I won’t win any prizes for stating human beings are fickle.
It’s a well known fact and sport fans are probably the worst of the worst when it comes to this.
We are willing to overlook and forgive things we wouldn’t normally when it comes to our heroes, we will big them up and laud their achievements over rivals but the second they become of no use to us, we forget them.
How many times have you seen fans put a player out to pasture because he is no longer good enough? The same player who’s name was sang with vim by thousands a year or 2 ago?
Robin van Persie is a perfect example of this.
Undeniably the star of Manchester United’s 20th title win, Van Persie’s goals (and decision to leave Arsenal to make Old Trafford home) made him a hero.
Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and famously Man City were all put to the sword by the Dutchman in his first season as he finally claimed that Premier League medal he so badly coveted, but the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson the following summer, the arrival of David Moyes and a return of the injuries that plagued his time at Arsenal, saw a man that was wearing the crown at Old Trafford put well into the shade.
The arrival of Louis Van Gaal lead many to believe we would see the old Robin Van Persie return after a somewhat successful World Cup campaign, but still the striker has struggled.
In what has been a frustrating season, with United playing plodding, boring football, Van Persie has come under fire.
Wasteful in front of goal, things that were instinctive previously now look laboured. Where he would lethally finish a chance, the unsure Van Persie requires a touch or 2 before shooting and it is all to United’s detriment.
Having been out injured before United’s game with Swansea many groaned when it was revealed that he would be fit enough to play. He did himself no favours with his performance, as again he failed to find the back of the net, spurning a plethora of chances and finally to cap it off, he appeared to injury himself, leaving the Liberty Stadium on crutches and with his right ankle encased in a protective boot.
This is where things got nasty.
Having attempted 7 shots in the defeat to Swansea, it’s understandable that people would be annoyed at Van Persie. His was profligacy in front of goal has been a major problem (along with Falcao’s) but I must admit I was shocked to see the reaction to his injury that followed.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 21, 2015
If you read the responses to this tweet from the club’s official twitter account you wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that they were tweeting about a rival player (equally deplorable).
Van Persie has been bad for the past 18 months, but at no point did I imagine that our fans would react like this and it is endemic of the spoilt and ungrateful nature of fans these days. I wouldn’t wish or celebrate an injury to a rival player let alone one of our own.
The way he was held in adulation as United romped to the title 2 seasons ago was no guarantee that he wouldn’t one day fall foul of his own fans, but as bad as he has been I am certain that he would have never expected such a response, going from fan favourite to fallen hero.
You can put it down to the ‘plastics’ or the notorious ‘twitter armchair fan’ but regardless of who it was voicing these opinions, it reflects badly on us as club.
As an aside there are a number of factors as to why Van Persie is struggling, with age and previous injuries having a role. Van Gaal has done him no favours, pairing him with the almost identical Falcao too, but ultimately the buck stops with him.
I strongly believe there is no place for sentiment in football. I sang Van Persie’s name as loud as anyone when he was scoring goals and groan as loud as anyone as he squanders chance after chance. I currently feel he isn’t up to the job right now and shouldn’t be in the team so as was tweeted to us, this could be a blessing in disguise.
Sentiment and previously relying on players who perhaps weren’t quite up to scratch is what is harming United now. But in the same breath a touch of class wouldn’t go amiss.