First things first, Happy New Year my dear readers, thank you for stopping by.
I had a little trouble writing today’s title. I had so many things to call it but I thought if the title mentioned the name of the person this blog is mostly about that it wouldn’t get read at all.
The various titles I had were “Why United are a one-man team”, “Robin should never have left, here’s why”, “RvP made a big mistake moving to United” etc.
Still with me? Phew… the name didn’t have you reaching for the hammer to smash whatever device you are reading this on then. Good, I’m glad we can be adults about this ‘person’ .
I believe that Robin made a mistake leaving Arsenal despite what the table says.
Robin said recently that he is playing in a team of champions, a nasty dig at Arsenal many Gooners felt.
I’d argue that Robin is the champion and he left a team of could be’s to join a team of could be’s. I know many will argue that United finished 2nd without him and Arsenal finished 3rd with him but that doesn’t take into account the signings Arsenal and United have made, the improvement in Arsenal’s defending, their weak area from last season nor does it consider the weakness of United’s defence at the back end of last season and carried on into this.
There are most likely hundreds of RVP articles on blogs at this very moment in time and there will be many more over the next few days so I apologise for giving you yet another however I doubt this will be read by many. Some of my fellow bloggers will blame the club and profess their continued love for Robin whilst others will blame him and declare it as greed.
We’ve all known deep down inside that this was going to happen but I must admit I didn’t expect it to cut so deeply.
After Cesc I believed that I was prepared. After our strong summer signings I believed that I would brush off Van Persie leaving when it eventually came around.
I was wrong.
I foolishly allowed myself to believe that Robin loved the club and have tried to rationalise potential moves but I cannot rationalise our captain and talisman leaving for Manchester United.
I do feel betrayed and I do feel let down.
A true friend stabs you in the front.
― Oscar Wilde
I lost all respect for Robin when he released that statement in July but I held on to the words he spoke many times about always being a Gooner. Saying you will always be a Gooner and then joining United is like saying you’ll never be a racist and then donating money to the BNP. Okay maybe that’s a little melodramatic but it’s bloody close!
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword.
― Oscar Wilde
The coward does it with a kiss
However…. underneath that disappointment and feeling of betrayal there is a simmering hope and innate sense of relief.
The year is 1999 and Arsenal have just finished the season without a trophy. They have been comprehensively beaten by an inspired Chelsea by 5 goals to nil in the Worthington Cup, have exited the Champions League in 3rd spot behind Lens in 2nd and group winners Dynamo Kyiv, lost the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United in extra-time and missed out on the league on the final day of the season to Manchester United by 1 point. (Incidentally United conceded 37 goals that year and still won the league, Arsenal conceded 17 and finished 2nd. These days “defensive frailties” are often quoted as a reason for not winning the league but I would suggest that United’s 80 goals scored to our 59 and Man City winning the league on goal difference shows that attack is quite often the best form of defence.)
Giggs knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup
Arsenal had started the season poorly with 4 draws and a loss before the end of September leaving them with just 10 points and though they fought extremely hard to get back into title contention they ultimately finished the season pot-less and with a bitter taste in their mouth. Things for the fans were about to get worse.
Picked up for £500,000, free scoring Nicolas Anelka looked to be the buy of the century until Real Madrid came calling and Anelka left in a £22.3m deal. Financially it was very good for the club but having come so close to retaining the title and with no prolific striker in the ranks with Ian Wright having left the summer before the fans were understandably tetchy and worried about our ability to compete.
There has been a lot of attacking of Arsenal by Gooners on twitter recently and the stagnant air of negativity has even driven some very well liked tweeters into hibernation as they cannot stand to read the streams of abuse hurled towards the club and its players.
Instead of exasperating me to the point of quitting twitter it has, for want of a better word, inspired me to adapt my post. This piece was originally going to be entirely about the defence and, ironically, defending them and I’ll still do that but now the piece is going to be a bit longer and will be about defending the club as well. I suggest getting a cuppa as this is a long one but I really hope you’ll stay to the end because I think the message is worth hearing.
I’m as desperate for success as the next Gooner however I do not think we have a divine right to trophies nor do I think we have a divine right to challenge for trophies and I most certainly do not think that we should buy a sense of entitlement by selling out to the sugar daddies of the world.
That said I do believe that we should be challenging. Not because we are The Arsenal but because we have one of the best managers in the world, a world-class stadium full of supporters, world-class training facilities, top coaching staff, an enviable youth set-up, the best pitch in the world and a group of very talented players to take to it. I see no reason why we should not compete moving forward but understand fully why we have not challenged for the league in recent years even if I don’t like the fact we haven’t especially given the players we’ve had.
And now I want to dispel a few myths that kept cropping up in a twitter conversation last night and are used fervently by some as the reason Arsenal are not winning trophies.
Okay, quick post today.
Robin Van Persie has said on his official website that he will not be extending his contract. Here is the official statement from his site.
This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.
As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions. Read more