The first Liverpool FC match I ever watched was the 2003 League Cup Final against Manchester United. I was not a fan of professional football at the time, but I decided to watch anyway. I watched with a friend who was a Manchester United supporter (or perhaps just a Beckham supporter) and I decided I was going to cheer for Liverpool. I still remember Steven Gerrard’s goal and the way he celebrated. The passion he showed was unbelievable. Liverpool went on to win 2-0 and they gained an additional supporter that day.
Fast forward 12 years and Steven Gerrard has announced that he is leaving Liverpool at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season. Most supporters knew it was coming soon, but the news was devastating nonetheless. Through every up and down in my life, I have been able to turn to and support Liverpool. And I have never known Liverpool without its captain, Steven Gerrard.
Saturday will mark Steven Gerrard’s last match at Anfield as a player (maybe). It will be an emotional time for every Liverpool supporter in the world. I can’t even imagine what Gerrard must be feeling. The nerves and emotions would be enough to make most of us cry before we ever stepped foot on the pitch. I might cry any way.
But life goes on for us, as it does for Gerrard. He is ready for a new chapter in his life, and it is time for Liverpool to usher in a new chapter in its rich history. I’ve no doubts that Steven Gerrard will return to Liverpool in some capacity in the near future. I also have no doubt that Steven Gerrard will manage Liverpool some day. And perhaps he will be able to finally lift that elusive league title trophy.
The word ‘hero’ is tossed about too casually today. Some people can believe in sports heroes and others cannot. I’m not sure if I believe in heroes in sports, but I do believe in idols. I truly idolize Steven Gerrard. In the world of global football, money is thrown around to lure every player to every club. There exists little to no loyalty. Steven Gerrard is one of a dying a breed. A local lad who lived the dream of playing for his boyhood club, and could not be drawn away by riches and silverware. He was born a Liverpool player and he will die a Liverpool man.
So I bid a fond farewell to Steven Gerrard (weird considering he’s moving to my country). 2015/16 will be the first season I will ever watch Liverpool and Steven Gerrard will not be on the first team sheet. It will be hard to take. But I wish him the best in Los Angeles. And may he return one day to where he belongs.
Thanks, Stevie. You’ll Never Walk Alone.