Friday, January 02, 2015

Ste Gerrard, Gerrard....

As a child supporting a team you dream of growing up and playing for that team. You buy the shirt, maybe get a current players name on the back & wear it with pride. Playing with your local team or at school or with your mates you pretend to be that player. If you are playing your computer game your decisions are always biased and always based on the team you support.

Now imagine you are from the same town as that team and get to play for that team. Imagine you've scored for that team & done everything in your power to win games against your greatest rivals. And enjoyed it. Imagine you get to play and train with players that were your idols. Imagine you become captain of that club. Imagine lifting the greatest club trophy there is in a legendary way and you were the inspiration behind that win.

Not content with that, the next year you drag your team from an embarrassing position and score an unbelievable goal, a goal that finally broke the oppositions heart and belief. You lift another trophy.

Time after time you are the heart and soul of that team. You get offered chances to leave but the pull of your childhood dreams convinces you to stay, that winning trophies with your team means more than winning elsewhere. The club always comes first.

Today, the man who made us Liverpool fans believe for so long, the man who told us to "go again", the man who carried our dreams on the pitch, the man who felt our pain when a result didn't go our way, decided to call time on his Liverpool career and made a decision for himself.

Much will be written about what he didn't win and opposition fans will always make reference to him not winning the Premier League, but what he did win, he won. He was influential in our treble winning season in 2001; scored in the League Cup win in 2003; Istanbul in 2005 is the stuff of folklore; FA Cup Final in 2006 is named after him; 2012 League Cup he dragged us through the Semi Final; last season assault on the title.

Players are often asked when they retire about their best goal and I struggle to pick just one. Some players go for the goal that has the most importance - but how does he choose? Olympiakos, West Ham, AC Milan, Utd....maybe technique or distance? Aston Villa, Everton, Utd....what about against rivals? Again, Everton and Utd will be glad to see the back of him.

It's sad that he may never have a Premier League medal as a player but that should never, ever be used to tarnish his legacy or reputation. He played in teams that were in the main, mediocre, as painful as that is to say and he made those around him better. Owen, Torres, Suarez were all better players with him behind. He made other players appear better than they were, he was that good.

Gerrard can pass a ball like few others; he can score goals - long, short, tap-ins, thunderbolts; he can head a ball like a striker; tackle with power; he has determination and a will to succeed and win that drove the club on.

Legend is an overused term these days but he is one and always will be one. Liverpool's best ever? Possibly due to how he drove the club on when others around him faltered. Too many ignorant people make reference to him this season and deride him, forgetting what he done for them over the last 15 years since he made his debut. Personally speaking, I don't think we'll know what we had until he leaves next July.

I'm looking forward to watching him for the next 6 months because we may never see him in the red shirt again.