In the week that Steven Gerrard announced he is to leave Liverpool after a collective 25 years at the club; Liverpool fans have been pouring out their hearts with regards their captain.
Here, Matthew Evans talks about why the man means so much to him……
Where do I start? What do I say that hasn’t been said already? All I can do is explain from my own personal view what he meant to me. The captain. My captain. Our captain, Steven Gerrard has decided to leave his beloved Liverpool Football Club at the end of the season. From when he danced through Sheffield Wednesday’s defence 17 seasons ago to scoring the two pens versus Leicester in that very same goal the other night, I’ve had nothing but admiration for the man. A Scouser. A fan. The club’s greatest ever player.
There’s so much joy he’s brought me. To start with he’s absolutely damaged our two greatest rivals over the years. Take a minute to look back. The Rocket against the Mancs as a kid at Anfield. Laughin’ at the Evertonians, with his tongue out running down the line at Goodison. Kissing cameras at Old Trafford countless times. Silencing opposition fans at numerous times after they mocked his family. Hat tricks. The joy on his face when he did this. As a fan, as a Scouser, it meant the world to me. He was one of us, doing what every one of us wanted to do. He was doing it for us. He represented us on the pitch. That’s why there’s such a bond there between him and us.
When he spoke, he spoke like us. He said what we wanted to say. He was honest. To the point. Fair. A true captain. No rubbish.
At times it felt like fans of the national side didn’t deserve him. He always spoke about his pride about captaining his country but we didn’t care about that. And the fact that many of these fans have mocked him since May for his slip versus Chelsea just backs that up.
One fond memory was an away day at Newcastle United. England had been eliminated midweek from qualifying for Euro 2008. They’d been vilified in the press. The reds went to St James’ Park, not concerned with any of this. The Geordies however booed Gerrard every time he touched the ball, simply because he played for England in the week. The red men sang “we’re not English, we are Scouse” in defiance. What does the captain do? He silences them all for us by scoring a blistering free kick and one of the best I’ve seen. Then salutes us in the Gods. Brilliant.
It’s moments like these you remember as fan. Of course there are the obvious ones, Olympiakos, Istanbul, Cardiff but there are loads of moments that I as a fan remember thinking that’s my captain, right there ‘. Feeling a sense of pride that he was mine. Ours. Who’s the man who threw that tackle in to get the team going? He was. Who was the man that stepped in when necessary and squared up? He was. Who did what was absolutely required and expected to play for this football club? He did. And is still doing it consistently 17 years on. It seriously brings a tear to my eye. A lump in my throat, when I talk about him. Don’t know why, it just happens.
17 years ago, I was 15 when he made his debut. He’s been there ever since I truly understood what it meant to support this club. That’s why it’ll be so hard not to see him on the pitch anymore, doing the things we want him to do. You remember stuff like that. Moments.
I hope there’s still a few more moments to come before he leaves. Notably, Goodison Park in February please!
Steven Gerrard. Captain. I wish you all the best for the future. You deserve everything you’ve got and earned over the years. I hope to see you back at our club one day. It’s your club. Thank you.