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CCF Rebooted 30: Roland Bergkamp
Tuesday, 21st Jun 2022 21:03 by AtThePeake

Surely there hasn't been a player in Dale history with such a basic lack of footballing abilility despite an illustrious football surname as Dutchman Roland Bergkamp.

Position: Striker

Arrived from: Brighton & Hove Albion (loan)

Left for: Brighton & Hove Albion (loan)

Played : 2011

Appearances : 5

Goals : 0

Stick with us. I swear at some point Steve Eyre finally got sacked and the level of player I get to reminisce about improves. Although admittedly, not for a while yet.

At least with the signing of Roland Bergkamp, nephew of legendary Arsenal forward Dennis, there was a hope that he might be able to live up to the famous name. But that hope was never quite realised during his short spell at Spotland.

Having growing up on the outskirts of Amsterdam, Bergkamp came through the ranks at Excelsior in Rotterdam, breaking into the first-team in the 2009/2010 season and making 26 appearances and scoring three goals in his first professional season, helping the Kralingers into the Eredivisie with a promotion in that campaign.

Despite his tender age, Bergkamp did well in the Dutch top tier the following season, scoring five times in 26 appearances and even earning a call-up to the Netherlands U21 squad in March, appearing in a friendly against Germany. With interest from across the continent he rejected a new deal at Stadion Woudestein in favour of following his illustrious uncle's footsteps across the sea to England, landing at Brighton & Hove Albion in 2011.

Before making his Seagulls bow however, Bergkamp was sent on loan to Dale in November, but in his short spell in League One he flattered to deceive to say the least, and for anyone from Brighton who was watching his performances with us, they may have wondered what exactly they had signed.

It transpired during an interview while he was distantly related to the mercurial Dennis, they were not in contact and it's a shame, as surely the former Oranje international could have given the poor lad some pointers on how to at least look like a professional footballer.

Not quite possessing the delicate touch of Dennis, Roland was a far more agricultural type of forward, a battering ram of a striker who didn't actually do much battering. In fact, in his three appearances in a Dale shirt, Bergkamp didn't do much of anything.

After starting in a win at Preston, the following week he was again chosen in the starting eleven for the visit of Brentford, but was withdrawn after 56 minutes having barely touched the ball. He made his final appearance three weeks later, playing the final 17 minutes of a comfortable 3-0 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

To the surprise of nobody who saw him play in those three appearances with Dale, Bergkamp failed to make a single appearance at the Amex Stadium and returned to his native Netherlands on loan to VVV Venlo for 10 games without scoring, before eventually joining FC Emmen permanenty upon the expiry of his Brighton contract in 2013.

At Emmen, Bergkamp actually enjoyed the best spell of his career and racked up 26 goals in 72 Eerste Divisie appearances, earning himself a return to Rotterdam to join Excelsior's rivals Sparta, where he found the net six times in 30 appearances in helping the club to win promotion in 2015/2016.

The step-up to the Eredivise proved too much for the striker this time around though and he made just two substitute appearances and featuring five times for the reserve team in the third tier.

A lack of playing time prompted a move back to the second tier and to RKC Waalwijk, but even there he managed to find the net just four times in 51 appearances and he dropped further down the pyramid in 2019 to join semi-pro outfit VV Katwijk.

After 18 appearances and zero goals for the Tweede Divisie outfit, Bergkamp hung up his boots in April 2020 aged 29 and begun studying for a law degree.

Photo: Action Images

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