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21st Dec 2017

Dennis Bergkamp sacked from Ajax by two of his former teammates

There really are no friends in football

Robert Redmond

Dennis Bergkamp has been sacked as assistant manager at Ajax.

On Thursday, the Dutch club decided to part company with manager Marcel Keizer and club legend Bergkamp. Ajax are second in the Eredivisie, five points behind PSV Eindhoven, they are out of Europe and were knocked out of the Dutch Cup on Wednesday night by FC Twente on penalties.

Bergkamp began his playing career at Ajax, making over 200 appearances for the club before joining Inter Milan in 1993 and then Arsenal in 1995, where he was one of the best players in the Premier League for over a decade. He has been assistant coach at Ajax since 2011, first to manager Frank de Boer, then to Peter Bosz and finally as Keizer’s assistant.

Managers and assistant managers get sacked in football all the time, but rarely by their former teammates.

Edwin van der Sar is Ajax’s CEO and Marc Overmars is the club’s director of football, and both men took the decision to sack Bergkamp. Van der Sar played alongside him for Ajax and the Netherlands national team, and Marc Overmars played alongside him with Ajax, Arsenal and the Netherlands.

Bergkamp’s dismissal probably proves the old adage that there are no friends in football, something Jamie Carragher spoke about earlier this week on Monday Night Football. As far as the former Liverpool defender was concerned, the people he shared a dressing room with throughout his career with were his work colleagues, not his friends, and he retains contact with very few of them in retirement. We reckon Bergkamp would certainly share that view.

“People say who do you keep in touch with now that you are finished…no-one,” Carragher said.

“I speak to Stevie now and again when he is at the academy, you have the odd text message to the odd player, nothing major. They’re not your mates, they’re your team-mates. You are there to win. You’re from a different country, a different part of England, Europe, South America or wherever, but they are not my friends. I’m not going to keep in touch with them when I leave. We are here to win trophies today, next week and we can get together in 20 years times to celebrate what we’ve done, fantastic.”