Scoring Against Your Old Club

It’s happened to all of us hasn’t it?

Your club’s mercurial striker is sold and goes on to score against you. There’s nothing worse.

That is why it was good to see Robin Van Persie’s muted celebrations against Arsenal as he scored the opening goal for his new club Manchester United in their fixture on Saturday.

Out of respect for his former employer he chose not to celebrate the third minute strike, a trademark first time finish from the edge of the box following a mistake by Thomas Vermaelen.

Van Persie spent 8 years at Arsenal so celebrating his goal against them yesterday would have seemed like a real kick in the teeth for many Gunners fans.

Many would have forgiven him for refusing to sign a new contact and opting for Manchester United following the sale of so many of Arsenals top level players.

It shows how the North London club have fallen from grace that they would even consider selling their star asset to a Premier League rival.

The sale of Van Persie has done little to shake the suggestion that Arsenal have become little more than a selling club, a finishing school for talented young players who go on to become stars with other clubs.

But it was refreshing to see Van Persie not celebrate his goal, a stark contrast to Emmanuel Adebayor following his transfer to Manchester City in 2009.

After scoring Adebayor ran the full length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the visiting Arsenal fans; and was welcomed by a barrage of coins, lighters and even a seat that one fan decided to throw at their former striker.

Quite rightly, Adebayor was hit with a 2 game ban and a £25,000 fine for his actions. The ban was later increased to 3 games after footage revealed he deliberately stamped on Robin Van Persie.

All this added to the fact that Adebayor now plays for Tottenham, mean the Togolese hit-man may not be welcomed with open arms in the red half of North London anytime soon.

Talk about burning bridges!

Recently football has been on the receiving end of some extremely bad press following a number of racism allegations.

But little things like choosing not to celebrate against your old club demonstrate that football does still have a heart, and it’s not all about diving and racism and swearing and cheating.

Despite what newspapers and websites may be reporting football isn’t inherently bad, it’s just becoming harder and harder to spot its good points.

Robert Lock

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