On Saturday, Robin van Persie reminded us that legends still exist
Written by Jeff Patterson on September 26, 2011 9:00
Sometimes it’s easy to forget heroes still exist. It’s so easy to look at Arsenal’s struggles this season and dwell on the mistakes and missed opportunities. Easy to put idols from the past on pedestals, and compare every current player to an ideal that they can’t possibly hope to achieve.
On Saturday, Robin van Persie reminded us that there are legends still among us. By notching his 99th and 100th goals for the club, the Dutch Gunner joined the likes of legends like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Frank Stapleton and Alan Smith as one of Arsenal’s most prolific strikers in the club’s 125-year history.
There are only 17 members of the “Century Club.” Seventeen players in One-and-a-Quarter centuries of existence. In this Anniversary season, with “Forward” being the new motto on the crest, and ironically many concerns about the way “forward” (pardon the pun) for the club, what a stark reminder of our past.
To me, it was a reminder that just how tremendous this club is, and how stunningly successful they have been, not just in the last 10 years, or the last 20 years, but FOREVER. With the exception of the 1960’s, Arsenal have won the League at least once every decade since the 1930’s. In our entire history in the top flight, we’ve only finished below fourteenth SEVEN TIMES! And it’s a long running history, since the club has been in the top flight since 1919.
Robin’s achievement did more than just remind us of our club’s greatness. It also showed that in this current era where money talks, and loyalty has been replaced by “The Golden Rule” (he who has the gold, makes the rules), a player can stay loyal. Scoring 100 goals for one club doesn’t just take skill, it takes commitment and loyalty to the club you are with.
van Persie has watched others around him pick up and move on to other clubs, looking for more money, or a better opportunity, but RVP has always proclaimed that Arsenal will be the only club he plays for until his declining years, when he would like to return to his boyhood club Excelsior.
The scary part for me is thinking about how much faster he would have reached this milestone if injuries hadn’t plagued his career. The 238 appearances he’s made for the club have been intertwined with injury layoffs, and I wonder how many more he would have bagged if he hadn’t spent so much time recovering and regaining form.
I hope that the rest of the club can feed off of this moment. Every single player on this team should look at Van Persie’s achievement and aspire to reach something similar. This is what it means to be an Arsenal legend. Hopefully the club can build off of their good result, and be inspired by their great captain.
Hopefully, this team finally ready to move “Forward”.