Will Robin van Persie always Be a Traitor and Villain to Arsenal?


Loyalty in sports is dying incredibly quickly. It’s a natural byproduct that fans are going to feel some ill-will towards players whose jerseys they used to don on any given Saturday when that player now suits up for a cross town rival or even just in the same league.

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Robin van Persie is one such name that used to be revered at the Emirates but now is spat upon with due diligence as a traitor and a villain. It’s hard to blame such brands when he left after his best ever season at Arsenal and accepted the paycheck that Manchester United threw at him in their typical, vulture-like fashion.

But is this how it will always be? Most Gunner faithful, when asked who most makes their skin crawl in recent memory, will tell you Robin van Persie. Some may say Cesc Fabregas, but that situation is all sorts of diluted and it’s hard to even tell how villainous Fabregas really is in the whole ordeal.

Robin van Persie claims that he’ll always be a Gunner: ” I am a real Gunner and will always be one” he said via IBT. He went on to add, “”I never would have gone for the money, but wanted the change to take my career a bit further.”

That in and of itself is a bit frustrating. Robin van Persie didn’t see the Gunners as winners, and to a certain extent, he may have been right. They hadn’t won anything in a near decade. But to jump ship on a club that he will ‘always be a part of’ takes a certain degree villainousness, which isn’t even a word, but that’s okay.

Robin van Persie scored 132 goals in 277 appearances for Arsenal (via WhoScored.com). That puts him eighth all time in Arsenal history (via Arsenal.com). It’s hard to simply overlook the contributions he made in keeping Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League appearance streak alive. And yet, he’s a despicable villain because of who he suits up for now.

Since joining Manchester United, Robin van Persie has 48 goals in 86 appearances but his usefulness only extended a couple years, as he fell on hard times due to his all-too-well-known injury proneness. Many are even calling for Untied to cut ties with the Flying Dutchman this summer. Once he is free of the United apparel, will his treatment by Arsenal fans improve in the slightest?

Villains come and go and are usually fairly quickly forgotten. One villain that may somewhat (just slightly) compare to Robin van Persie is Emmanuel Adebayor.

Adebayor followed in the footsteps of Thierry Henry, coming from Monaco to Arsenal. In three years in Arsenal red, he put up 46 goals in 104 appearances. That .44 goals per appearance isn’t far behind van Persie’s .47. However, Adebayor was even quicker to hasten his way to the Arsenal villain path, as he jumped ship for Manchester City, where he was involved in a slapping and stamping incident with Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas, and then solidified himself as a traitor by jumping over to Tottenham.

Sounds worse than Robin van Persie right?

The difference is that Adebayor is irrelevant now. He’s made only 10 appearances this year and scored 2 goals. Those kinds of numbers will erase you from Arsenal fans memories fairly quickly. No doubt he would continue to get booed if he manages to find the pitch again, but for all intents and purposes, Emmanuel Adebayor is no longer on Arsenal fans minds. Some of that may even be due to van Persie’s departure and overshadowing Adebayor’s/

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It would not be surprising to see the same happen to Robin van Persie. He found the majority of his success at Arsenal and while he did help United to a title, he’s also fading into irrelevance with United, and that’s tough to recover from. Plus, now that Cesc Fabregas is prominent in Chelsea Blue and Robin van Persie is rarely seen in United colors, it’s easier to forget.

Time will help repair some of the ill-feelings. Robin van Persie was absolutely crucial to Arsenal and it’s a bit shortsighted to forget that. Bailing to Manchester United is a permanent blight on his record, but he still deserves some warmness in Arsenal fans hearts. But just the slightest amount.

It’s kind of like yin and yang, you can’t have the villainous van Persie without the heroic one, and vice versa.

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