And that was how Manchester United football club became champions of the 2012/2013 season of the English Premier League, better known as the EPL. Usually known as slow starters when the season begins, it was not a big deal that Man U (it’s easier to call them that) again started the 2012/2013 football season on a faltering start and the purchase of a brand new player poached from a rival club, Arsenal Football Club. That player is called Robin Van Pesie. He had spent years at Arsenal and he even went on to becoming the captain. But in all his 8 years at Arsenal, he had virtually ‘nothing’ to show for it apart from the experience, heartbreak, a sense of loss and waste and most likely back pain. There were many jokes around then, about how Robin Van Persie should be treated for back ache as a result of carrying Arsenal on his shoulders for so long. Some mischievous ones even went ahead to change his name to Robin Van Arsenal, since he was almost single handedly and tirelessly pushing the club along. One can only imagine how sad he and indeed the other Arsenal players felt season after season of fruitless labour. After all, what is the ultimate goal of a game or competition, other than to win titles? It gives one a sense of fulfilment and so it is the dream of every footballer to win laurels with their club and/or country.
As the empty years rolled by for Arsenal football club, and as old and dried up tears were replaced by fresh tears, and one by one their best players including Francesc Fabregas, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Samir Nasri were sold off to other and sometimes bigger teams, it became evident as the transfer window opened yet again, that the club and its fans would once again brace themselves for another painful exit of a star player. And this time, it was Robin’s turn. His case dragged on for quite a while as Manchester United and Manchester City were in a tug of war to sign the talented ‘leftie’. In the end, the man chose to become a Red Devil! Many Arsenal fans were quick to stamp the ‘traitor’ tag on him. They forgot that he was after all a human with blood flowing in his body. They forgot that he was no robot and therefore still nursed the desire to succeed and win titles in order to be fulfilled. He had dreams because he was alive, in his prime as a footballer and had to make the best decision then before his ‘season’ slipped by. He chose Manchester United, a club with an enviable pedigree that would make some other football clubs weak in the knees; a club that has proven itself year after year and season after season.
And on that note, the 2012/2013 season began. It is important to note the ease (for lack of a better word) with which Van Persie fit into the United team. When he played for them, it was seamless. I am amazed at how he just immediately got into the business and was scoring goals like no man’s business while Fernando Torres struggled (and still does) at Chelsea. At United, Van Persie seems like an adopted son who is finally reconnected to his biological parents. He was given the jersey number 20 and with each game, he continued to give his best. With each game, and with United suddenly finding their form later in the season, it became evident that they were going to be the eventual winners. And so it happened on the 22nd of April 2013, that Manchester United were confirmed winners of the EPL title, after beating Aston Villa 3-0 at Old Trafford. For Van Persie, he had a date with destiny and he proved to himself, his family, fans and Arsenal FC (especially) that he made the right decision. His jersey number 20 laid more emphasis on the fact that the club had just won their 20th title. What made it more special for the Dutch dude was the fact that he scored all three goals. It was indeed an emotional night for the player who was ever so humble when interviewed after the game; never showing pride as per his hat trick of goals on the night. Van Persie used to be my favourite Arsenal player and after hearing his post-match comments, I had a renewed love and respect for him. After waiting all those years for that title…any title at all, he finally got it and in breath-taking fashion.
I choose to look beyond the football angle in this matter. Robin Van Persie has taught us something, which is that: we should never be tired of TRYING and sometimes trying new approaches to achieving our goals if the status quo wasn’t changing. He tried and gave his all at Arsenal but it didn’t give him what he desired. I’m sure he must have battled with himself about the ‘rightness’ of switching to a rival team. He must have sought advice from his wife and other family members, friends, colleagues and so on. But in the end, he did what he felt was the right thing. If he had accepted his fate at Arsenal, he wouldn’t have been able to lay claim to the title today. But he chose to rise up, examine his situation, weigh the pros and cons of signing for United and today he has been rewarded.
I can only imagine how bad the Arsenal lads are feeling. Each one I guess should be weighing his options, trying to picture which other clubs would want their services. I feel for them because they would reason that most of the players that have left the club have gone on to win titles and medals with their new clubs. Fabregas has won the European Champions League, Kolo Toure and Samir Nasri won the EPL last year, amongst others. I’m sorry but I just had a mental picture of the players crying themselves to sleep and wishing they didn’t have to play United in their next game. LOOL…*coughs*… I’m sorry. Ehyaaa. I’m a Chelsea FC fan and I’m not saying we had a great season either, but in the overall scheme of things, Arsenal are sure going to receive the bulk of pity and quite a number of ‘shaking of heads’ for letting Van Persie go to Manchester United. Hmmm in any case, it’s still a game!
Congratulations Manchester United, you are worthy champions! Congratulations Robin Van Persie, you are indeed world class and have ultimately been vindicated!!! #Respect.