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An Open Letter to Danny Welbeck

Arsenal made their way past Manchester United in the FA Cup last week thanks to a goal from the latter’s home grown hero, Danny Welbeck. Rwiddhi Chakraborty talks from the heart as a United fan, and addresses Welbeck’s goal celebration against his former team.

Dear Danny,

Suffice it to say, I’m disappointed. We’re all disappointed. You do know about the special bond that ties the Stretford End to a true Mancunian. You are one. No matter how redeemed you felt after a modest tap in from 5 yards out in a place which is essentially your home, you will remain a Mancunian at heart.

There are lots of pictures of you celebrating that night—one caught my eye very singularly. You were raising your hands and exulting in front of a stunned Stretford End. I also happened to look at the fans. They had been shocked to silence. Not one of them gesticulated. Even if one or two did, in perspective of the thousands present at the Mecca of Old Trafford, these one or two faded away into insignificance. By and large, the supporters couldn’t believe what they were seeing. They were seeing a young player, essentially their player, celebrating so wildly after scoring the obvious winner.Danny Welbeck

I’m taking nothing away from Arsenal’s performance in the FA Cup quarter final. They were excellent, and they deserved to win. Januzaj embarrassed the home support with his histrionics, something which is intolerable at Old Trafford. Ashley Young used to do it, and got reprimanded by the home fans. But Young is experienced. Januzaj is a potential talent, and unapologetically young. Even our very own Ronnie used to dive, until Sir Alex put an end to it. Ronaldo’s antics have somewhat restarted at Los Blancos, but they stopped completely at Old Trafford after a point in time. Yes, Arsenal deserved to go through.

But what of your actions? I don’t see any statement from you or your agent which in any way tries to justify them.

I may come across as a sentimental loser, but you’ve got to understand, Manchester United fans are different. We do NOT boo our own players. David Beckham, loved by everyone, left in the most notorious of circumstances. He returned with AC Milan, and was still given a hero’s welcome. We do NOT forget our players who’ve performed with their heart and soul. Beckham still has a soft corner for United, and it is entirely because of the magnificent fans, who were never hostile to him on his return, albeit history predicting them to be.

Ronaldo was so overwhelmed on his return, he forgot his playing boots. He later stated that he’d gotten too emotional. He was average on the night the Turkish referee decided to go insane. Yet, he scored the winner in a tie which could have gone anybody’s way. This was the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions’ League, and Ronaldo refused to celebrate.

There lies the difference, Danny. Both of you scored the winning goal. One of you forgot what you stood for. The other was Ronaldo. Ironically, he’s not even Mancunian; we got him from Lisbon. But fortunately, men are defined by their actions. Ronaldo will always be a son of Manchester. I have grave doubts about you, Danny.

You are a professional footballer. You needed to understand the fact that you weren’t fitting into the team. There was already a jostling going on in the final third. There was Mata, Rooney, Van Persie, Falcao, all vying for the same positions. There was no place for you.

You were sold with the view of getting more first team action, which you are. There is no space for you to feel hard done by events. You’re getting to play more often. Isn’t that the most important part of being a football player? Or is it about warming the bench?

Around the world, you will not find a single club whose fans don’t boo players who once played for them. Except United.

You knew we weren’t going to say a thing. Yet, you went ahead with it.

Redemption is justified as long as it’s on the right side of morality.

I do not need to tell you on which side you happened to be.

The very best of luck for your Arsenal career,

Best wishes,

A Manchester United fan

Written by Rwiddhi Chakraborty

Rwiddhi Chakraborty
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