On Marko Arnautovic…

My desert Island, all time, top five most memorable split ups, in order of painfulness

 

  1. Dimitri Payet
  2. Scott Parker
  3. Joe Cole
  4. Rio Ferdinand
  5. Tony Cottee

 

Those are the ones that really hurt. Can you see your name on that list Marko? I reckon you’d sneak into the top 10, but there is no room for you in the top 5; those places are reserved for the kind of humiliation and heartbreaks that your just not capable of delivering.

 

And thats not taking anything away from what you’ve done or the love we have felt for you over the last 12-18 months. It’s just we’re too old to make each other miserable like that, so don’t take your failure to make the list personally. Those days are just simply gone, and good riddance to them; unhappiness and heartbreak meant something back then. Now it’s just an annoyance, like a cold or having no money. If you really wanted to hurt us, you should have got to us earlier!

 

The truth is Marko, we have had bigger and better players leave us. Players who we adored deeper and longer than you.

 

Tony Cottee, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand – they were mere babes when we first met. We watched them grow and blossom with all the love and pride of a parent. We imagined our futures together, the players they would become, the skills they would wow us with, the glories they could lead us to. And then they left. The reasons and the circumstances of those departures are of little consequence. All we knew is that they were gone. We had been robbed of something wonderful, and what was worse was that we would have to watch them with their new clubs. Watch as they celebrated and hugged their new fans, kissed badges and lifted silverware that could/should have been ours. That’s how to really hurt us Marko – we won’t even notice you celebrating out in China (no one will).

 

And whilst yes, for the last year and a half you have won our affections and (as you brother said) ‘all our awards’ with your goal scoring and bastardry, it’s not like we haven’t had award winners leave us before either. Scott Parker won 3 back to back Hammer of the Year awards and the Football Writers award whilst we were together. He wore the shirt with passion and pride and looked like he would die for the club, year after year after year. We felt like he was the manifestation of all of us, like it was literally a match made by the footballing Gods. We were soul mates and we were going to grow old together. Then he left too. And joined Spurs. And proclaimed that he had always loved them anyway.  It was humiliating going into work and having to make eye contact with his new fans. They knew they’d stolen the love of our life. And they were so smug about it. Like it proved they were superior to us. As a reult we have had to pretend that one of our best players of the last decade, never really played for us at all. That’s not something we will have to worry about with you Marko – your new club might have more money but there will be no jealousy here.

 

And sure your talented. You bring a certain je ne sais quoi to the side. You are a match winner. Our talisman. The team will be poorer without you. But it will carry on. If/when you leave, you will not destroy the game plan. The wheels won’t entirely come off our season. Not like with Dimi. You see Dimi was a once in a lifetime player for us. From the moment we saw him it was love. His virtuous display in a preseason game against Southend had us smitten. By the end of our opening day fixture against Arsenal it was adoration. As the games ticked on, and we saw nutmegs, drag backs, whipped crosses, assists and goals, we started to realise that we had absolutely bagged ourselves a worldy. We adored him. His teammates, who were playing above themselves just to be in his orbit, adored him too. The feelings seemed reciprocated. Together we seemed destined for greatness. And then.  “We have a situation with a player. It is Dimitri Payet”. Those words, uttered by a the broken shell of a man formerly known as Slaven Bilic, still stick in our throats. A reminder of the time that our heart was ripped out of our chests. As though his decision to return home confirmed all our insecurities about how worthy we were to have him in the first place. And he wasn’t even leaving us for a more attractive proposition. He was just going back to his ex. Like the love we had shared, that amazing season where anything seemed possible, hadn’t measured up to what he had before. It was a kick in the teeth like no other. We forgot how to sing. How to play. How to be happy.

 

So for all your talents Arnie, and you do have many, you can’t really hurt us like that anymore. We are too broken, too jaded and scarred.

 

When news broke that your brother had been on TalkSport telling the world that you want to leave, it was frustrating sure. You play an important role and offer a different kind of goal threat to our other forwards (in that you offer an actual goal threat). You were vital for us last year and for that we will be eternally grateful. It will be difficult to replace you. But not impossible. Not like when we lose one of our own children. It’s not like losing the heartbeat of a side. Or losing the best lover (player) you’ve ever had.(*in my life time)

 

For me, you’re just after more money. A gift of a new contract, so we can show you how much we appreciate you. You want a greater commitment from us. And you may be right in wanting such a declaration of our love. After all, your no spring chicken. Your knees have been causing you problems this season. You want reassurances that we are in this for keeps.

 

The problem is, having started everyone talking about the state of our relationship, it’s now raising questions on our end too. Are you worth the investment of our future? Can we really see us living happily ever after? Or is there an inevitable split coming anyway? And if so, should we cash in now while your stock is at its highest?

 

For me, I wish this had never happened. We could have just carried on as things were. Happy with each other, seeing how things go and enjoying the ride whilst it lasts. But now you’ve opened pandora’s box. We know your head can be turned by any club with a high wage budget. Now that you are forcing us to think about the future though, I’m not sure you’re the one. It’s like when someone points out a flaw in something and despite all the amazingness of that thing, the flaw is all you can see. Like Rihanna and her unusually large forehead

 

Because now we are faced with the reality that we all knew but had chosen to forget.

 

We knew what we were getting into when we first got together. You joined us because we were more glamorous and more ambitious than your old club. We were also willing to pay you more money.  We laughed at your ex fans who burnt your shirt and bemoaned your lack of loyalty. We down right rejoiced when you stood in your old home and crossed your arms to show them that you belonged to us now. We knew that the chest beating and the crossed hammers where a charm offensive to endear yourself to us.

 

And it worked.

 

You won us over with your goals, your pace, your power. Your bastardry.

 

You will be missed. You will be hard to replace, but not impossible.

 

Husillos will be given a kitty. He will start flirting with others on our behalf like the world’s best wingman. We will enjoy the thrill of the chase. The lowkey stalking on social media for news on our next infatuation will begin. And it will all culminate in that chosen one posing in our shirt. Our hearts will skip as we start to envision the future we could have together. Maybe they will be younger, faster, stronger, have more of a strikers instinct (because they are actually a striker perhaps). Maybe they will score enough to help elevate us to the mythical next level. They might even stick around long enough to for us to become truly emotionally attached.

 

But that’s not where we are at with you Marko. I have enjoyed our time together, really, truly I have. If your brother had kept quite I think we could have had something special. But if the lure of the Yen is to great for you then you can go. No hard feelings. All the best. We will mark a high point in your career, the period when you converted to an attacker and became one of the best in the league for a time. But you will be merely a footnote in our history, a fleeting flicker of what could have been at a time when the club is on the up. You will miss us more than we will miss you.

 

Written By Greg | @rakis14

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