As has been blasted all over this site over the past two days, Dutch legend Arjen Robben is in his final season with Bayern Munich. Robben, along with fellow Bayern all-timer, Franck Ribery, will likely play out the rest of this season and then seek a new place of employment for at least one more year.
What better place to play than in Philadelphia? (OK, actually Chester, PA, which is in the heart of Delaware County aka Delco — but we won’t let the details get in the way.)
Philadelphia has many Robben-friendly features that would make the area a good final destination to cap off a tremendous career for the Dutchman.
1. Legendary mascots!
Robben has certainly risked his own pristine reputation by being associated with the hard-partying, rough-housing likes of Bayern mascot Berni, but Philly can fill that mascot void quite nicely.
Sure, the Union has a mascot that is a snake with arms (someone may have been on LSD when this monstrosity was developed — we hope), but we also have true pillar of the mascot community and the greatest mascot ever (sorry Berni!)...the Phillie Phanatic. In addition, we also have Gritty, who can dive like the best of ‘em:
And boasts pinpoint accuracy:
And — wait, what the...
Ahem... moving on.
2. The Pennsylvania Dutch
They may not really be Dutch per se, but — again — why let some details get in the way of a good thing? On the bright side, they do speak German, so Arjen and family would naturally be in a comfort zone, along with a slice of Shoofly Pie. As most easily explained by Wikipedia:
The Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, listen (help·info)) are a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and their descendants. The word “Dutch” does not refer to the Dutch people or Dutch language, but to the German settlers, known as Deutsch ... Over time, the various dialects spoken by these immigrants fused into a unique dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania “Dutch.”
In addition, the Union’s own Keegan Rosenberry hails from Pennsylvania Dutch country (He went to Lancaster Mennonite High School after all!). Keegan, my friend, let’s start working with your “Dutch” connections to make this happen.
3. Dutch Wonderland
Okay, Dutch Wonderland is located in Lancaster (in Pennsylvania Dutch Country!) roughly 55 miles from Talen Energy Stadium, but it’s really just a nice little drive down Route 1 to Route 41 to Route 30.
In reality, how can there really be a “Dutch Wonderland” without an exhibit or tribute to a true Dutch Wonder? Hmmm, seems like a marketing opportunity for Robben to earn a little extra cash during his stay in the Greater Philadelphia area.
They don’t have convenience stores like Wawa in Germany, nor in the Netherlands. Just don’t go to Sheetz or Royal Farms... true Delco people do not look fondly upon those establishments!
5. Dutch restaurants
Listen, anyone could slam the cliché Philly cheesesteak establishments down your throat here, but if Robben and family want some authentic Dutch cuisine, then they’ve got good options right in the city.
6. Forget Lincoln Financial Field — Talen Energy Stadium is NICE!
Okay, so we know that Bayern came to Philadelphia this summer and played an International Champions Cup game against Juventus at Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles!) in a monsoon of sorts. The pitch was slippery and not really in great shape, but if Robben signs with the Union, he’ll get to experience a top notch MLS facility.
Leaving Munich will be tough for sure and the natural inclination to return go the Netherlands for a swan song season in the Eredivisie is certainly tempting; but why not rip up the MLS for a spell?
As a parting gift, enjoy this Robben “Cut In” compilation, which would look fantastic in Chester... err, Philly!