There was one very brief, but very poignant moment yesterday at The Emirates. After heading towards the away fans to applaud them the ex-Arsenal striker turned awkwardly towards a section of Arsenal fans and continued to clap. But with his ears ringing with boos the Dutchman realised that no one in the home section of the stadium was going to appreciate his gesture and he headed off down the tunnel.
I must admit I had very mixed feelings about RVP’s return. I knew it was going to hurt, but I wasn’t quite sure how much. Fortunately I missed the shenanigans at the start of the game, but I am told that it passed off without too much of an incident. And while seeing the fella tearing down on our defence wearing that horrible white shirt was an awful sight, I really couldn’t bring myself to add my voice to the pantomime booers.
I think I had moved on a lot more than I had previously thought.
As for RVP I don’t think that anyone can deny that he still has a real affection for the club. Heading for the wrong dressing room and hanging out with his old team mates afterwards said it all yesterday.
The sad part is that it is also clear that after yesterday RVP really wants Arsenal fans to still love him.
Today Patrice Evra has confirmed that RVP was hurt by the boos that greeted his every touch of the ball.
But then again, what did he expect…
So will Arsenal fans ever forgive RVP? I do wonder if the bitterness will start to subside a little. I think much of what we feel about him is fueled by the fact that he has been so successful at United. Next season won’t be the same. His lack of form in recent weeks shows that he is unlikely to be the exceptional player that he was at the end of his Arsenal carer and his start at United for much longer.
Maybe, and it is a big maybe, if Arsenal seriously compete for the tile next year and even finish above United things will start to look different.
So even though the manner in which he left Arsenal was pretty low and the fact that he went to one of our deadliest rivals, I wonder if in the long run RVP might be hailed once again as an Arsenal hero.
Time will tell…