Manchester City’s most notable fan once wrote a song called ‘Wonderwall’. However, it is Arsenal fans who will perhaps identify most profoundly with the lyric ‘I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now’.
How exactly do Arsenal fans feel about Robin van Persie now? We know how they used to feel – ‘scores when he wants’ used to be the refrain resounding around the Emirates until the Dutchman did the unthinkable – he left them for someone else.
That ‘some else’ wasn’t just anyone else but their bitter enemy and fiercest foe in Manchester United. To make matters worse for the North Londoners, he now makes his return to the Emirates as a newly crowned champion.
Whilst the press and pundits fawn over the ex-Arsenal man like sycophants, running out of superlatives to describe his sensational form and undeniable talent, many Arsenal fans continue to lick their wounds over his departure.
Denial was perhaps the first feeling when the 29-year-old engineered his move away from the club – forcing the hand of the club and manager Arsene Wenger to sell him after he announced he would not be renewing his contract last summer. He had to go and off he went.
Bargaining between Wenger and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson then commenced as the two clubs haggled over how much and how little they he was worth - £24.5 million the fee agreed and in the end it was worth the title to United.
Anger permeated North London as soon as the pictures of him with that shirt next to that manager and eventually playing on that pitch for that badge in front of those fans. Many are still angry and it would take a heart of stone not to allow them that. It’s their pain; their shame and they need to own it.
The depression continued throughout this season – another disappointing term for Arsenal as the club slid further and further out of view, their hopes and dreams came crashing down until eventually, their only remaining hope is that they make the top four.
Van Persie’s return to the Emirates this weekend may turn out to be good for the Gunners’ faithful who will finally comes to terms with their loss and accept that he is now the opposition.
The way he did it and the pain it caused is now irrelevant and Arsenal need the 3 points. This isn’t about him anymore - he’s moved on and they need to do the same.
Does he deserve their respect for his 8 years service to the club? Not really – he disrespected the club leaving the way he did and broke the trust and faith of the manager who was so influential in his development.
He deserves no more respect than any other opponent – now he’s just somebody that they used to know.
Last year he was gonna be the one that saved them, but now the fire in their heart is out and they’ll never throw it back to him. By now he should have somehow realized what he’s not to do. Of course, there are many things that they would like to say to him but they don’t know how.
I don’t believe that anybody feels the way Arsenal fans do about Robin van Persie, now. And after all, he’s their wonderwall.