification for the Champions League alive, Bergkamp, on as a substitute, created the winner for Robert Pires & then sealed the 3-1 win with a trademark curler in the dying moments. His competitive career came to a sad end as an unused substitute in the 2006 Champions League Final, however his official farewell came at his testimonial in July 2006 against Ajax. The game was the official opening at the new Emirates Stadium & featured the current starting teams from both clubs in the 1st half, joined by all star XI's in the 2nd. Arsenal legends Patrick Vieira, David Seaman, Kanu, Ian Wright lined up against a Dutch side that included the likes of Johan Cruyff, Marco Van Basten, Frank & Ronald De Boer.
Dennis Nicolaas Maria Bergkamp was born in 1969 in Amsterdam, his parents named him after the Manchester United Striker, Denis Law, but unfortunately added the extra N. Bergkamp as an Amsterdammer was introduced to the world famous Ajax Youth team at the age of 12 and developed through the ranks, although most coaches considered him too weak to have the potential of a footballer, Johann Cruyff, Ajax's most famous son and a man who understood true footballing class could see something in Dennis from a young age and implored coaches to allow him to develop. Bergkamp came through and started to get first team appearances around the time Guillit, Rijkaard and Van Basten left for AC Milan. In his time with the club he won Dutch footballer of the year twice, won the Dutch League, the UEFA cup and the Dutch cup, he scored 122 goals in 239 games and was rewarded with a move to Inter Milan for £12m with his team mate, Wim Jonk. Unfortunately Italian football and Bergkamp never hit it off, although he would give Italian defences some fearful pastings in European games in the future. The reason he was unsuccessful was partly due to his own failure to adapt to the environment, but more because he was played as a lone striker in a defensive team, he did not have the strength or pace to manage the whole attack on his own and it became clear that Bergkamp would be at his best as a player behind the striker or in tandem with a pacy forward. Arsenal pulled him from his Italian slumber in 1995 for £7.5m and he slowly made a name for himself in tandem with the prolific Ian Wright who considered him the best player he played with. Following the arrival of Arsene Wenger, Bergkamp played with Wright and with a pacy young striker named Nicolas Anelka, their partnership was fruitful as was an awesome partnership with Thierry Henry, during Bergkamps time at Arsenal he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups and became something of a hero to the clubs fans and an ambassador for the Premier League in showing that World Class talent could flourish in the rough, fast paced English environment. Bergkamp was a sublime footballer, skillful with both feet, controlling a ball with precision, as his wonderful goal against Argentina in the World Cup proved, he was also a good goalscorer and a beautiful goalscorer, managing to win 1-2 and 3 in the goal of the month competition one month through pure innovative class. Bergkamp as well as being a good footballer had learnt to look after himself due to being small when he was younger and really could put his elbows in or make a bad challenge when necessary and picked up plenty of suspensions due to this. The only criticism Arsenal fans could ever have of the great man was his fear of flying which meant he would miss many away games in Europe and Arsenal missed him terribly, but he is still considered a legend at the club and 87 goals in 316 games before his retirement are testament to this. Bergkamp also scored 36 goals in 79 internationals his most memorable moment being the aforementioned goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup with one of the greatest goals ever seen, he never won honours with the national team playing in divided or transitional teams, but is synonomous with classy football. Bergkamp retired from Arsenal with a standing ovation and is now a coach at Ajax where he is passing on his own knowledge to kids. A truly awesome player who made the English Premier League more cultured and entertaining with his icy temperament and stylish play, for me he is simply an unforgettable footballer.
What more has Dennis has to do to get a regular spot in the team he has not completed 90 minutes this season but has six,seven goals already.I think he is the best partner for Henry he oozes class and he makes things happen Henry and Wiltord is not the right combanation and it shows on the pitch.Come on Arsene give him chance he deserves it you cannot leave a class player on the bench and have someone else on the pitch who has not got the skill,vision,and talent as Dennis.
He is a really good player and he plays for a good team that are currently in the premiership. He has got a left leg and a right leg and so he is able to use both his right foot and his left foot when he plays football. He must know what he is doing because if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be playing football. He can also use his head, which is something not many people can say because if they use their head, it hurts them and they start crying and it becomes a disadvantage to them in the match. I think this player will have a good season and I hope he scores a lot of goals because he is probably in my dream team.
I’ve been debating with myself over the past few weeks whether I should keep producing opinions on football players, are they really that useful to other people? Well I’ve concluded that they probably are, my opinion might convince you to tune into ‘The Premiership’ or even venture forth to an actual match just to see this player – who am I kidding? Who reads an opinion on dooyoo and thinks, wow that player must be a real gem, I should get on the bus and see him play? Well in the case of Dennis Bergkamp I would urge you to do just that. It’s imperative that you get a last glimpse of the genius that is Bergkamp. Imagine what it will be like in ten years time when the lads down the pub are discussing the greatest footballers of their time and bring Dennis up. Whilst they salivate over the goals they’ve seen him score, you just stare into space thinking why didn’t I go and see him play. No matter what team you support, no matter where you are in the country, sit back on a Saturday evening and witness his skill. In case I haven’t impressed it on you enough, I think quite highly of Dennis the Menace. Dennis was born in Amsterdam (that’s in Holland for the geographically challenged) back in 1969 and started his career with Ajax. His skills today probably stem from the fabulous coaching staff they have there and the style of football that they expertly employed during the 80’s and 90’s. To be fair the Dutch League has never been at the forefront of European Football and Dennis left for Italy in search of top quality football, week in week out. Internazionale were the club that snapped him up. It was at Internazionale that I got my first glimpse of the magician in real life. Back in 1993 Norwich were a reasonably good team and we were enjoying a UEFA Cup run. We’d already beaten Vitesse Arnhem and Bayern Munich before we came up against the Italians, the two legs gave me my fist taste of the wonder that is Bergkamp. He was by no means the finished article, he was a fresh faced youngster who had everything apart from that goalscoring knack. I can remember uttering to my Dad that Bergkamp was going to be a star. He was in the right position all the time, he did all the simple things well and could turn on the flair, he created a number of chances for himself – luckily for us he flumped them all. In July 1995 he signed for Arsenal for a whopping £7.5 million (well it was whopping then) and has never looked back. He took a while to set in but soon sorted things out, he banged them in from all angles, showing off his skills and winning the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year 1997/98 and the Players’ Player of the Year 1998. Since then he’s been somewhat overshadowed by Anelka, Henry and Wiltord. At the start of this season many people appear to have forgotten Bergkamp and his ability, mainly because last year he was plagued with ankle and calf injuries. Admittedly he’s not as sprightly as the other strikers on Arsene Wenger’s books but he is just as gifted. This season has already seen a somewhat rejuvenated Bergkamp, bagging two goals against the Boro and getting a decent game against Leicester. Dennis is an enigmatic player, his vision is second to none, he’ll spot and play a killer ball instantly. His touch is exquisite no matter how close the defender is. His flair provides his teamates with simple flicks and touches into space, he’s just a masterclass in technique. He’s still got that goalscoring knack too, his two finishes against Boro were clinical without being extravagant – both being driven low past the goalkeeper. He’s still menacing and strong when he runs through on balls, he got a couple of chances to embarrass the Leicester defence at the weekend. I’m sure he still hits those wicked set pieces too! Well for all this you are probably wondering why he doesn’t make the headlines each and every week. Well as I’ve already mentioned he has had his fair share of injury problems but inconsistency has begun to creep into his game. Whilst Inter he was fairly inconsistent, one game he could be a master the next a mere shadow of his former self. Whilst at Arsenal he always seemed to perform, he moved to the Premiership in his hay day and consequently reaped the benefits, now perhaps he lacks a little motivation. His first team chances were a little limited last season and so he could never get into full stride, and it’s too early to say how consistent he will be this year – if he is then he has the potential to take the Premiership by storm, if not then we will just have to look back at his career – his Premiership wonder goals, his established international career (was he not a shining star against Argentina in the 98 World Cup?). Perhaps if he has a good season he might be forced into curing his phobia of flying. It may have escaped you but Dennis is scared of flying. Now I’m not going to criticise him for this (well maybe I am) but in today’s modern world of European matches during the week in far off places then this needs to be addressed. If Dennis is on fire and Arsenal have a crucial European fixture you would want him to play, but he would travel the huge distance via car/train/boat which can leave the best of us feeling jaded. He still has the potential to terrorise Europe, perhaps a trip to a hypnotherapist would sort him out. Air travel and consistency aside he still has the skills, creativity and flair and whilst he might lack a little pace he still has one of the best football brains in the business. I’m looking forward to a successful season for Dennis. I’m not sure how Dennis will fit into Arsene’s long-term plans, I’m sure he’ll move back to Dutch football soon, howev er I’m sure the non-flying Dutchman can have one final glorious year.
For a long time now I have been a huge fan of Dennis Bergkamp. For me he has all the tools that a master craftsman needs. I first really started to sit up and take notice of Dennis Bergkamp back when he left Ajax and went to Inter Milan, and if I am correct I think Wim Jonk also signed for Inter Milan with him, but I may be wrong. For years and years now Dennis Bergkamp has been one of the most deadly and most intelligent football players I have ever seen, and for me he is still capable of performing to the highs of his capabilities for a good few years yet. There has been a lot of things said about his fear of flying, I suppose it is a bit of a pain, because your always wanting to have a player of his class with you when you are playing abroad in European competition, but at the end of the day I suppose you just have to bite the bullet and get on with it. In the past few months I have been hearing things in the papers and so on saying that Dennis Bergkamp was past his best and all that. well where have I heard that tripe before !!!. A certain Mr Shearer has had this rubbish thrown at him for some reason and it makes my sick to my stomach. The 'experts' who have been saying these things in the papers would have more respect for a player like Bergkamp, saying he is past it and over the hill really makes me laugh, and they really should grow up and write things that actually make sense. I am by no means an Arsenal fan ( I bleed black and white blood ) but when people like this crawl out of the wood work and start to have a pop at someone it does start to get to me. But at the end of the day its the old 'build them up and knock then down' attitude which is a disease in the way people in Britain think. Dennis Bergkamp has had a few injures this season and this has caused him to loose his place in the team, but can anyone tell me which player hasn’t had a few injury problems in their career, bu t when high profile players have an injury or two, the press start to throw things like he’s past it and make mountains out of mole hills. When Dennis Bergkamp came to England he did take a few months to settle in, but when he did settle in, he starred to score and make goals by the hat full. Like I say I am not an arsenal fan but I do appreciate good players and good professionals. Not only is he a gentleman on the pitch he is every bit the gentleman off the pitch. My favourite goal he scored would have to be the one he scored at world cup 98 against Argentina when playing for Holland, when he brought the ball out of the air and slotted in home in one movement, much like a goal he scored against Leicester City a few years back. I will finish by saying if there are any of the Arsenal coaching staff questioning his place at Arsenal, may I suggest you send him to my club Newcastle, I for one would love to see him lining up alongside Alan Shearer.
Position: Forward Born: Amsterdam, Holland, May 18, 1969 Height: 6ft Weight: 12st 5lbs Previous Clubs: Ajax, Inter Milan Dennis Bergkamp joined for £7.5m in July '95, then a Gunners' record signing. Having scored 103 goals in 185 matches for Ajax, he earned a £12m move to Inter in July 1993 and bagged 11 in 52 matches for the Italian side. Bergkamp, with his sublime touch and exquisite shooting ability, grabbed 16 goals in his first season at Highbury, 95-96. Won successive Player of the Month awards, the top three goals in BBC Goal of the Month and a three match ban for five yellow cards - all this before Christmas 1997. Won PFA Player of the Year, as well as ranking third in FIFA World Player of the Year. Bergkamp returned from injuries and suspensions to help guide the Gunners to the 97-98 Double, despite missing out on the run-in and the FA Cup Final with a hamstring complaint, which affected both his World Cup aspirations with Holland and this season's 98-99 early form. Again, his inspirational qualities ensured Arsenal would challenge Manchester United all the way to the 98-99 championship. He decided to retire from international football at the end of Euro 2000, where he went on to help Holland to the semi-finals, before losing on penalties to Italy. Bergkamp signed a new two-year contract in January 2001, keeping him at Highbury until the summer of 2003.
Dennis Bergkamp is probably one of the best stikers of the 90's. He is a Dutch International and has so much experience. He has played in all the big tournaments during his career and he has played for many top European clubs. Now he is playing at Arsenal who paid about £7 million for him. He joined them and had a quiet opening to his career. Then he started scoring and had a good first season. Now after playing for Arsenal for a few seasons Dennis is struggling again with form. His goal scoring rate is not what it should be but he is contributing well. Dennis is very good at linking up play and his passing is excellent. One thing which lets Dennis down is his hatred of flying. This has caused him to miss many important European games and is not what Arsenal need. Saying that he makes a huge effort and if possible he tries getting to the game by other methods. Dennis is likely to finish his career at Arsenal but his form this season has not been that good. The fans are hoping for more and I am sure that Dennis will come good again.
Dennis bergkamp is still a world class player in every respect. His ball control is still superb, the accuracy in his passing is first class, he can still score some wonderful goals, i could go on, so why doesn't Arsene Wenger play him? I am sure that most other Premiership managers would welcome Bergkamp with open arms into their starting eleven. I feel that he should move now because i think that he is fourth choice behind Wiltord, Henry and Kanu. It cannot be doing his confidence a lot of good if he is sitting week in week out on the bench. A player with his talent, needs regular first team football, but at Arsenal he is not going to get that.
I think Arsenal will begin to suffer in this phase of the Champions league, especially if Bergkamp continues to miss away games. Dennis is a class player, he’s just out of this world. When he’s in the side, he gives the team extra co-ordination, that little bit of skill needed to break defences. Against Spartak Moscow Arsenal had a dream start with the little Brazilian scoring after 80 seconds, but from then on in it was all Spartak has they scored four goals to seal the win. I can’t help but feel that if Denis Bergkamp was playing Arsenal would be much better, especially against top opposition in Europe. However, its one of them unfortunate things which most probably can’t be helped. I have never known anyone with a flying phobia before, it’s a pity Dennis can’t get over it. I rate him very highly, some of the goals he’s scored for both club and country have been excellent. He’s got excellent skill and first touch, any footballer who’s coming up the ranks should see Dennis and how he plays. When he first came to Arsenal he had some difficulty settling into the side, but ever since that he’s been very good. He has had his fair share of niggling injuries but a fit Bergkamp is an excellent player.
It looks like Arsenal are set to lose another quality player as Dennis Bergkamp preapres to leave to Ajax. Dennis is Arsenal's most techincally suprerior player, and also the one most likely to produce something special. With his intelligence and Henry's pace, Arsenal have a deadly front line. However, like the superb combination of Petit and Vieira in midfield, they are set to be broken up. It seems the lure of playing in a small stadium with a less than passionate crowd is not enough to keep players at the Libary. The real probelms will hit when Keown and Adams are forced to call it a day. However, for the time being Arsenal will have the difficulty of finding a replacement. Although Wrenger is good at picking up talented players for reasonable fees, he more than likely will have to shell out a lot of money to replace bergkamp. Whatever the reason for him leaving, Arsenal will be a much worser side wihtout him, and will struggle to maintain pace with United and Liverpool.
I'd never heard of Dennis Bergkamp before he came to Arsenal. Since then he's repeatedly amazed the football world with his dazzling skills, great vision and curling shots. For the past few seasons he has not only scored but also created many of the best goalss in football. Many people say he's not as good as he used to be but he still does make a great contribution to Arsenal's game, just look at our latest Champions League game where Bergkamp assisted both goals, and he scored in the previous game. Bergkamp is always instrumental in ARsenal's success.
Dennis Bergkamp as a football player is a bit like me, he is not fast or tall. It is all to do with his football brain. It doesn't matter if you don't move out of the centre circle, if you can pick up the ball, know where players are and make that pass, in my mind you are a quality player. He gets the odd goal but some of the passes he makes are treeeeeemendous. He picks up the ball and already know where the players are to make the pass. A world class player.
What a class act Dennis the Menace is. I, cannot understand why Arsene Wenger always stars him on the bench. On, the pitch he is such a dangerous player. When he came on against Chelsea, in the London derby, he was very difficult to cope with. He had an hand in making the first goal for Thiery Henry. Berkgamp has so much to offer, he can score brilliant goals, and he has scored brilliant goals. Who will forget that goal against Leicester when he turned Matt Elliot in and out, by his first touch control, to score one of the goals of the season. Although, at times he can drift in an out of the game, he his just so lethal and can create or score goals himself. A great talent,should start from the beginning in my view. ------------------------------------------------------------ Lately, it has been reported that Dennis Berkgamp might leave or stay if he doesn't play regularly, as he believes he his at the stage of his career where he must play. After, watching him against Lazio, where he played on the right hand side of midfield, as a neutral I have to say. Arsenal should play him and make him sign an extension to his contract. He was sublime, setting up two goals, and helping Arsenal to a very important win.
Dennis Bergkamp the Arsenal maestro reminds me of the superb Glen Hoddle when he was a player with Tottenham. He will not move around a lot or come back to defend when he is needed, unless arsenal are attacking then he will run. The best way to describe the Dutch international player is that he is the brain, when on the field Dennis lets his brain do the thinking that’s what makes him a magnificent player. He is one of the most skilful players in the premiership, the goals he scores are just out of this world. For the first time since he’s been an Arsenal player he will have to fight for his place because now there is competition from Henry, Kanu and now Wiltord. I saw Bergkamp play for his old club Inter Milan against Aston Villa in the U.E.F.A. cup several years ago and he was very impressive, you could feel the fear from the Villa supporters every time he got the ball in the Villas half.