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Was Van Persie wrong to celebrate after Arsenal goal?

RVP-2Robin van Persie gave the best years of his career to Arsenal, his boyhood club, but even when he was the Premier League’s top scorer, winner of the PFA and Football Writer of the Year awards, he had no medal to show for it.

The only trophy he won in his time with the North London club was the FA Cup at the end of his first season when he came on as a sub when United were robbed at Cardiff. Van Persie was just 21-years-old then and probably expected this medal to be the first of many but, after spending a further seven seasons at the club, won nothing else.

As a 29-year-old and with just one year remaining on his contract, Van Persie knew that it was time to leave. He didn’t have many years of his career remaining and couldn’t take the risk of never winning the title. Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus were the clubs interested in signing him and thankfully for us, the Dutchman had his heart set on a move to United.

When asked why he chose United over rivals City, who undoubtedly would have paid him a larger salary, Van Persie claimed it was an easy decision.

“It is always quite difficult to find a perfect match but I do feel that this is perfect for me,” he said. “Manchester United breathe football and if you look at all the players, the stadium and the manager, my choice was made very soon in my mind if you were basing it on those two clubs. I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations – when you have to make the harder decisions in life. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United.”

So that was that, Van Persie was a United player, and started the season wearing the ’20′ shirt. “I took the No.20 shirt because I’m here to win a 20th title with United,” he explained.

Van Persie won the title at the end of his first season and yet again was the league’s top scorer. He contributed massively to our success as United cruised to their 20th title.

Along the way, he played against his former club twice and scored in both games. The first came at Old Trafford and put United 1-0 up in the third minute. The second came on his return to the Emirates, as a champion, and he was given a guard of honour by his former team mates when he walked out on to the pitch. After Arsenal took the lead, Sagna brought Van Persie down in the box just before half-time and the Dutchman calmly dispatched the resulting penalty.

For both goals, Van Persie refused to celebrate, showing respect for the fans of his former club. Being honest, I’m not a massive fan of the non-celebration. Whilst honouring your former fans you are doing your current ones a disservice by showing no emotion.

Still, a player’s decision to celebrate or not should be dictated by their relationship with the fans of their previous club. For example, I would fully expect Carlos Tevez to celebrate a goal against us, as much as it would piss me off, but I would be surprised if Cristiano Ronaldo did.

In the three games Van Persie has played against Arsenal since joining United they’ve booed his every touch and sung about him being a cunt/rapist all game. In his first season as a United player he still was courteous towards them, holding his hands up with an expressionless face, but in today’s game he celebrated properly. It was a huge goal for us, which sealed three points against the league leaders, and it’s no surprise he was happy about scoring.

When I got in to the car after the game the big debate on one of the football call ins was questioning whether Van Persie was in the wrong for celebrating.

Even if you are of the opinion that players shouldn’t celebrate against their former club, there surely can’t be any denying that the player is fully entitled to when on the receiving end of the bile Van Persie is from Arsenal fans. That’s not a criticism of them either. I completely understand why they hate him and take no issue with them giving him shit. But if they are going to give him shit, they should be prepared for him to celebrate like any other United player would after scoring against them.

That’s three goals in three games against his former club now. Not sure whether Arsene Wenger should refer to Van Persie as an “Arsenal man” anymore.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Of course Mirror a.k.a the Liverpool Daily News want to make something out of nothing. It CLEARLY was a figure of speech and was not meant to be a shot at Rooney. Why would he take a shot at the man he has helped revive? It makes no sense. He clearly means partner in crime and not someone who is less important than Van Persie. They are equally as important as each other. Sheesh. Why can’t we just enjoy this win without any issues for once?

  2. Nesh says:

    Arsenal Bench is fuckin way they are winning the title with a squad in depth poor as that…….

  3. John says:

    @east end gooner…All the best for the rest of the season bro except when we face each other…tbh, I don’t mind seeing you lot at no. 2 in league table (instead of oil clubs) as long as we are there just a place above you!!

  4. gono says:

    Arsenal fans acted like total jerks against him. Agreed.

    But so did he by celebrating the goal in a such way. There are various milder forms of celebrations, where you can show you’re happy to have scored, but not to show disrespect against your former team. Here it almost looked like a provocation. Especially when he came on from the bench aftery the final whistle.

    Now I wish he does not qualify to European League.

  5. denton davey says:

    Samuel @ 06:53: “I’m starting to get my head around phil jones in defensive mid, whether he approves that as his best position i’m not sure but if he can display that compusure and pass efficiently, he may well be the best partner for carrick. His robust presence, drive, determination and dynamism is superb, he can be really dominant. He just seems another all round footballer, a bit like rooney, players able to slot into roles and still look excellent. ”

    We’re never too old to learn ! Reluctantly, you seem to be coming around to my side. How long before you weaken and see that shifting TheWayneBoy into midfield will work just as well – they’re both “all round footballers” and that’s what UTD need in the post-Scholes era.

  6. east end gooner says:

    @John 15:52

    Peace bro – all the best to your side too, but hope to finish 1st.

    I honestly don’t mind your lot either, but you seriously need some x factor midfielder

    There are some gooners who take things too far (and some on your side, but glad you’re not one) and I just wanted to let you know that most of us are a decent bunch.

    Best of luck to your side too, and I hope we can finish top.

  7. wayne says:

    Ahhh a bromance is starting isn’t that sweet kissie,kissie

  8. Tommy says:

    @East end gooner

    Fair enough mate, its nice to have a non united fan coming on and not being a dick so fair play, I feel Arsenal will be more of a threat next season due to your squad in terms of numbers, It must concern you that when you needed a goal you had to put on Bendtner! Next summer Wenger will no doubt bye a couple of strikers, probably Benzema because I think Suarez is Madrid bound and also Wenger will buy a couple just for the squad. Good luck for the rest of the season hope you finish above those plastic oil run clubs!!

  9. Tommy says:


    Fucking fool, RVP give Arsenal respect last season yet what happened he got death threats and rape chants! They give him no respect so he gave none back, I wish he had done an Adebayor, I would of done!

  10. rockthecasbah77 says:

    I’m an Arsenal fan and have absolutely no problem with van Persie celebrating against us. In fact I think he should have celebrated his goals last year. If he was that bothered about showing respect to Arsenal, he wouldn’t have released the statement he did before leaving.

    Anyway, well done to you on the win, a much needed one for United. You got your goal and defended really well to keep us out. But despite the loss, I have a sense of hope about Arsenal this year- we don’t feel like the nancy boys you so easily dismissed in this fixture last season. Yes, you’re right, Arsenal have some tough games coming up, but it seems like this year’s Premier League is going to be very unpredictable.

    If you had said to any Arsenal fan in August that we would have gone into the November international break 2 points clear at the top, we’d have laughed at you and then snapped your hand off. So, Sunday was opportunity missed for sure, but it’s not the end of the world for us either.

  11. rockthecasbah77 says:

    Just a point though, it’s a bit rich to hear you all complaining about chants aimed at van Persie when that song about Arsene Wenger could clearly be heard on Sunday.

  12. DreadedRed says:

    Kushagra – that’s right, RVP was lying to you. He never fucking loved you. In fact he despised the lot of you, who can blame him? He was always going to leave you. He was just stringing you along, laughing at you every time you declared your love. He knew you were all a bunch cunts. He has been eying a transfer to United from since he was a little boy, again who can blame him? He knew that if he could get it together for a season at arsenal, that would open Fergie’s door. Got to admire him for sticking at it so long. Must have been fucking frustrating playing for a club with no balls; a team with no backbone; and a manager with no clue – but he stuck at his guns. He played through the barren years in North London until finally clicking into top gear … and VOILA! Fergie’s door opened.

    A young boy’s dream fulfilled.

    Now Kushagra, listen to the little boy inside you. He’s telling you that Uncle Arsene ain’t never gonna stop fucking you up the arse. This hell is your life. There’s no horse-backed Hero on the horizon coming to save your ass.

  13. Tommy says:


    haha mate quality that should shut the goons up

  14. DreadedRed says:

    Tommy, I pity the poor bastards bound and shagged season after season by an aging father-figure with a myopic predilection for youth and beauty, seemingly blinded to quality and results.

    They can’t even shoot their own brains out. The moment they stick the gun-barrel up their arse they remember Uncle Arsene fondly. It’s a catch-22 where the only outcome is a right rogering for the foreseeable future.

  15. Big Vex says:

    After what they chant about his family and being a rapist… I would of celebrated too.

  16. zibbie says:

    LOL Kato!!!! Awesome!!!!!!!!

  17. Gooner RED says:

    Mine will be an unpopular opinion but here I go anyway…

    I wasn’t impressed with RVP’s celebration on Sunday. It was disrespectful and ott. However given all that I think he should have the ri

  18. Gooner RED says:

    …he should have the right to celebrate how he likes. In real terms he scored what turned out to be the match winner against the league leaders- of course he should be ecstatic right? And I’m sure given the dogs abuse he recieved from the away support I guess on a human level he felt as if he had stuffed the chants back the other way. I think what we must remember here is that all the vitriol aimed his way from us is such because we made him, stuck by him and supported him throughout his lean years. His injuries had become tiresome and there was talk of offloading him, but fans backed him and believed in his quality- now to a lot of us him choosing you guys over our support smacks of ingratitude. Sometimes if someone hurts you the natural reaction is to hurt them back, be that through words (or in extreme cases) actions. I’m gonna sound real sensitive and bitter here but some gooners are genuinely hurt by RVP – he’s a top player who (had he stayed) would’ve been the spear head behind a decent title challenge. However most gooners feel that he left us in the lurch ( along with all our other star players haha). His talk about ‘the little boy’ wanting to go to utd had already been proven as a lie given the pictures of him as boy in his bedroom wearing the arsenal shirt with arsenal posters adorning his walls. He should have just been man enough from the beginning of the season and said he wanted to leave for utd. I for one wouldn’t have had a problem with him. Hard to respect a man who’s words don’t reflect his actions.

    Anyway all the above is beside the point and just sentimental stuff. Fact of the matter is he’s a utd player now, he should be able to celebrate how he likes and we gooners will just have to swallow it plain and simple. We have to move on and personally until we win something ( yeah yeah 8 years no trophy blah blah- thought I’d get that out the way before you guys predictably mention it) I can’t see gooners ever really forgiving RVP not that it matters to him anyway.

    Anyhow I’d like to wish you the best for the season, but I’d be lying if I said that + I work with a bunch of utd fans who are making my life hell after Sunday so I’m not really receptive to anything utd based.right now -I know what you’re thinking utd fans in London? Shocking!

    All the best, c’mon you gooners

  19. Gooner RED says:

    …and just a reminder to some of you with short term memories, I seem to remember Paul Ince receiving dogs abuse by your fans when he came back to Old Trafford and also when he played for Liverpool.

    Double standard perhaps?

    Also that chants to Wenger every time we come to OT of ‘ sit down you pedophile’ is that as bad/worse as the vile chants aimed at RVP?

    respect is a two way street gents. Just sayin’

  20. Tommy says:


    “respect is a two way street gents. Just saying” Spot on mate, thats why RVP showed your lot none!

  21. jacob says:

    robin was right to celebrate because he showed wenger he is a man utd boy


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