So, it finally happened, didn’t it. One of the longest drawn transfer sagas related to Arsenal, since Henry of 2006.
My thoughts. Well, I am a bit shocked, even though this was on the cards. You could say dissapointed. Frustrated, certainly. Gutted, most certainly. Surprised, not in the least bit. Probably, it is because most Arsenal fans, like me, have resigned to the fact that we are being forced to sell our best players season after season. It so happens that the trophy draught has coincided with the financial crunch that the club is facing.
So, that has resulted in out best players leaving for greener pastures, to not only fulfill their footballing ambitions, but also fill their pockets as well. Sad, as it may seem, it is the harsh truth, we have to come to terms with.
So, here’s my personal opinion about Robin van Persie.
There were times during his early Arsenal days, when I wondered, why he even plays for Arsenal. He looked clumsy, had a poor right foot, and had a few disciplinary issues, of course. There was no doubting the potential, van Persie possessed. Absolutely no doubt about it. I remember fondly the first goal he scored, against Southampton, a late late equalizer, when it looked like we were on course for a second loss in as many games, after that fateful Manchester United game in 2004.
However, injuries frustrated us, and him as well. Niggling injuries, during training and on international duty, meant we were robbed off enough years of service from him. But, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger stuck by him, and patiently nursed him through his injuries, knowing fully well, that he would come good. There were the occasional flashes of brilliance to prove that as well. His fine strike against Bucharest, that goal against Liverpool, a brace at Stamford Bridge and all of that.
And, then came along a fully healthy and fit Robin van Persie. He scored goals at will. On his return from injury in the 2010/11 season, he hit top form, scoring some fine goals, along the way, the narrow angled one against Barcelona being the best of the lot. Alas, the club was not be the same the following seasons. Long protracted transfers for Fabregas and Nasri were finally completed.
Arsenal were a different team at this point, and van Persie was handed the captain’s armband. It was to be the most inauspicious of starts, however. Arsenal lost to Liverpool, and were humiliated by Manchester United. They went on to lose to Blackburn and Tottenham as well. However, there was a slow resurgence, led by the captain, as he started to get the team together. He scored goals against every opposition possible.
But, there was more to van Persie than just goals. As captain, he understood the club, its fans and what it stood for. (Or so we thought) He got the team into one unit, on and off the pitch. Arsenal survived one of the most difficult phases in recent years, and finished 3rd in the league, on the way recording some famous wins against Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Milan and Newcastle.
The Arsenal faithful had suddenly found a new idol, a new hero to worship. He was the darling of all Arsenal fans. Chants of ‘He scores when he wants’ became common place. Banners, the likes of “Who needs Batman, when you have Robin”, too were all around the Emirates.
Then, the hammer blow. The eye candy of so many Arsenal fans, announced on his personal website that he is not going to sign a new deal. Rants followed. Many fans disowned him. Calls were made for Arsene and the board to resign. Usmanov tried to use the situation for his benefit. It almost overshadowed the fact that we had 3 world class players signed up, in Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santo Cazorla.
Pictures of van Persie in training were beamed across in the Arsenal site. There was grey hair, and there was interest as well, from Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United. The first two, though fell apart in negotiations, but Manchester United persevered, and they got their man, and van Persie got what he wanted.
Where does this leave him? Where does this leave us? Where does this leave football?
Has loyalty been eroded from the game. Arsene Wenger made what you are, Robin. You supported this club as a boy, and after one really good season later, you believe you are bigger than the club, its fans, themselves. You call the manager a father figure, but no son would ever cheat on his father in this manner, if he really meant it.
Was ambition the sole reason? Or was it money, Robin. We may never know.
I personally loved van Persie for what he did last season. Most of that has gone now. Respect? Probably so. I still respect him as a player. He is a great player, but my respect for him solely from point of view as an Arsenal fan has all but diminished.
I have browsed through scores of Arsenal boards since, and they are filled with abuses, and rants, of the worst kind. Some wish van Persie gets injured and spends the length of his contract on the bench. I do not want that to happen. Breeding ill feelings doesn’t do anyone good.
All I have to say is, goodbye Robin, and thanks for the memories.
We were there before you, we will be there after you, and we will always be bigger than you. Nobody ever gets bigger than the club.
I came across this wonderful video, in Youtube. If you are an Arsenal fan, you must watch it.
Don’t be disheartened, my fellow Arsenal fans. There is much to look forward to in the coming years. Remember, heroes come and go, our passion is forever.
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Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!