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.


  1. Excellent post. I especially agree with your point that it seems odd for a player who has been with the club for the 7 trophyless seasons not to take any responsibility for the lack of silverware.

    1. Wow, I actually got a are now my hero....but on a serious note, thank you very much for your insight. I know that as fans we sometimes take it personally when an athlete wants to leave the club we love, but in this instance it's really hard not to feel hurt and angry. RVP's statement was not only rude & disrespectful to the club, manager & in a way the fans too, the fact that he put it in writing before speaking with anyone at the club makes it even more classless. This guy's ego is way out of control & he may regret his selfish behavior. Cheers!