Robin van Persie’s scintillating header against Cup holder, Spanish, brings memory of another Arsenal Alum – Tola Adenle

June 17, 2014


Ashley Cole, whose heart, fans always believed belonged to Arsenal, would later follow the cash to – C-h-e-l-s-e-a, the cut-and-nail ones – and would become “Cash-ley” Cole, but thanks for the memories, Ashley.

He scored, nearly-lying flat down to head the winner for Arsenal at Dynamo Kiev a decade ago; now, another Arsenal alum, Robin van Persie has set the football world on fire with another header for the Dutch.


Sports fans all over the world have certain sports moments forever etched in their hearts and minds; think Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers in that memorable Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs and the magical shot by Jordan which won the game for the Bulls and the beginning of the reign of The Man Who Would Become Air Jordan.  And I remember Jordan & his Chicago team mates wore red for the road game to the more-favored Cavaliers.

While like most sports fans, I have quite a few in different sports one of which was the recent van Persie’s diving header among the five goals the Dutch’s demolition of the reigning world champions, Spain, it brought sweet memories of another Arsenal alumnus from Persie’s earlier football career.

It remains etched in my memory because if Arsenal had failed to win again’st Dynamo Kiev that very cold Northern day, it was on its way out in the group stage of the Champions League. It was a particularly nasty crowd and – okay, I may be biased – a not- impartial referee!  Then came Ashley Cole’s header in the dying minutes of the game.

I cannot describe the header well but the ball was already so close to the ground that if Thierry Henry was close enough, he would have used his foot to just raise the ball a bit, and then, a goal, but it was to be Ashley’s day.  Cole’s chest was so close to the ground that reaching the ball was not only a wonder but scoring that goal from that incredible position is what, in basketball parlance, would be described as a “Hail Mary shot”.

It was the 2003/2004 season, and the Gunners were on the way to the next level of the Tournament with that memorable goal.


To get the Dutch even, and get things going against the Cup holder, (the Spanish) the Arsenal Alum – cannot, or may be do not, want to remember where he is now – Robin van Persie performed this little acrobatic display that first put the dagger near the chest of Spain.  Four more goals would drive the dagger deep into the hearts of the Spaniards.

Now, those close to me, and millions of soccer fans worldwide, can see the name I’ve bestowed on Arsenal – World Training Institute for Football (before letting the boys fly away) – is, sadly, right on the mark.




Photo Credit:  Michael Dalder/Reuters

TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014.  11:50 a.m. [GMT]

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