An open letter to Robin van Persie from a Manchester United fan
As your former club celebrates back to back FA Cup victories you’re probably wondering why fate is shining so cruelly upon you. I’d like to assure you that you’re not alone.
I remember oh so well the day you joined the club I supported since I was too little to reach the TV in order to turn it on to watch them play. You famously declared, next to the beaming visage of Sir Alex Ferguson, that you always listen to the little boy inside you and that little boy was screaming for Manchester United.
And that little boy did deliver. Goal after beautiful goal followed, which fired Manchester United to the top of the table in no time, snatching the Premier League title from Manchester City in the process, and justifying your decision to choose the number 20 shirt with a view to bring the twentieth league title to the Theatre Of Dreams. You ensured that Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season at the club he managed for an astronomical twenty-six years ended on the sweetest possible note.
The aftermath of your contribution in your debut season was astounding. You were Manchester United’s latest go to man, endearing yourself to the fans in the process, who showed their appreciation for you by selecting you as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for the 2012-2013 season.
However, life has its ups and lows and unfortunately for you, you experienced the latter under Sir Alex’s doomed successor David Moyes and made just 21 league appearances with a contribution of 12 goals in the 2013-2014 season which is highly disappointing for a striker of your stature and a stark comparison to the man who was a nightmare for even the most battle-hardened centre backs under Sir Alex.
Of course the injuries that have nagged you throughout your illustrious career played a part in your dip in form too, but the most important thing a striker like you requires is to be shown some love by your manager. Moyes, who had the unenviable task of convincing Rooney to stay at the club, failed to show you the love his predecessor did and as a result, your morale nosedived further.
However, Moyes was soon sacked and a sudden silver lining appeared when Louis Van Gaal, your then coach of the Netherlands squad was announced as his successor. Van Gaal’s appointment got a lot of our hopes high especially after we witnessed the wonderful player-coach relationship you shared with him that was on full display at the World Cup.
The hope of goals returning to your name at Manchester United also resurfaced especially after that unforgettable flying header against defending champions Spain in your country’s opening match of the tournament. More goals soon followed, further fuelling the hope that our beloved striker would be coming back to United with a vengeance.
Van Gaal did have faith in you but fate once again had other plans and although you did score some vital goals, lack of form combined with that heartbreaking ankle injury you suffered against Southampton dampened your spirits once again.
And while the British media is having a field day bashing your image and stating that we’ve managed much better without you, what they’ve conveniently failed to notice is that our all round game has genuinely suffered from a lack of goals no matter who’s leading the line.
I sincerely hope you’ll stay next season, get back to your best and give James Wilson, your fellow Dutchman Memphis Depay and whoever else comes in before the start of next season a run for their money.
But if you decide that moving away is in your best interest, then you should know that you were immensely loved at the Theatre Of Dreams and that we’ll forever be thankful for all the beautiful memories you brought us.
Thank you Van Persie! Thank you for your first goal for Manchester United against Fulham that set the course for our title winning season, thank you for that brilliant hat-trick against Southampton which also helped you notch up 100 Premier League goals, thank you for that smashing penalty at Anfield that helped us triumph over our bitter rivals, thank you for that unforgettable free kick against Manchester City that put an end to the winning streak of our noisy neighbours.
Again, thank you for the brace against Wigan Athletic that handed David Moyes his first trophy as a club manager, thank you for that memorable hat-trick against Olympiacos that kept our Champions League dream alive, and lastly thank you for that unforgettable first half hat-trick against Aston Villa that helped hand us our twentieth league title.
Here’s hoping you’ll stay and help create many more beautiful memories.
A die hard Manchester United fan