Monday, July 16, 2012

50 Shades of RVP: A Summer of Rumors, Disloyalty and Greed

The star of our story

It takes place every summer. As soon as one season ends, the gossip and speculation begins. It happens at every club, but this year it's been Arsenal and one player in particular getting most of the attention. The Robin van Persie saga has been clogging the sports pages this summer and the football media have been having a field day. If every headline told a true story, Robin van Persie would be under contract to at least six clubs at this time. It's become a soap opera with an ending that is still to be written. Here are just some of the highlights from this summer's hottest story 50 Shades of RVP: A Summer of Rumors, Disloyalty and Greed.

March 10, 2012 - Manchester City strikeagreement for Arsenal's Robin van Persie
This one appeared way back in March in The National based in the United Arab Emirates. Hmmm, what a coincidence. This just happens to be the country where Manchester City's owner, Sheikh Mansour lives and is a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. Wasn't the regular EPL season still going on back in March?
The Sheikh rules his empire
May 22, 2012 - Why the Arsenal vibe is that RvP will stay a Gunner The transfer saga of the summer takes another twist...
Just two weeks after the season ended this headline appeared in the Mirror and made Arsenal fans everywhere very happy...but the winds of false rumors and yellow journalism were on the horizon.
Ivan Gazidis is on the case
How kind of our former captain that jumped ship just one year ago. Good old Cesc's advice; do as I say, not as I do courtesy of The Daily Mail.
Do as I say, not as I do
May 29, 2012 - Dutch ace Van Persie told to stay at Arsenal... by his mum!
The Daily Mail with yet another "exclusive"...this time it's Robin van Persie's mother that has told her son to stay at Arsenal. She is quoted as saying "Arsenal love him and that’s a great incentive to stay. Arsenal are a fantastic club'. This one really added to the soap opera theme as now "the family" were involved. We're all taught to listen to our mother. Will RVP do the same? Then again, did she really say that?
Mom knows best
The Mirror goes from RVP will stay, to RVP will be sold. Confusion and speculation are everywhere. The Twitterverse is rampant with rumors and theories.
Will he stay or will he go Wenger?

June 20, 2012 - Wenger - Van Persiewill stay 
Leave it to Sky Sports to tell the "true story". No need to worry any more Arsenal fans, he's staying. Or is he?

RVP's agent Kees Vos
July 4, 2012 - Update For The Fans
Courtesy of Robin van Persie's own website, this one was Tweeted on the 4th of July and sent football fans in to a frenzy. Social Media was overloaded with RVP being called all sorts of things. Meanwhile fans of Oil Sheikh City Football Club and several others were already planning on having RVP in their starting lineup and deciding which mercenary that they formerly loved should be booted like trash to make room for a shiny new mercenary.

July 4, 2012 - ClubStatement: Robin van Persie
Touche. Arsenal's official website hit back with their own response to van Persie's posting. Rumors continue to swirl as well as conspiracies. Could it have been RVP's agent Kees Vos behind this statement? Was it a ploy to get more money?

July 4, 2012 - City fat cat:Van Persie opens door to £220k-a-week move to the champions
Now the fun and games really took off. Every paper, every sports blog and every broadcast had a different story. Here The Mirror tells us what "they think" is going on.

July 6, 2012 - Juventus could beat Manchester City to signing Arsenal's Robin Van Persie
RVP Italy bound?
The plot thickens once again, this time courtesy of The Telegraph. Italian champions Juventus are now in the hunt for RVP. I haven't seen anyone wanted this badly since George Clooney was named People's Sexiest Man Alive.

July 6, 2012 - Kolo Toure wantsRobin van Persie at Manchester City
This one from the London Evening Standard is priceless. Former Arsenal defender Kolo Toure speaking on behalf of Mercenary City. Funny, considering he barely qualified to receive a Premier League winner's medal due to his suspension for doping and then being used exclusively as a substitute. Yes, life on the bench has been good for Kolo Toure.
Kolo Toure invited RVP to join him on the Mercenary City bench
July 7, 2012 - Now Barca ‘n PSG join RVPchase
RVP to Paris?
Leave it to The Sun to have the real story. Forget Mercenary City, Arsenal and Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have joined the feeding frenzy.
RVP to Barcelona?

July 10, 2012 - RVP Gets City AdeOf course it's Spuds taking on another Arsenal reject to add more fuel to the story. So according to The Sun, Mercenary City, which bought Adebayor to Manchester, but now wants to dump him, will sell him to Spuds who will take any damaged goods in order for Mercenary City to steal another Arsenal player that they will eventually grow tired of and sell. Sounds about right.
Unwanted goods, Adebayor from Mercenary City to Spuds
July 11, 2012 - Fergie can drive a Van
Another day, another "scoop" from The Sun. This time it's Alex Ferguston and Manchester United in the hunt for RVP.
Fergie gets in on the action
July 13, 2012 - MANCHESTER CITYSET TO SEND KOLO TOURE TO TURKEYThis one comes from the Express. While it doesn't directly involve RVP, it's pretty funny to see that one week after Kolo Toure was begging van Persie to join him at Mercenary City, they are looking to toss Toure out on the garbage heap.

July 13, 2012 - EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal hopeful captain Van Persie will do'a Rooney' and stay
Is Stan the man with any plan?
Extra, extra....this "exclusive" comes courtesy of the Daily Mail. Just when Arsenal fans had fully vented their fury and gotten used to Arsenal without RVP, this headline hits. It's official now, this entire saga has become a circus.

July 14, 2012 - RvP set forArsenal's pre-season tour - unless a bid is made this week
With RVP returning to Arsenal's training camp this one is coming down to the wire. Arsenal's pre-season trip to Asia begins this weekend and the question still remains whether RVP will be on the plane or least according to The Mirror.

The Daily Star is the UK equivalent of the National Enquirer so keep in mind where this story comes from. According to NOBODY (they don't even have the brains to use the old BS standbys of "a source" or "an insider" RVP was spotted house hunting in Chesire. They go on to say that this signals it has come down to a fight between Mercenary City and Man United for RVP.

Ray Parlour
July 16, 2012 - Exclusive - Parlour: Arsenalcould swap Dzeko for Van Persie
Before finishing this posting I checked Google News for any updates on the never ending RVP story and found this one courtesy of talkSport. Here they take a speculative suggestion from former Gunner Ray Parlour and turn it in to the latest theory on the RVP saga.

Stay tuned folks as the next chapter of 50 Shades of RVP: A Summer of Rumors, Disloyalty and Greed has yet to be written.

Meanwhile, film rights for 50 Shades of RVP: A Summer of Rumors, disloyalty and Greed have been secured. No production date has been sent but the leading roles have been cast. They include

Robin Van Persie                                                Ryan Gosling
Arsene Wenger                                                   Gerard Depardieu
Roberto Mancini                                                 Antonio Banderas
Fergie                                                                  Sean Connery
Kees Vos                                                             James Brolin
Stan Kroenke                                                      Daniel Day Lewis
Ivan Gazidis                                                        Ralph Fiennes
Robin van Persie’s Mother                               Julianne Moore
Cesc Fabregas                                                   Gael Garcia Bernal
Kolo Toure                                                          Mekhi Phifer
Ray Parlour                                                         Ewan McGregor

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

RVP Shows Arsenal and Arsene Wenger a Total Lack of Respect

With the mercury reaching 93 degrees today, I spent part of the holiday afternoon inside watching the Mets and checking the news on the computer. It was here that I stumbled upon Robin van Persie's rather odd statement about his decision to not renew his Arsenal contract. To get the sense of what folks were thinking and feeling I turned to Twitter to see what was being said online and there sure was a lot. Instead of making a knee jerk reactions and venting my frustration via Twitter, I decided to sit and stew with this news for a while and compile my thoughts. Here are just a few:

North London is, and always will be, Red
1) Tottenham Fans - WTF? You are kidding, right? Yes you have the right to laugh and enjoy Arsenal fans' collective misery but are you forgetting you have your own in house problems? Your team finally had a chance to finish a full EPL season higher than Arsenal and your team couldn't even do that. It was being handed to you on a silver platter as Arsenal had one of their worst starts to the season in ages. Meanwhile, Spuds were dubbed the "darlings" of the league by football pundits for almost the entire season. For that failure alone you should be hiding your heads in the sand. Your "beloved" manager was first snubbed by England and soon after was unceremoniously fired by your owner. Meanwhile, your star midfielder tried desperately to leave for Chelsea last year, was forced to stay and; now can't wait to get out the door. So, laugh all you want Spuds fans, but you might want to take care of your own house first as you know we'll be laughing at you soon enough and celebrating St. Totteringham Day much earlier in 2013 than we did in 2012.

He spends when he wants, Man City's sugar daddy
2) Manchester City fans - Again, WTF? Until your rich oil sheikh sugar daddy came along to buy your club and then spend money like a drunken sailor to buy players that would then buy him trophies, your team were a piss poor second rate football club second class in your own city to the way more successful Manchester United. Now, after just one winning season purchased with oil money the club's supporters are running their mouths like they are fans of a big club such as Man United. Well, just to remind you, YOU ARE NOT a big club. You have a long way to go to reach the level of success of clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and YES Arsenal. In case you need to be reminded of your club's "legendary" history check out your team's yearly finishes (and in what division) Prior to this season, the last time your club won a title was ten years ago..and that title was Division 1. Laugh all you want, have your fun, but don't get too carried away as all of football fandom will collectively be laughing at you soon enough.

3) Robin van Persie was great for Arsenal last year and finally reached the potential everyone thought he had but was unable to display in previous seasons due to injury, better players ahead of him and other problems. Some of the idiotic comments being made toward Arsenal are that the club would have finished 16th without RVP last season and if RVP leaves the club, Arsenal are doomed. As you folks say in the UK, what a load of bollocks with no merit.
From Golden Boot to Golden Bench & Man U was fine
In 2011 the EPL's Golden Boot award was shared by Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez. So, how did those two players and their clubs' do this season? Well, Berbatov was left on the sidelines by Alex Ferguson and barely used, while Carlos Tevez went AWOL for more than half the season after refusing to play. Based on the above mentioned idiotic theories, Berbatov and Tevez' clubs should have been doomed...but guess what? They not only survived without each of these players, the clubs finished 1 and 2 despite the absence of their previous season's scoring leaders.

Then look at RVP's numbers in his 8 seasons with Arsenal. He has 96 total career league goals with almost a third of them, coming this season. That means that he scored a combined 66 goals in his previous 7 seasons, which averages less than 10 goals a campaign. Arsenal challenged in each of those seasons despite RVP's lack of production then...and they are certain to do so again with or without him. In sports as in the regular work world, everyone is replaceable.
What RVP looked like through most of his years with Arsenal
In any sport, one player does not make a team. The most painful part of the RVP saga for me is not the fact that he most likely won't be at the club next season, but the blatant lack of respect he has shown to the club and especially Arsene Wenger. Wenger stood by RVP when most fans wanted to dump the often injured player. He made RVP captain and gave him the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage. I truly thought that RVP loved Arsenal and his opportunity to lead the club to challenge for trophies. I really thought he relished the challenge and wanted to prove that teamwork and class can outperform greed. Sadly I was wrong. RVP's ego and over inflated vision of his own self worth have clouded his judgement and values.

As with Nasri and Fabregas, RVP was a part of the Arsenal teams that have not won a trophy for the past 7 years. Instead of accepting a bit of responsibility for this fact and working to correct it, he is running away and taking the easy way out. Of course it's tempting to go straight in to the arms of a sugar daddy and just be handed a trophy for spending the most money, but it would be nice to see a player want to win based on hard work, commitment and leadership. The best analogy of RVP's behavior is that he is acting like a happily married middle-age man who is hit on by a 21-year-old super model and unceremoniously dumps his loyal wife for an easy opportunity. Man City is that bimbo super model that has all the looks and is the current fad, but no substance. I'd personally rather be a big fish in a big pond than just another fish in a Sheik's kingdom.

There is no I in team, didn't RVP learn that at EURO 2012?
So, seeing that loyalty is almost dead in professional sports I thought it worthwhile to recognize several players that have stayed loyal to their clubs despite periods of hardship and opportunities to win elsewhere.

Loyal to Liverpool
Steven Gerrard - The current Liverpool captain has spent his entire career at Liverpool despite opportunities to move elsewhere. Whether you like Liverpool or not, it was Steven Gerrard's grit, determination and leadership ability that drove Liverpool back from a 3-0 half-time deficit to victory in the 2005 Champions League final. Since then he has continued to be his team's leader and inspiration.

 "I would have regretted leaving Liverpool. People on the outside, who don't have the bond I have with the club, may not understand that. They will make judgments and say I could have won my trophies and earned more money if I had gone elsewhere. 'But that's not important to me because I still feel I can win a couple more trophies with Liverpool and, if I do, they will mean an awful lot more to me."

Francesco Totti - Roma's captain has spent his entire professional career with the club despite some up and down years and opportunities to move elsewhere.
Roma's Totti

When asked why he hasn't asked for a switch to another team in order to win something more, Totti stated, "Because I grew up playing for Roma and I want to die playing for Roma, because I have always been a Roma fan."

Alessandro Del Piero - The Juventus striker is retiring after 19 seasons with Italy's Juventus. While Juventus has had much success over the years, Del Piero showed true loyalty by remaining with the club for the 2006-2007 season after their relegation to Italy's second tier of football, Serie B.
Del Piero remained loyal to Juventus
Despite Juventus not extending Del Piero's contract, he sent an open letter to Juventus fans. In his letter he states, “Above all what remains is the fans, you who are Juventus. That jersey that I loved and will always love, that I desired and respected, without breaks or discounts. I am happy that others after me can wear the shirt and above all the ‘10’ that has always had my name on it since they started printing names on the Bianconeri jerseys."

Ledley King loyal to Tottenham
Ledley King - (Yes, I am saying something kind about Tottenham!) Tottenham's captain has spent his entire career with the club which stood by him through injury problems. King's contract with Tottenham has expired and he will try to prove his fitness in pre-season training. If that doesn't work out, the centre back plans to retire.

King said: "Tottenham has been the only club for me and if I can’t play here then I shall look to be involved in another capacity."

While the final chapter in this story is still being written and there may be more twists and turns to come...RVP may have just ruined his Arsenal legacy with his actions. He has gone about this in a totally disrespectful manor and shown a lack of class to a club and manager that have been respectful and supportive of him through his highs and his lows.