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Goodbye Steven. Sadly, It’s For The Best

Dear Mr. Gerrard,

You are a legend. There are no two ways about it. You are the embodiment of everything that Bill Shankly wanted Liverpool Football Club to stand for – pride in the shirt, one hundred percent commitment at all times while conducting yourself in a dignified manner. Sure there have been times where things have got out of hand and when our relationship became strained but you will forever be one of us – a Liverpool fan born to the sounds of the Kop and forever never walking alone.

That’s why it pains me to write this. It is for the best that you leave. In past years, this would have been unthinkable, the entire fate of our great football club resting on your Scouse shoulders and for good reason. The things you have done for us have been incredible, the performances you have put in incomprehensible and the torture you put us through for glory unrivalled. We’ve watched you go from scrawny Academy kid thrown in at full back to exciting yet always crocked midfielder to hard working club captain to arguably the world’s most complete midfielder to Jedi Master and what a ride it has been.

I will always remember those special moments you served up for us. That goal against Olympiakos in our successful Champions League campaign of a decade ago which immortalised Andy Gray in a more positive manner then than he’s thought of now. Or the Gerrard final where you dragged us from oblivion with cramp riddled legs (having been playing since July) with two of the most incredible goals. Or Istanbul where your leadership dragged us back into the game. People will recall your goal or the penalty you won but I’ll always remember being enthralled by the constant battle between you and a fresh legged Serginho (as well as the fact I was allowed to stay up to nearly midnight on a school night so thanks for that too).

Of course there are the moments most forget but we don’t. That screamer from 35 odd yards past Fabien Barthez was nice as was the goal against that red team from the other end of the East Lancs Road in 2003 Worthington Cup final. Let’s not forget when you pretty much won us games towards the end of Houllier’s reign because of the likes of Le Tallec, Cheyrou and Diao. Or that goal against Middlesbrough. Or the countless late penalties to bail us out at crucial times. Or that hat trick against the Toffees. Or when you kissed the camera at Old Trafford in that 4-1. These memories last a lifetime and mean more than fans of other teams will ever know.

We love you like a normal human being loves their father, brother, son, uncle, cousin or best friend. We wanted it to end gloriously with us like it did with Carra but the truth is it’s the end of the line and no matter how much it hurts, it has to be. You may have flirted with Chelsea for a day and had that slip but we don’t care about that. There is one problem though.

You see Steven, when you play nothing seems to go right. This is only a recent thing but what we’ve begun to realise is that the team bends to how you play and that doesn’t work. Thirty cross field balls a game doesn’t help nor does shooting from thirty yards whenever you get the chance. Your injury has been a massive help sadly because we’ve seen the most consistent performances since last season. Jordan Henderson has stepped up as captain with such presence that we forget he’s from Sunderland when he steps onto the pitch. The midfield is more mobile and is helping the defence which is leading to more clean sheets. Everything is going smoothly right now and, unfortunately, it’s because you’re not there. We love you but that’s the harsh reality of the situation.

Your influence is still seen though especially on Hendo. His work rate in games is almost as ridiculous as yours was at his age and, while he doesn’t have the pressure of carrying an awful team like you did when you took over as captain, he still has to set the tempo and intensity with which we play. He’s the seamless transition we needed and in large part that’s down to you. He’s gone from unwanted waste of money to one of the best midfielders in the Premier League working with you and we will always be grateful for that. But now it’s time for him to step up on his own which he’s doing and will do when you go to Los Angeles this summer.

This is not a criticism of you nor is it a good riddance letter, far from it. We love you Steven like a family member and our hearts break at the thought of you leaving at all. You were going to be like Carra, seeing out your days with us and being a legendary one club man. However, the truth is that footballs is no longer run by our hearts these days but by our heads and our heads are screaming at us that now is the best time to part ways. And it breaks our hearts more than you know.

We thank you for the way you’ve toiled for us through countless big games. We thank you for the sacrifices you have made. We thank you for Istanbul and Cardiff. We thank you for bailing us out when we didn’t deserve to be bailed out. We thank you for the goals you score in cup finals that usually lead us to victory. We thank you for helping us believe again last season. We want you to get to Wembley for the FA Cup final on your birthday and we want our final memory of you to be you walking up the stairs at Wembley and lifting that famous trophy one more time with you as our fearless leader.

You may never have won the league but you will always be our champion. You will always be Liverpool’s champion. And for that we thank you and wish you the greatest of luck in your new adventure this summer. But before you go we ask that you lead us to glory one more time in the FA Cup because there would be no better way for you to leave.

Thank you for everything.

From a grateful fan,

Eion Smith

P.S. If your acting is anything like Wayne Rooney’s then please stay away from Hollywood. It’s for the best.

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