Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and now Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, what do they all have in common apart from playing for Arsenal? They’re all now generally hated by Arsenal fans.
Over the past decade, as Arsenal fans we’ve seen many players come and go, some more memorable than others, however, rather than celebrate those who were more memorable during their time in N5, the majority choose to completely cast them aside once they’ve gone.
Yes, it’s not just Arsenal where this happens with Fabian Delph’s move to Manchester City in 2015 not going down well with Aston Villa fans, after he released a video about loyalty days earlier. But it has been a more frequent occurrence among Arsenal fans, particularly when we were still in “the banter era” paying off our stadium debt which is what part one will focus on.
During this time, which was also signified by our nine year trophy drought, despite being under those financial restraints we managed to find ourselves the odd gem or two, some of which arriving before the move to The Emirates.
This group of players, as well as the club itself, would flirt with the idea of being one of elite level clubs in the country at the time, reaching a Champions League semi-final in the process but would often have to settle for 3rd or 4th best.
Understandably, for some of these players, just flirting with being on the elite level wasn’t enough so they moved on to teams who could offer them that as well as a healthy pay rise. Players like Adebayor, van Persie and Samir Nasri spring to mind when this topic comes up, but are we right to judge their decisions to push their careers forward.
Of course, not all of these cases are the same though. After coming of the back of a 30 goal season, Emmanuel Adebayor tried to get a move for a year before settling for a Manchester City side that was weaker than ours at the time. After his move he’d only have one season of regular football at City before loan spells at Real Madrid and Spurs and see him out of Manchester by the time they’d won the league.
However, the majority of this crop seemed to get what they wanted from their moves, success. Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas all won league titles immediately after leaving North London in the summers of 2011 and 2012.
With that in mind, does that really give us the right to hate everything about them once they’re gone seeing that they’ve backed up their reason for moving on?
Yes, as players begin to make a name for themselves at your club you start to become attached to some, like the Fabregas’, Nasri’s and van Persie’s but for most of us, we’ve loved this club for longer than we can remember and that just isn’t the case for most players.
For us, football is how we’ve escape from the strains and pressure of everyday life for God knows how long, but for most footballers, especially players playing for clubs they don’t support, this is just a job.
In the ‘normal’ world somebody being offered a pay rise at a bigger company after years of dedication and perfecting their trade would be seen as a massive accomplishment, but in the football world it’s seen as a massive injustice to everyone at the club.
Of course, there are times when this is true like in Adebayor’s case but a lot of the time is just a result of players being ready for the next stage of their careers. How else can you explain the player’s above being whisked off to collect their league winners’ medals after they had their best seasons in an Arsenal shirt. For them, that shows that they made the right choice at the right time for their personal careers which most likely they started while they were still in school. So is there any worth in hurling abuse at them when they go on and achieve what they’ve set out to do from when they stepped into this field?