OD Part I: Lessons in Loyalty

As any Liverpool fan will tell you, loving Liverpool is difficult.  As one of the greatest clubs in history, the last twenty years have not lived up to expectations. Seasons of success and joy have only preceded seasons of mediocrity and abject failure.

Yet, for me, in all these years, particularly in the difficult times, one player made it worthwhile. One player, who made you want to support this great club because he defined all its values and what it stood for. One player who loved the club as much as the ordinary fan, a player who for me, became my first hero.

My eternal memory of Stevie G and the day I knew I loved Liverpool FC more than anything in this world was when I woke up in the wee hours of the morning of my 12th birthday, just in time to watch Stevie G lift the champions league trophy. I was not able to watch the game as I had school, but that day, I felt so much pride and joy. I felt special, I already felt that I had the best birthday gift anyone could ask for, the team I liked were the champions of the world. It started a love affair that still lasts to this day.

Stevie G kissing the Champions League Trophy in 2005.
Stevie G kissing the Champions League Trophy in 2005.

Steven George Gerrard first broke into the Liverpool first team in 1998. Since then he has played 710 games, scoring 186 goals.

Stevie G has had an extraordinary career, winning the FA Cup, UEFA Cup, League Cup and the Champions League, captained his boyhood team and went on to captain his nation. Hes a legend not only for Liverpool but of the game. Sure, his CV is not as impressive as the other players of his generation, yet he will always be loved and admired for his passion, leadership qualities and the ability to alter the course of a match by a swing of his magical right boot.

Gooooaaalllllllll!
Gooooaaalllllllll!

For most Liverpool fans all over the world, Stevie G was and in some ways still is their Hero. He was an ordinary boy who through dedication and sheer hard work rose through the ranks to play for the club he loved. For a few years he was a force of nature, battering teams and winning finals all on his own. When the team needed him most, he always stepped up, most notably during Istanbul 2005 and Wembley 2006.

Yet for all of his qualities, he is my hero for one reason only, his loyalty. He could have gone to any club in the world, would have been able to play with other legends of the game and won the major prizes…and no one would have blamed him, for he was special. But he didn’t. He chose to stay, chose to give his best years to Liverpool and in turn give us so much joy.

Steven Gerrard

He is proof that if you love something with all your heart, you should not give it up, whatever it may be. You should support it and help it grow and improve. Its safe to say that LFC would not be where it is, if not for Stevie G.

In turn, he received unconditional love and support, he is considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest player to have played for Liverpool Football Club. I know many people who became fans of LFC simply by watching Steven Gerrard play.

The last few years have seen Captain Fantastic’s powers decline, he is no longer as effective as he was, but for us it did not matter. We still loved him despite anything. Even though his Infamous Slip against Chelsea cost Liverpool the title last year. Fans loved him so much that they sang his name after that. Only for Stevie G would that have happened. The man who made us look good, the man who sacrificed personal good for his boyhood club.

In this modern age of ours where players change teams for personal glory and money, Diamonds like Stevie G only come along once in a while.

Showing his love
Showing his love

When he announced that he was going to leave, I was stunned. It seemed like the world was crashing down and everything was meaningless. Sure, its dramatic but how would you feel if the man who gave you so many memories, so much joy and the one who made you fall in love with football was leaving?

Thank you Captain for seventeen years of pure happiness and joy. Its been a privilege. YNWA

*Happy 35th Birthday Captain. I hope you have a great year ahead.

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