We loved you Robin.
It’s true, we did. Didn’t we?
I have just deleted one and half paragraphs, or 245 words of Robin van Persie back story at the beginning of this article. What’s the point in retelling it? You all know the stories and won’t get much pleasure in reliving them in the aftermath of Robin van Persie’s announcement that he will not be renewing his contract in north London. Of course, he has cited the ubiqitious “musical differences”. Ok, he didn’t say that exactly, but that’s basically what he’s saying. He’s basically saying to Arsenal, as Fleetwood Mac would have it, “you can go your own way”.
Yes, I have just quoted Fleetwood Mac in an article about the man who led the team brilliantly out of adversity this season. Deal with it and move on. I feel gutted, to be honest. Especially as I believed, and repeatedly stated that belief here, that he would stay. But, at the same time, I am thirty five years old (or nearly). I’ve seen the likes of Rocky, Wrighty, Paddy, Bobby, Denny (Ok, I know I’m stretching this a bit now) and of course Thierry leave the club. All of them won multiple honours with the Arsenal, and all of them meant something more to me than Robin did. I was, variously, heartbroken, gutted, heartbroken- again, mildly upset, it was time and Thierry didn’t want to be here anymore. I guess it’s a bit of a generational thing, I am only older (and only just) than one of the players I have just mentioned. But it also undoubtedly helps that they were all part of successful teams. Different ones at that.
Robin, in his 8 years in north London, has won one FA Cup. And that isn’t neccessarily down to him. But what it does mean is that when the media, and the Spurs fans and everyone else tell us that Robin’s vote of no confidence in the Arsenal leadership means that we are fucked, forever, we can look at these idiots, raise an eyebrow and ask, “Really?” Isn’t that what you said when the back four were phased out? When Vieira left? When Thierry left? Ok, so we haven’t won anything since that most dominating of number fours won us the FA Cup and then buggered off to Italy. But Robin van Persie, for all his genius, has been part of all of those teams.
I do not come here to bury van Persie. He has to do what he wants to do and I don’t see the point in him staying in north London if he is bringing in a no confidence vote in the Arsenal leadership- and a boss he claims to have massive amounts of respect for. I just want to communicate my belief that jumping off a cliff, screaming “WE’RE ALL DOOMED!” is, well, a bit fucking pointless. Bigger players have left this club and I’ve survived it, we all have. Some of those bigger players have even come back for seconds, once they’ve realised what they’ve been missing since turning away from our loving embrace.
At this stage, Robin has only said that he will not be signing a new contract- not that he is asking for a transfer, so it seems there is a possibility, however small, that he will begin the season in north London. But it’s difficult to see how that would possibly be to our benefit- apart from retaining the services of a world class player for one more season. All year, I have seen a player who appeared to be committed, engaged and revelling in his role as the leader of the team. I suppose it isn’t a massive leap to suppose that if he can have projected this image with serious doubt swirling through his mind, as it must have been, then perhaps we can get a good season out of him. But I would hate to see him going through the motions, we deserve better than that. And, despite some of what I’ve said above, he clearly deserves to be better remembered than as a time server.
Of course, the silver lining to this is that should Arsenal take the sensible financial decision to cash in, we’ve learnt the lessons of last summer and got reinforcements in early. I said last week I still thought we had good options with the Dutchman out of the equation and, you won’t be shocked to hear that, my stance hasn’t changed in a week. I guess what we’re dealing with here is something the Arseblogger referred to earlier today. We all think of Robin as someone who gets the club, understands Arsenal’s values, and that makes today’s annoucement doubly difficult to take.
Anyway, he’s made his decision and he’s announced it. I’m not sure he’s gone about it the right way and I think that, having been injured for what seems like 5 of his 8 years at the club, he possibly owed us a bit more than this. There again, he might well consider his efforts this season, and through the back end of last, as ample settlement of his bill. I almost feel like his equalising goal against Spurs this season was enough to do it.
Almost. All that we can do now is hope that he doesn’t end up “shackin’ up” in Manchester blue. That might just send me over that cliff. G’night all.------------
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