Career at Ajax: 1986–1993
Dennis Bergkamp was brought up through Ajax’s famous youth system, joining the club at age 11. Manager Johan Cruyff gave him his professional debut on 14 December 1986 against Roda JC; the game ended in a 2–0 victory for Ajax. Bergkamp scored his first senior goal for the club against HFC Haarlem on 22 February 1987 in a match Ajax won 6–0. He went on to make 23 appearances in the 1986–87 season, including a European debut against Malmö FF in the 1986–87 European Cup Winners’ Cup, earning him praise. Ajax won the competition, beating Lokomotive Leipzig 1–0 as Bergkamp made an appearance as a substitute.
In later seasons, Bergkamp established himself as a first-team player for Ajax. This culminated in a period of success for the club, which won the Eredivisie title in the 1989–90 season for the first time in five years. Bergkamp scored 29 goals in 36 games the following season and became the joint top goalscorer in the league, sharing the accolade with PSV Eindhoven striker Romário. Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup Final, beating Torino through the away goals ruling. They then defeated SC Heerenveen 6–2 in the final of the KNVB Cup on 20 May 1993. Bergkamp was the top scorer in the Eredivisie from 1991 to 1993, and was voted Dutch Footballer of the Year in 1992 and 1993.
In total, he scored 122 goals in 239 games for his hometown club.
However, in April 2008 he began a fast-track coaching diploma for former Dutch international footballers and undertook a trainee role at Ajax. Having completed the Coach Betaald Voetbal course by the KNVB, Bergkamp was appointed assistant to Johan Neeskens for the newly formed Netherlands B team on 26 October 2008. For the 2008–09 season, Bergkamp returned to Ajax in a formal coaching position with responsibility for the D2 (U12) youth team. Following the promotion of Frank de Boer as manager of Ajax in December 2010, Bergkamp was appointed assistant manager to Fred Grim, dealing with Ajax’ flagship A1 (U19) youth team.
As of August 2011, Bergkamp has been de Boer’s assistant at Ajax, what a legend of Ajax.