A Letter to Robin van Persie from a Gooner
Dear van Persie,
It’s irrelevant to ask whether you are happy at Old Trafford or not. You sure are. And this is not a letter of hatred or condemning your decision of leaving Arsenal and joining Manchester United in the summer transfer window. For all of us now know, at least, the Arsenal fans, that you made the right decision.
Last Saturday was all about it. In fact, the evidence could not have been more solid, more concrete, timely and apt. In the first match of the day, we blew a 2-0 lead, and then were trailing at one moment and after equalizing, screwed up the last kick of the game to drop two points. And that too at home, at the Emirates to Fulham which, if not the worst team of the league, is certainly, not the best.
And then your new team, like they always do, scored thrice to complete a sensational comeback away from home. Seriously, I do not care how you do this. I have never hated a team in sports this much as much I hate Manchester United but silently, I have always appreciated the mental strength of your team, the players and that Scot. In my usual mood, I could have argued that it was that Villa side which has not started their campaign in the way they have expected but scoring three goals against any side is not a small task. You did it again. Congrats.
The final whistle of the Man United match summed it up. You were right van Persie. You were so-so right. We, simply, do not possess that mental strength to complete these kinds of comebacks. As one Arsenal fan summed it up on Twitter-
“The difference between Arsenal and Manchester United has been crystal clear tonight (Saturday) and for the first time, I do not blame Robin van Persie one bit for forcing his way out of Arsenal. He moved to a better club and turned down a bigger money offer from Manchester City. Today Arsenal led 2-0 and threw it away whilst Man United trailed 0-2 and came back to win 3-2. The worst part- at 2-0, you knew Arsenal would throw it away. At 0-2, you knew Man United would come back. All the best Robin. No bitterness from me”
And now, Robin, we know, you were not behind money. Wenger has said you turned down a lucrative offer from Man City to join Man United. The pieces are falling in place. I will not be surprised if you win the title this season. May be, you were the missing element in that squad. You complete the Red Devils and you are already ahead in the race.
There was a time in last three months, Robin when I asked to myself – why, why has he to leave us to join United? What is that obsession about the trophies? Isn’t it always about the club? What about the support the club has given to him during his rough days? Now, I do not ask those questions anymore. I have got my answers. I get those answers every weekend, when Arsenal draw and lose win-able matches and you guys win. My Manchester United fans mock me every now and then. I do put up some resilience but deep down inside, I know we have lost it. The club will always be bigger than everyone, no doubt, but for a big club like Arsenal, the ambitions have to be high enough. Unfortunately, they were not. We let go you, our prized asset of the last season and you wonder whether, now, we could really make our place in next year Champions League.
Seeing the performance this season, I have no hesitation in saying that we were the one man show last season. You were that man. Tormenting the defenses of Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool and Wenger was smiling. Now, he does not anymore. Every time, Gervinho could not score, he knows you would have, surely at least forced the keeper to make an acrobatic save. He says Arsenal were not a one man team but he knew that was not true. He knew it was your 30+ goals that secured an automatic Champions League spot which, for him, is a trophy. When I read that statement, branding a place in CL as a trophy, I immediately realized what you said about Arsenal and ambitions were not wrong.
Coming to the mental strength, now I see you always had it otherwise it is tough to score goals when your defense is leaking goals, midfield misplacing passes and keepers making howlers. You kept your cool and focus and gave your best, unfortunately, rest 10 were not able to make the best of your efforts. The rest is history.
And things have not changed here at Arsenal, Robin. After a good start, we are back to what we did last season. Conceding goals at crucial moments have become a habit here. When I see Arsenal playing, even after 85 minute and 2-0 up, I always fear we will give up the lead. With our defense, I can never be calm and relaxed until the final whistle. It might be tough to be an Arsenal player but it is tougher being an Arsenal fan, trust me, Robin.
Having said all this, if, for a moment, you thought I was changing loyalties, then sorry. I don’t see my life without Arsenal. This is the club for which I wait for eight six days to get over to see them play. True, they have been disappointing but they are Arsenal. It’s tough to imagine my life without them. You are enjoying your time with Man United, that is good but I am still waiting for the day when you will be visiting the Emirates. Much about the title race will be clear by that time but you see, we the fans wait for these kinds of opportunities.
P.S.- I am also writing a letter to Arsene Wenger. Do read it if you get time.