For some it seemed more important than the match. Samir Nasri, Arsenal fans’ arch-nemesis, was returning to the Emirates for the first time (in the league) since his contentious move to Manchester City last summer.
Ever since that move, he has been the devil incarnate. He only moved for the money, you see? Arsenal fans cannot contemplate a player leaving their team to try and better themselves – no, he was just a mercenary. What’s more, after leaving, he said some nasty things too. Footballers eh? They just don’t care. They don’t get “it”.
Arsenal fans will claim that they worshipped the player and he paid them back by leaving. They will argue that the club made him the player he was, and look at how he repaid them. Of course others will contradict these views by claiming he was only good for half a season anyway (so surely they’d be glad at getting a good price for him?), and have spent the past year laughing at every match spent on the bench or under-par performance (again, he has played a large amount of matches, but let’s not allow facts to cloud a concerted campaign). Besides, as the odious Piers Morgan was keen to point out at the weekend, overjoyed at Arsenal moving towards ten points of City, Arteta is a better player than Nasri will ever be anyway. Which again begs the question – why are you bothered about him leaving anyway? But as Nasri was today announced as City’s March Player Of The Month, perhaps we shouldn’t believe everything we read.
Arsenal didn’t “make” Nasri. He was an established player at Marseille, and a French international. They didn’t buy him as an act of charity, to help him, they did it to improve their side, which he did, then got a very healthy profit when he moved on. Was he a mercenary for leaving Marseille, or do morals only count when it’s your team being let down?
The fact is, Nasri wanted to move on. If not to City, then somewhere else. It’s a job, and he wanted out, as he didn’t see a successful future for the club. He might be proved wrong, but as many Arsenal fans wanted Arsene Wenger out only a few months ago, you can see where he was coming from. It’s no different to Piers Morgan fleeing disgraced across the Atlantic for more cash (the cheerleader for the Wenger Out movement and chief bully of Nasri on Twitter), and I would leave my civil service job before you could say gold-plated pension if a better offer came along.
Carlos Tevez wanted to leave Manchester City too. He still does I would imagine. Fine. He is allowed to have this view, without becoming Satan himself in human form. Changing his story more often than a Murdoch at the Leveson enquiry and refusing to play are less agreeable of course, but I’d never spend a year of my life crying behind a keyboard because a player wanted to leave, or deluding myself that he’ll win fewer trophies at his new club. It might be a disaster for him, it might be the best thing he ever does.
The other accusation is that Nasri made some nasty comments after leaving north London. Apart from the obligatory “my new club is great and the fans are passionate” line, saying the Arsenal crowd was quiet probably wasn’t the best idea, but then as many Arsenal fans have made the same point, then what’s the problem? Other quotes attributed to him seem to be fabricated, not appearing in the original French interview (as pointed out by the Daily Mirror journalist Annie Eaves, who checked), so as usual a footballer is damned by more lies spread around the internet.
But let’s cut to the chase. What this really boils down to though is Arsenal fans’ hatred of City’s oil-funded wealth, the wealth that has put over £75m into their coffers. Better a system of income off fans through high ticket prices and the riches of Champions League qualification. The fans’ hatred of City has been channelled into one player, and he is taking the brunt.
Still, we love to boo players. Even Gael Clichy, who left the Emirates on good terms, was booed on Sunday, as was Jose Enrique recently when he returned to St James’ Park (or whatever it’s called). Players just aren’t allowed to leave a club, unless the manager demands it or the fans are happy with it. Otherwise, the player is a mercenary and a Judas.
The playground heckling has reached the stage of Samir Nasri and Piers Morgan betting £10,000 on which side picks up another trophy first. It’s all rather pathetic from grown men – Nasri made a move that he thought would benefit his career. He may be proved wrong (he wouldn’t be the first or the last), but that was his decision. It’s about time everyone moved on before embarrassing themselves any more.