Was RVP right to celebrate?

My family is split in half. My brother and mother support Arsenal, my father and I Manchester United.

My sister, a floating voter in her formative years, tended to cheer on whoever David Beckham played for at the time. Our house was a volatile region during the 1990s.

So I would like to stress from the outset that, as the old saying goes, not only are some of my best friends card-carrying Gooners – a large section of my family are too.

Football needs its pantomime heroes and villains, and Robin van Persie provides a convenient hate-figure for the majority of Arsenal’s fans.

On Sunday, predictably, he was subject to boos from the off. The away fans are completely entitled to vent spleen and their former talisman seemed an opportune target.

The Dutchman won the game for the home side, ensuring he has now scored on all three occasions in which he has faced his former employers. Last season, presumably out of respect for Arsene Wenger and those who aided his development, his reaction to scoring was muted.

This time, things were different.

Perhaps it was the frustration of joining United under Sir Alex Ferguson and ending up with David Moyes, maybe it was down to the club’s relative positions in the table. Possibly he had just had enough of the abuse. All that is certain is that van Persie celebrated wildly when his header found the target. And it felt like exactly the right thing to do.

Many a modern footballer will claim they refuse to celebrate against their old club out of respect, but if they were so concerned about that then they wouldn’t leave in the first place, would they?

If a player is in a frame of mind where he’s trained all week in the hope of scoring then it’s entirely disingenuous not to enjoy the moment. To remain impassive is an affectation, like Jean Tigana and his ridiculous toothpick.

Is anyone genuinely outraged by a player enjoying scoring a goal? The Arsenal fans will have been disappointed with the result and the scorer but it’s hard to imagine many lost sleep last night because the man responsible followed it up by sliding on his knees in front of the Old Trafford faithful.

And it’s not as if he did the full Emmanuel Adebayor running the full length of the pitch to give it the big ‘un in front of the away support.

Surely it’s time players dropped this phoney show of respect and let the celebrations flow.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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