An open letter to @Persie_Official

Dear Robin van Persie,

On July 4th 1776, the Continental Congress of the United States of America took pen to paper and wrote an open letter to King George. This letter was critical of the King’s managerial skills, his human right’s record, his anti-immigration policy, and most famously his fiscal policy. It is, perhaps, the most famous open letter in the history of the human race and contains a sentence which became the rallying cry of the oppressed in every nation of the world:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Meanwhile, on July 4th 2012, you wrote an open letter “to the fans” which, to be fair, was less a rallying cry of the oppressed and more a seamy advertisement for services posted in a phone booth.

First, I am one of those fans to which this letter was addressed so thank you for taking time to think about me and my feelings in this matter. I’ve been a fan of yours since 2006 when you were subbed on for Alex Hleb in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Charlton at Highbury. I remember that 2006 was a tough year for you, because you kept picking up little injuries which kept you out of the starting lineup and, in fact, that Charlton match was your re-introduction to the squad after a tough month of February. But we could all see the talent that was budding and we all hoped that Arsene and Arsenal could get the best out of you with patient tutoring from them and with hard work on your part.

I stuck with you for the next 6 years, despite the fact that constant injuries meant that you were often not available to help the team win trophies. 2007-2008 Arsenal finished just 4 points behind eventual winners Man U and that season represented Arsenal’s best chance at winning the Premier League since 2005/2006. That was the season that injury limited you to just 15 League games for Arsenal and a season where you played a full 90 minutes just twice in the League. If there was ever a year that Arsenal could have used your magical goal scoring touch, that was it. Yet still many of us stuck by you through those dark days and such as the ones between September of 2010 and January 2011 when chronic injuries meant that you played more games for the Dutch national team than you did for us Arsenal fans.

And I was there behind the goal in Liverpool to see the fruition of all those years of hard work and loyalty that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal paid to you throughout your injury riddled career. When you scored that amazing volley off that perfect chip from Alex Song, a moment of pure jubilation swept through the stands. That is a memory I will carry with me all my life and one for which I am grateful.

But as  fan, and someone who has supported you throughout your career, I have to say that your letter sounds a lot like you feel you are better than Arsenal and that means you feel like you are better than us, the fans. Talent wise there is no doubt that you are better than me with the ball. I can’t do what you do with a football. But without us fans paying for your rehab, for the hours of training, for the facility that you play in, and for the salary which ensures that you will never have a bill collector ringing you up in the middle of the night, you wouldn’t be able to do what you do with a ball either. In fact, what would you do without football and by extension, without us?

Of course, this fits a pattern in your letter — one in which you say one thing and do something different. You say that you met with the boss and Mr. Gazidis to talk about their strategy for acheiving your laudable goal of “bringing the club back to its glory days” and that you disagreed with them over their strategy which is the reason why you are quitting. I’m no great strategist but perhaps you could explain how it is you plan to acheive the goal of bringing the club back to its glory days by turning your back on that same club?

You also say that you love us, that you are grateful for all that we have given you, and that you realize that we made you into the man that you are today, but that you have to leave us because, well, you know, you’re just better than we are. “Love?” Methinks you’re using the wrong word there, my friend.  One of the lessons that I have learned as a man is that no matter how hard the relationship is, no matter how vociferous the disagreements, you don’t simply walk away from the people you truly love. It’s easy to love someone when the sun is shining but a real man is there for you through the dead of winter. If you think about it, kind of like the way that Arsene Wenger treated you. Or like the way that we all treated you this year after 7 long years of mediocrity.

It’s ok though, we get it, you don’t really love us: you love money, or some hollow notion of glory. I wouldn’t want to keep you around now that you’ve made your feelings clear because that would be me just holding on to a fantasy. I do feel bad that you have debased yourself so publicly and that you’ve sullied the memories I have of your time at Arsenal, but you’re the one who has to live with that. Your family has to live with that.

Just one last thing, if you do win a trophy somewhere else, like Chelsea or Man City or whomever offers you the most lucrative contract, remember what Alex Hleb said about the Champions League medal that he won while with Barcelona.

When you mostly sit on the bench, winning titles brings very little joy, while getting to the last eight of the Champions League with Arsenal was unforgettable.

I’ve no doubt you’ll score a few goals with your new club, but I doubt that any of them will be as unforgettable as that winner in Liverpool.




108 thoughts on “An open letter to @Persie_Official

  1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

    By the way, as far as I know, beyond a ‘Gentleman’ Agreement’ in place between the clubs, what is to stop RVP, and City (or even Robin alone) from using the Webster get out clause? Nothing. Would anyone put it past him at this point? THAT.. really.. SERIOUSLY..hurts our negotiating position. Because then, he can just pay us the equivalent amount of his annual salary, and sign for City (who will no doubt recompense him)

  2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    So…captaincy is vacant once again…

    Most would say Vermaelen should get it, and given that he’s currently one of our vice captains, I suppose that will be Wenger’s choice as well. He makes a few too many errors for my liking (you want your captain to be consistently “on”), but honestly I’m having trouble thinking of another suitable candidate. Sagna? Koscielny? Szczesny? Probably vice captains.

    I suppose if we were being strategic about it–i.e., relying on the trend that our captains leave every summer–we should make Denilson captain, then Chamakh, then Park, etc.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

      I guess you want a captain who’ll be a nailed-on first teamer, and I don’t think Verm showed enough consistency last season to be made a fixture in the starting lineup. Sagna ticks most of the boxes for me: undroppable and rock-solid in his game and temperament. But he also seems like a quieter sort of guy, can he be a vocal leader?
      Kos just doesn’t seem like captain material yet, Szsz has some growing to do, Song doesn’t seem to have the right mentality. I think Arteta would make a great captain but with the return of Wilshere he might not be a constant in the team.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1jacob

      do you honestly still want him? if bendner burned his bridge than pissed on captain vantastic has blown it up, shit on it, then used the ashes for his cats liter

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1PJ

        im just comparing somewhat similar situations. unless there is a player being sent our way back (benzema, villa, dzeko, alcantra, etc), i say to ship his ass right to Anzhi Mahchchahaakakakahchclala.

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

      Arsenal have less money to offer, have more class than to just give in, Rooney had longer left on his current contract. Not the same thing really.

  3. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    Tim this is definitely bookmarkable, ring true kinda writing. Same level as “Quotidian, quotidian”. Thank you

    To RvP: thanks for last year. Now goodbye. You will never be a DB10 or TH14

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Jonathan

    Excellent. I’ve followed him ever since Wenger brought the troubled but talented youngster from the Eredivisie over to England to sort him out. There’s quite a lot of emotional investment, and Robin’s thrown that in our faces with this dick move.

    To be clear, I can understand his disagreement with the direction of the club. Robin arguably has a couple of good years left, and with his history of injuries, it makes sense to cash in on the one good season he’s ever had and tag along somewhere else where he can lift a trophy quickly. With Man City planting its flag on the BPL, there’s no way Arsenal is more likely than City of winning the championship. It hurts to admit that, but that’s the reality of the current situation.

    In the end, if he had engineered his move away quietly and with dignity, I would have been an ever bigger fan. Alas, it just wasn’t going to be. My only hope now is that he doesn’t end up at City.

  5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1malven shumba

    well, let this rat leave and pack it’s stencch with it, too good for arsenal my ass! one season out eight and all of a sudden he is too talented to be wasted at arsenal? is he going to porto or celticwho win trophies every season? this guy is definitely going to regret this move(not leaving the club but rubbishing the club ahead of a potential move) i feel this guy hasn’t learn anything from his misfortunes. while i wish him well as a player, as a proffessional i think he has shot himself in the foot! that announcement about arsenal lacking ambition says more about RVP than it does about the club. buy aye sell him to the highest bidder and reinvest in finished products who can hit the ground running no kids for now because once they grow up they tend to look elsewhere for better chances. lets build a team for now because apparently there os no future with this class of modern day footballers future is as long as the first contract tenure.
    get a goalie ,defender and midfielder then we are fine .

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Robin Yata

    I am so disappointed that, so called top players are so disrespectful with AFC, when they are at the pick of their playing form they tend to walk away from the club. They should be so shame of!! Damn!!

    \\ Gunner for life time!!

  7. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Nik


    Well If other clubs can pay some of the Biggest Salaries in the business…. We have One of the biggest and most loyal band of suuporters. While he may get more salary Anywhere else he earns extra money via sponsorships etc because hePFA won player of the year with us , because he was big fish with us not just a small piece of a silverware winning team. I am pretty sure his Earning outside the wages are way more than a Tevez or a Yaya Toure. If he wants to earn more.. fair enough. But Lets show him the power of a huge fanbase . These Celebrities earn huge sums just by tweeting about adidas and stuff, lets just stop following the cunt… that would be a good start. And I hope if he does join city, rather than booing him we should just Ignore him… that would sting more.

  8. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Jimbo

    Very well said, Tim. You hit the nail on the head as usual.
    Extremely disappointing that van Persie has turned out like this, but we’ve come to expect it.
    What is the big deal with players about lifting trophies? Surely doing your best for a team is its own reward. What are people like him going to do with even more money? They’ve got more than they can spend in two lifetimes already.
    Whatever happened to loyalty, not to mention gratitude to someone who has nurtured you through so many injuries and helped you to develop your game?
    Wenger must get so pissed off with all these ungrateful little shits. Damn, I know I do.

  9. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Travis

    I am not a professional sportman, so can anybody explain to me : is a champion trophy really matter that much?

    I mean, look at Hleb. Champions League winner. Was he happy? Or he just recognised that winning is not that happy but the way to win is much more to enjoy? Where is he now? I dont even know.

    The same for v.Persie. If he stayed, he would be an legend of Arsenal no matter how trophy we would have. We would salute him as a legend, we would never forget him and his contribution, we would warmly welcome him any time we saw him on the stand as the most honorable guest. Now he is willing to throw all that love away for a trophy? He would move to MC and win a trophy, then what? Milions of people hate him. MC’s supporter wouldn’t love him as much as we do since they consider him as trophy hunter and only move to the club for money and trophy, not for love. At last what would he be? A football player who won Premier League? There are hundreds of them. How about “Arsenal legend”? He told us he loves the club but refused to get its most honorable title? Fuck that kind of love.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Gearoid Kelly

      Well, the man has cost himself a place on the Grove’s wall, arm in arm with legends. No amount of money can buy that.

      Will he, or any other of City’s mercenaries, be on the lips of their fans in 30 years time, when we tell tales of Bergkamp and Henry to our kids and grandkids??

  10. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1carpe duvet

    Fans need to email Arsene and the board telling them not to give an inch to these people (Pursey, David Dine, Usmoanoff) – silence and a quick sale will do. I fear if statements are rushed out then Arsenal could lose by becoming like the enemy. The enemy is hubris – a big bloated whale of ego and wounded pride trying to hold back the ocean. A quick sale to Italy or Russia for an undisclosed fee and a low-key press release saying as much.

    Remember the words of James Joyce when asked how he deals with his enemies/critics: “silence, cunning & exile”.

    Stay in Malaysia Ivan, get the sale going quick you back room staff, don’t even answer R&W’s letter. Let all the hot air come from the other side, let it heat up even – hubris left alone will devour itself and the victory with be Arsenal’s, despite the usual hideous rantings of Wenger/board-blaming ‘fans’ who hate the Arsenal way and who must be still scratching their heads at how we finished third.

    PS If Walcott kicks up a fuss, a public fuss that is, then he goes too.

  11. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1gerry

    He’ll go to City, because they’ll pay him >£200k a week and will win trophies, it ain’t rocket science. How some mug Arsenal supporters thought he wasn’t leaving I don’t know. If Wenger signs two players in one position, it means he is selling someone and the club knew it months ago! Everybody in management at Arsenal are money grabbing scum and they’ll bite Citehs hand off for 20m for Van Persie, and then old Uncle Wenger, the senile old duffer will say….’we have signed two world class forwards to replace one, for minimal outlay’.
    Arsenal football club are a complete joke, a selling club, a feeder club. One of Europes elite? What a joke, we’re as much a bunch of also rans as Liverpool and nothing is going to change until we get a manager that demands action from the board rather than sucking their ***** to earn his fortune and have no accountability for failure.

    Vermaelen is off next, followed by Jack and the football world will laugh their socks off at the worlds richest mid table club.

  12. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1gerry

    Some absolute pillock text/emailed/twittered in to ssn yesterday evening saying how people thought that we couldnt replace Bergkamp and couldnt replace henry and yet the club kept going strong and I’m thinking to myself… is it still going strong ?? :? :? We have won nothing for 7 fcuking seasons so how is that going well ? Are fans so stupid that they believe that, for a club of our stature, finishing 3rd of 4th is going well ? :oops:

    Over the past few seasons we have lost henry, cesc, nasri and now rvp (this summer or next) and all due to a total lack of ambition in the club and that is unacceptable imo :evil: Talking the talk about ambitions is all well and good but you have to back that up with actions and the majority of us have recognised for a long time that isnt on the clubs agenda :cry: What message is that sending out to potential transfer targets ? The less established one’s would probably still be inclined to come and they would view us as a stepping stone to a bigger club but the experienced quality proven players will not come to our club with fcuk all hope or ambitions to win trophies – if a club isnt offering you the possibility of competing at the top level and are average payers as well then why would you sign for them ? :roll: What kind of message is it sending to our better players ? Sagna (in particular), tv5, mertesacker and to a lesser extend wilshire will surely be questioning their futures now and I would guess that podolski and giroud will be going through the fine print of their contracts at the mo to see if there is a loophole allowing them to back out of joining us :cry: :cry:

    Looking at the bigger picture, it’s worrying (to say the least!) that we have now become a selling club that seems incapable of holding onto its best players. We are now in the habit of selling those best players; Cuntley, Henry, Vieira, Petit, Fabregas. We most probably will sell RVP (our Board will want the money to buy some more flats :roll: ) and when his quality replacement comes along we will most probably sell him too.

    We simply cannot win the PL or the CL without a core of top quality players. Either way, selling RVP or letting him leave on a free sends out a terrible message to all players, current or prospective; it says “we have no real ambition to compete with Manure, Citeh or the Barcawhores, we are second tier”. :(

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Mach

    This post just opened the floodgates for me; I wasn’t even that emotional when reading the hullabaloo statement from rvp. I believe th e points/reality/emotional connections which you have expressed so eloquently Tim, is really what saddens us, the fans. Thanks, now I will continue my crying and get over it… eventually…

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mach

      Ok, I’m definately over it. Bring on the new season! Players may come and players will flock to the $$$, but there can only be one Arsenal and Arsene. Amen.

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