“…and he runs the full length of the pitch to the Arsenal supporters!” – anyone who reads this without knowing the context is going to think that an Arsenal player has just scored and has run over to the fans to celebrate. But, this story is about Emmanuel Adebayor, an ex-Arsenal player celebrating after scoring against the Gunners.
Why did Adebayor celebrate in front of Arsenal fans?
Adebayor moved to Manchester City from Arsenal and the fans were clearly unhappy. It was the time when a few Arsenal players were being snapped up by City and the striker was one of them.
The Togolese striker was on the receiving end of a lot of abuse, racist chants and more from the Gooners in the stadium and on social media. Adebayor could not do anything but upon scoring, he ran towards them and did a knee slide celebration.
Recollecting the incident a few years later, Adebayor said:
“I remember getting to the stadium and Arsenal fans were there. All I heard was the chant, ‘Your mother is a whore and your father washes elephants.’
My father worked in currency exchange and my mother is a businesswoman. But this went on and on. So how can I reply? I didn’t have a voice to go against thousands of supporters.”
Adebayor was shown a yellow card in the game and also fined by The FA for his celebration. The goal helped City beat the Gunners 4-2 that day.
Despite reports suggesting that Adebayor forced his move to Manchester City, the striker claims he moved because of Arsene Wenger. The manager reportedly informed him that he was not needed at the club but when talking to the press, he blamed it on the striker.
“I had a meeting with Arsene Wenger in his office when he told me I had to leave because he didn’t see my future any more in Arsenal. So I didn’t have any other choice than joining Man City, who I was very happy to join.”
“And the next day when I joined Manchester City I saw him doing a press conference in London saying that I wanted to leave because the money was big and everything and since that day that is where the hate for Arsenal came from,” Adebayor told Beyond The Game.
The striker had a decent spell – scoring 15 goals in 34 appearances – at Manchester City but was out of favour soon. He was loaned out to Real Madrid in January 2011 where he played under Jose Mourinho.
To make things worse for Arsenal fans, the striker moved to Tottenham Hotspur on loan and then permanently a couple of years later. His time at Spurs was good but exactly 6 years and a day after his infamous celebration against Arsenal, he was released by Tottenham.
Adebayor joined Crystal Palace in January next year on a 6-month deal and did not enjoy a good spell at the London side. He scored just once for the club before he was released in the summer.
After 6 months without a club, the former Arsenal striker joined İstanbul Başakşehir on a one-and-a-half-year deal. Things looked decent for him but the Turkish side released him in the summer of 2019. Adebayor now plays for another Turkish side, Kayserispor aka Kayseri Spor Kulübü.
Hear him talk about the incident below: