Football Bergkamp admits to flying phobia
Bergkamp was speaking in Cardiff, where he is with the Dutch squad for tonight's World Cup qualifier with Wales. To get there Bergkamp drove to the Netherlands to join the team's training camp, then drove back to Cardiff while the team flew. All that and he is not even playing - a hamstring injury having ruled him out.
He did, however, have plenty of time for reflection and, yesterday, he spoke publicly for the first time about his phobia.
"I've got this problem and I have to live with it. I can't do anything about it, it is a psychological thing and I can't explain it. I have not flown on a plane for two years," he said.
"The Dutch FA has been sympathetic, so have have Arsenal, so far." Bergkamp admitted if Arsenal had been drawn away in Moscow in the Uefa Cup, a prohibitive journey by car, he would not have gone. The Dutch FA, mindful of a forthcoming World Cup match in Turkey, has now asked him to try to deal with the problem.
"I am considering psychiatric help," admitted the pounds 7m striker. "I can't fly. I just freeze. I get panicky. It starts the day before, when I can't sleep.''
Bergkamp's phobia was exacerbated by a scare during the 1994 World Cup when the team plane was delayed after a Dutch journalist joked about having a bomb in his bag. He was jailed.
There was also a air crash in Surinam a few years ago which killed several members of the Dutch youth team. They included the younger brother of John Veldman, who was in the Euro 96 squad. There is moral support at Highbury, though. Paul Merson is scared of flying - and has said that one of the hardest things about giving up alcohol is having to fly sober.
Jordi's wait, page 26
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Jose Mourinho dismisses United injury worries, saying 'they have an amazing squad'
Aaron Hernandez: American Football in the dock as NFL star player's murderous double life is revealed
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Why Blues are the least popular team in the league
Arsene Wenger compares talk of Jurgen Klopp replacing him at Arsenal to a 'circus'
Chelsea vs Manchester United combined XI: Thibaut Courtois or David De Gea? Juan Mata or Willian? Who makes our team?
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...