Week 20: Hero – Steven Gerrard

by Ray_North on May 18, 2015

hero_icon2This week’s hero is the retiring Liverpool and former England skipper – Steven Gerrard.

I was listening to a radio phone-in the other week; the question being asked was ‘what would Steven Gerrard’s legacy be?’ and time and again, in response football fans from teams other than Liverpool were ringing up saying that Steven Gerrard would be best remembered for being the worst England Captain ever, and for slipping up and letting Demba Ba score the goal that may have cost Liverpool the Premiership title last season.

I have to admit I got angry – not just because I am a Liverpool fan and have been proud to watch the career of a truly legendary player from the moment he stepped onto the pitch at Anfield as a coltish teenager, to the moment yesterday, when he drew the curtain on that fabulous career, but, because, Steven Gerrard’s story is a great story about sport and anyone who truly understands sport and the elements that make sport great (the drama, the honour, the defeats, the victories), will instinctively laud Steven Gerrard as a great.

First, there is the talent – at his best, Steven Gerrard was a wonderful driving midfielder, possessed of a tremendous range of passing, a superb shot and natural athelticism that enabled him to dominate matches, for me, he was the best of his generation; second there is the story – a local Scouse boy, who has spent his whole career at his boyhood club and helped them, almost singlehandedly to win the European Cup (I still refuse to call it the Champions League) and the FA Cup, with his goals and his leadership; then there is the honour – on numerous occasions, Gerrard has been offered a Kings Ransom to play for Chelsea, Real Madrid and others, but, though tempted, he never felt able to leave his home town club – footballers are not like that these days, spurred on by agents, they usually see their careers as being a business as much as a sport – but not Stevie G, for him, honour and loyalty were just as important as anything else and for that as much as anything else, he should be lauded.

That he never won the league is immaterial, Sport is about the failures as much as the triumphs (Ryan Giggs won the league 8 times, but never played in a World Cup – is he a failure? No of course not), that he slipped over and allowed a Chelsea player to score a goal is irrelevant as well – because, we all know that the Chelsea fans celebration of that unfortunate moment is as much about their inability to sign the player as it is about the slip itself.

For my own personal Gerrard moment – well it’s this: Istanbul, of course, deep into extra time, and a now limping Gerrard is playing, simultaneously right back, right midfield and right wing, Liverpool are holding on and the Brazilian Serginho has got himself in the box and is about to shoot for what would be the winning goal, when, from nowhere, Steve Gerrard lunges across and blocks it – not a goal, not a shot, not a Hollywood pass, but a moment of almost Superhuman endeavour.

A proper hero.

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