Among the intoxicating amalgamation of sports that constitutes the month of August, football is perhaps the most eagerly awaited one. And as the season begins – which has begun, in fact – the transfer saga of one man, from one giant of a club to another titan, makes me wonder out aloud about the paradigm called club football.
To be honest, I really don’t appreciate the Dutchman’s move to my favourite club. Quite possibly, this might sound and reek of game-plan incompetency and of absolute lack of solidarity towards my club. But ignoring all criticisms that might come my way and amidst all the chants of talent-crossover-at-a-more-than-reasonable-price surrounding me, what I want to fathom is how long will this man want to continue to be with my club? Maybe I am being exceedingly ideal – as my best friend chose to point this out – when I compare his recent histrionics against the very vital formative years he spent at with the North Londoners. Or maybe I am a traitor when I say he shouldn’t have behaved so melodramatically rather than being satisfied at his decision to switch over to Manchester – over a counterpart that is known to have spent exorbitant rates to get some of the best players in the field now.
And even as I puzzle over these developments, I can’t begin to understand the logistics behind his purchase. With several brilliant strikers and equally brilliant wingers to aid the team’s performance, what additional contribution is this man going to provide? There again, I don’t wish to be sarcastic, it’s a simple case of genuine curiosity? And each time the manager goes in for such a move, I wonder whether the seeming dearth of midfielders and defenders remains oblivious to his professionally ageing eyes? As vital several experienced team members in these two positions have been in the past, isn’t it more rational to go for a midfielder and a defender rather than go for a Striking Dutchman?
My friend tells me, with my questions, I shouldn’t watch club football at all. He believes with the amount of money pumping that goes in with a certain few clubs, it wouldn’t be prudent to have noble-minded ideas about transfer windows and ethics. But even as he points this tangible factor out, I can’t help but argue about that certain class of players who remain with a club, irrespective of the club’s downfall or potential windfall. Similar to the ilk of these few choice players, are those within my favourite club, who’s unofficial badge proudly reads – One Club Players. Over two decades of professional life spent with just one club, they have the loyalty and the respect of fans not just in England and Britain, but from all over the world wherever EPL – and the club – has a fan-following.
Things do change, but priorities as a professional should never do. And this why even while I will go on rooting for my club to win as many tournaments as they can this year, I won’t – and can’t – allow myself to root for this man’s performance just as I won’t hoot catcalls when he comes on-field as a mark of respect for the club. Robin Van Persie could very well turn out to be the pivot shaping Manchester United’s triumphant return to the EPL and Champions League podium, but no matter his individual performance tally, from my side for his apparent unprofessionalism, he still gets a thumbs-down.