A really ugly end to a rainbow.
I know last season was far from perfect, but we had some lovely moments, moments of real palpable team spirit. A kind of ‘Well if you’re going to write us off, we’re going to write you off into the irrelevance of Wrongtown’ sort of sentiment. It was nice. A new feeling, after quite a few seasons of anything but.
And now it’s come to this. I’ve no doubt there are many among us who support Robin van Persie in his feelings toward the club in its current ‘state’. No doubt his beliefs have some merit, even I will not deny that. And no doubt, a man of almost 29 years wants to be planning for as successful a future as can be. No one wants to have been a nearly.
But really, Robin. What have you gone and done?
It’s been almost a week now, since our beautiful, courageous, charismatic, talismanic captain went and sicked up his tea all over us all. Now, I certainly don’t want to adopt the tone of a victim here. I hate that. No one’s a victim here. I’m still chewing-my-nails-off excited about the prospect of next season. Last season was a case of ‘Oh God. Oh God. Oh Godohgodohgod no please don’t start, I don’t want this season to be’. This season, up until a week ago, there was real excitement about what could be this year. We’d signed Podolski. I never, ever thought I’d see Lukas Podolski play for the Arsenal, especially now that we’re a dreadful side lucky to still be able to charge for footb- oh wait, we’re still in the Champions League, good point, I’d forgotten that. We’d signed Giroud. Unproven, most definitely, but a terrifically positive signing exceptionally early on in the transfer window. It doesn’t matter if we defend like handcuffed goats, look at that strike force! We have so many players who will be fit for the beginning of next season, plus the ones close to making the transition from smaller games to the big time.
Then, after van Persie’s delightful statement on his flashy new website, we were in disarray once more. Usmanov and his little gang took the unrest Robin had undoubtedly caused as their cue to swoop in and act as Spiderman, offering up a solution to the poor, fragile, broken-hearted fan base stood on the edge of oblivion. The only trouble is, instead of envisioning Spiderman when thinking of the statement they put out, I think of a really bitchy high school queen touching up her Rimmel in the scuzzy school toilet mirror and turning round to her dowdy girlgang and going ‘Girliiiiiies! This is our momennnnnnt!’ before stomping off toward their target in a cloud of Charlie and breath mints and muffin top.
But enough about them. I don’t really understand the business side of things anyway, so I’ll leave that to everyone else. Back to Robin. I think if we’d all been a room full of people when that statement was released, ‘stunned silence’ would have been too subtle a description. I’ve seen it picked apart in so many different blogs and articles that it’s actually quite tiring to keep seeing it, but, well, I need to do this.
‘Update for the fans’
The fans. The fans of who? The fans of Arsenal? The fans of Robin van Persie? The fans of my super-cool graphic-y, flashy, spanking new website? Be specific, Robin.
‘This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.’
‘My current situation.’ Oh petal, what happened? Broken knee? Compromised criminal record? Car been clamped? Oh, just your contract situation. OK, I see, I’m on board. Go on. ‘I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger.’
Kept quiet? Why darling, what happened to you? Sounds like something bad. Are you OK? Oh. OK I see, just your contract situation. OK, I see. Go on. ‘Since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.’
Oh sweet Jesus Robin, you don’t know the half of it! Every day, every SINGLE DAY we have it forced down our throats that you are not going to be here much longer. It’s AWFUL. So difficult. Please tell them they’re wrong!
‘As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.’
We KNOW, Robster! We had people live tweeting it! It was hilarious, you should have been there. We have about fifteen different theories on what BISCUITS you had! Aren’t we funny? We are funny. I love us! So anyway, listen to me banging on. You were saying? Financial terms. Of course, well, you obviously want to be well paid. You were BRILLIANT last year, and brilliance does not come for free.
‘I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.’
Wait, so… what? OH! You mean… what?! You personally have been great. Yeah, of course you have. BRILLIANT. Amazing, we couldn’t have done anywhere near as well as we did without you. Bless you for reaching your potential when we most needed it! To think, you could have been sold to someone like Manchester City five or six years ago when you were perma-gammy and they were shit and poor. Fancy that, that would have been awful wouldn’t it-
Ahhhhhhh, I can’t keep it up. That statement. That STATEMENT. Why. What. Why and what, what WAS THAT?!
A week later and I still can’t quite believe that statement is up there or that it was even issued at all. You have to laugh at the muppet in the stupid waistcoat if he persuaded Robin that that statement would keep the fans on his side. Like we were going look down at the floor and take a deep breath before nodding bravely and stuttering out the best kind of well-wishing message we could muster, before excusing ourselves to the bathroom and collapsing against the door in a sea of tears and mascara.
And if you’re reading this website and positively chuckling at how hypocritical we all are at having altered our opinion on the man so dramatically, I ask you to READ THE BLOODY STATEMENT.
Even if the PR side of it is more disastrous than the aftermath of the BP oil leak, the calculated, nasty undertone of it is still there for all to see. It’s an attack on the Club as a whole, which no one was ever going to stand for, you enormous idiot. It’s an attack on Arsene Wenger which, sadly, some people often do readily take. Fortunately in this instance most people (including plenty of journalists) have taken Wenger’s side. It’s an attack, and apparently a badly informed attack at that, on Ivan Gazidis. That part really irritated me. ‘As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America.’ Firstly, it was wrong (at least according to Mark Gonnella who took to his Twitter feed to inform that weaponest of all weapons Piers Morgan of his wrongness immediately after he, that berkiest of fan van Persie and his waistcoat wankers had been trying to target, had simply lapped up the opportunity to attack Arsenal.) And secondly, if he was on holiday, why the poxing hell shouldn’t he be on holiday? Don’t make out like you’re not on holiday yourself, you fool. And don’t talk about ‘respect’ and ‘loyalty’ before throwing them both head first and blindfolded into a vicious inferno fuelled (naturally) by your furious ambition.
The use of ‘you guys’ does not make it friendly. It makes it annoying and stupid. Don’t use ‘you guys’. Don’t use it ever (Andre Santos you can still use it). And lastly, the crux of his argument is that he desperately wants for ARSENAL to do well, but because he can’t see that happening, he thinks it’s best he heads off and leaves us to our own devices. Always useful, captain. I can’t find it now, but there is a van Persie quote floating around out there about how he could go and win trophies elsewhere, but they’d not be the same as they’d not be with Arsenal. Of course, back then he wasn’t fit and PFA Player of the Year and top scorer in the world and everyone’s favourite tabloid headline. I loved that quote. It gave me hope that in a world where pretty much everyone involved in football is a complete arse, there are still people there who care more deeply for their club than for glory and money and all the rest of it. I also loved his ‘I believe in Arsenal as a club, in the fans, in the team. I just love Arsenal’ quote. I loved it so much I named this bloody blog after it.
This past week after that statement has been a weird one. After Cesc left, I was a shadow of my former shelf for a while. Being left for someone else your man loves more than you really hurts. ‘Course, had his first girlfriend been Olivia Osasuna and not Betty Barcelona you’ve gotta question whether he’d have been QUITE so keen to have moved back in with her so sharpish, but that’s just my newfound bitterness popping up I expect.
After that statement it’s unlikely we’ll see Robin in an Arsenal shirt again. If we do, it’ll be very strange. How will it be in the dressing room? ‘Aww you guys, we were so matey and friendly and happy last year… it’s a pity you’re shit and I’m perfect, otherwise we could have been such fabulo friends!’
I’m wondering what Thomas Vermaelen is thinking, having just renewed his contract and come out with all that spiel about being in love with Arsenal and never wanting to leave. I loved those quotes, and I like to think they were said with the knowledge van Persie was planning to be on his way. I think Thomas is different to the rest and means what he says, and his renewal of his contract when we were truly terrible holds up to that theory, but who knows? He’ll probably be off next summer or the summer after it anyway.
I’m looking at Podolski and Giroud and their happy-go-lucky interviews and thinking ‘Oh bless you, I can’t wait to see you in action!’ Then I’m thinking ‘Oh piss off, you’ll probably be brilliant and then shove off elsewhere in pursuit of trophies next, so just stop talking and play football.’ I’m looking at all the players who were here and who left and thinking ‘If you were still here, would we still be trophyless?’
It’s the Wenger part that really gets me. Another player he’d found and brought to England and taught and coached and guided into something bigger than he ever thought he’d be. So big and so good and so clever, in fact, that he’d be much better at Wenger’s job than Wenger. What’s decades of managerial experience anyway when set up against a man trying to wring the best out of the rest of his career? Not being funny, Robin, I love and respect you for all the performances you put in for us this season and all the other parts of season we cobbled together to make your patchwork quilt-esque career at Arsenal so far. You’ve been wonderful.
It’s just a pity you appear to have pretty much ended it in such a fantastically shit way. If this was always on your mind, that’s fair enough. Why bother with all the rubbish about ‘I love Arsenal, look how much my granddad loves Arsenal! My wife really loves Arsenal!’ if this was how it was always going to end?
I know to some of you he’s the worst thing to have happened to the world since polio, but if it wasn’t for Arsene Wenger I’d really be questioning why any of us are still bothering with the shitheap this sport is at the moment. If I could change the name of this, I’d change it to a quote of his. Fortunately, I don’t really have to, as the statement still rings true for me. Now that he’s a superstar though, Robin apparently no longer does. In fact, as it is, our ‘best player’ and captain now presumably leaves us with the message for his team mates that we’re nowhere near any future success and that the manager is not to be trusted and that if any of them want nice things in future, they’ll need to go elsewhere to find them. And that he really really loved Arsenal, but not so much that he wasn’t above throwing a big fat ugly wobbly to get his way, and sod the ramifications it’d have on the people who will remain at the club for the near future at least. Great captaining, sir.
Robin, in the words of a different Dutchman “Do you like Arsenal? Or just Arsenal with a trophy?” Well, I guess now we know.