The day many an Arsenal fan has been dreading since the fixture list was announced has finally come; it is time to welcome Robin Van Persie back to The Emirates. As many feared from the moment they set eyes on an April date for this fixture they will also have to welcome him back as a league champion; an accolade that eluded him while in North London.
With that will of course come some bitterness but Arsene Wenger has been a true gentleman about the matter. He is insistent that his players will line-up and form the guard of honour United deserve; and has implored his fans to show respect to their rivals and former captain.
That of course will be hard and many Arsenal fans have reportedly decided they will boycott the guard of honour by turning their back on the moment.
But will that really happen?
Am I being naïve to think that football can genuinely be better than that? Before I am virtually hung out to dry I know how it feels to watch a big name leave your club for pastures new.
When Andrei Kanchelskis left Everton for Fiorentina I was in bits; the same when Big Duncan Ferguson agreed a transfer to Newcastle United. When Wayne Rooney went to Manchester United the feeling was much of the same. I have no doubt I will be feeling that sensation once again this summer when the inevitable departure of Maraoune Fellaini finally comes to pass.
But if you are to be objective the RVP move now truly makes sense.
If you worked for a company that was not doing so well and were offered the same role at another company that was performing much better and was going to pay you better for the privilege; you would take it wouldn’t you?
It is hard to take. The misty eyed romantic will tell you that football is about more than just trophies and money. The fans, the love of the club. They will cite examples like Matt Le Tissier and Francesco Totti. But these are dinosaurs in our modern world.
Van Persie wanted a league title and he did not think that would happen with Arsenal. He instead moved elsewhere and got what he wanted.
Surely a ‘fair play Robin’ is necessary from now on?
So Arsenal fans who are considering turning your backs just put yourself in RVP’s shoes.
What would you have done?
Do you think RVP deserves respect at The Emirates on Sunday?
image: © cactusbeetroot