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The Madness Surrounding Steven Gerrard


Dorset

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Alcohol free, although still retaining a degree of anonymity, here goes…. My name is Dorset and I feel sorry for Steven Gerrard… Phew, that was tough, but at least I’ve managed to go public after months of hating myself and wondering if silence might be my only salvation. Keeping this secret has not been easy and it has taken Tuesday night’s game to bring me to my senses and realise that the burden shared [with you lot] is a burden halved. Let me explain, in great detail as per usual…

The camera shot has haunted me from the moment I saw it - you know, the one of Stevie watching the game, tracksuited to tenuously link him to the action, and looking devoid of friends or family support in his hour of abductor injury. Maybe it will end up being longer than that in the mending, then again maybe not. All we are told by Benitez is that he has a good chance of being fit for the next game, just as we were advised of exactly the same thing before this one, and this sad little cameo at the Bridge, with his team in conflict with ours yet again, made me think of what might have been…

Gerrard’s career path has crossed Chelsea land with such regularity in the last five years he must wonder why he has never established a right of way similar to the free pandering publicity passage afforded him by the Media every time he walks on to a football pitch. The ironic answer lies in the fact that all those years ago he chose never to walk alone down South, the Bridge was too far, and from that moment he was to be cosseted by the Media like no other footballer before or since. Back then Jose told him he wouldn’t win as many trophies staying on Merseyside, an honest opinion that became an affront to a Media already offended by the Abramovich billions. The rest is history, if we had any, and the alter image of Frank’s success with us has meant that he too has had to suffer the backlash, along with Ashley Cole a few years later, of hacks and TV pundits turning on them in the bad times and ignoring them in the good. Okay, I hear you say, why feel sorry for the guy in such circumstances?

Well, in my opinion, Gerrard is an extremely good player who, in different ’circumstances’ could have been the great player his fawning entourage make him out to be and it is a pity for all concerned that the transition hasn’t happened, whether it be in Chelsea, Liverpool or England colours. At regular intervals, since scoring against Germany in 2002, he has been indulged by a series of coaches, for club and country, ranging from Sven to Houllier, who made him captain despite believing that he ’needed to mature’. Since then only Benitez and Capello have recognised the existence of this frailty and, unlike Houllier, done something about it. That is why Tuesday’s sidelining is shrouded in mystery - nobody really knows whether Benitez was happy to take a ’team option’ without his skipper, bearing in mind Essien’s hatchet job on the inspirational side of Gerrard’s game a week earlier. And all the while his entourage report what is best for their man, effectively sucking him dry of any thoughts of improvement or ambition and replenishing the resultant husk with hype at every opportunity. They are the real villains of this piece and here’s why…

Gerrard’s omnipotence is given relentless credence throughout the Media and it is now so marked, so obvious to viewers and listeners of all persuasions, that a new stage has been reached in blind hero worship - a stage that offers the player total absolution from failure on a football field. What was once the stuff of legends has become stuff and nonsense, a fairytale concoction to rival Hans Christian Andersen’s finest. Indeed, one of those was ‘The Emperor’s New Suit’ and it certainly suit’s the Stevie Me storyline perfectly - isn’t he grand, isn’t he fine, look at the pass, the shot, their mine! - alright, I will admit that, to carry the analogy further, Gerrard is too good to ever be found stone cold b*****k naked on the pitch, but once in a while wouldn’t it be nice if storytellers like Alan Green or Clive Tyldesley owned up to him being, well, just pants?

I know, I know, it isn’t going to happen. Nevertheless, surely it is time to ask why one [and only one] very good footballer should be ceremonially raised up to iconic status in this way when all the evidence shows that the process, the hype, call it what you will, is doing nobody any good anymore. And this really is the point - who is actually benefiting, other than those mindless individuals lining the streets waiting to see the Emperor’s new suit of clothes for the umpteenth time? It isn’t Gerrard himself because, other than on one [extremely] odd occasion in Istanbul, there have never been any tangible signs that he can produce against the top teams for club or country on any sort of regular basis. Unlike in Frank’s case, year on year statistics don’t help him either and the Stevie G bandwagon has never carried their man anywhere near the rostrum annually set up for the world’s top three players. PFA nominations are one thing, but he receives them regardless of performance and this year’s looks remarkably like the usual vegetarian dish on a ManU meaty menu.

Champions League win excepted, it isn’t Liverpool’s gain either, as their trophy cabinet hasn’t exactly bulged in the era of this particular cult individual, especially when compared to that of the earlier decades and the cult team ethic employed under a string of successful managers. No, the benefits in the Premiership years have been nonexistent and the inspirational moments limited to a last gasp winner in the FA Cup against Pardew’s Hammers and [if we’re honest] an Owen-inspired comeback against the Arse. And perish the thought that Steven Gerrard might have turned into the great player he was expected to be had he found the courage to sign for us rather than accept his present cushioned lifestyle, albeit against a backdrop of shirt burners and death threats?

Thinking ahead, the recovery group I’m joining will probably be sitting in a circle right now, recollecting their darker days and sympathetic tendencies, and they will no doubt say that his goldfish bowl existence is a hindrance manfully overcome, that he chose it in preference to being part of a new Chelsea team [with ’team’ being the operative word] and every time he hits the net and points to the name behind those coat hanger shoulders of his it is merely a regrettable reminder of his insecurity. They will also applaud the attempts being made, in a new mood of Tubby-induced understanding and acceptance around Anfield, that he often can’t be the self-styled, solitary all-action hero and might actually be of some use in the team cog-wise - hence the concerted effort to create a deadly duo with Torres. The really heavy sympathisers will go further and full tilt at Fabio criticising him for being too hard on the man and inspiring mass recollection of his last inspirational outing against Andorra. Some, those lost souls who’ve sat in these circles for years, will even threaten to return to the Alan Green phone-ins.

Lost souls, indeed, and I can’t but think that I was looking at another one in the Stamford Bridge Stand three days ago. Yep, do I need help - and, if Steven Gerrard wins a PFA award, but doesn’t play a leading part in a first Premiership title for the Scousers over the next few weeks, so will he.

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fabulous point, Dorset. I have recently grown to think about Gerrard in much the same light.

We all know he is a very good player, despite being an overrated w**ker, proped up by every media muppet happy to line up and service him verbally. But looking at it, he is almost 29, and his career has been characterized by position shifts, yellows for diving, the odd great game/goal (often followed, as you astutely point out, by over the top celebrations the likes of Sky never tire of replaying), a few comebacks, an arrest for Barton-esque behavior, and Istanbul.

At 29 years of age, a person is not even halfway through their life, but a footballer is clearly passed the point where they become better. A few years back when the Lampard v. Gerrard debate raged, the ace in the hole for so many Stevens accolytes was that he was "only 25" or "only 26" and that when he reached his prime, he would be unquestionably the worlds best because that elusive maturity would help him put it all together. Well, here we are, and that hasnt really happened. Its taken the advent of Torres and terrific play from a team who pressed on WITHOUT him for many games to get them this close to the title after years of reportedly being good enough.

That debate always used to give me fits. Frank was the one-dimensional scorer, people said. I dont think anyone is saying that now, considering has clearly scored the goals that won the trophies, and as you say, become the lynchpin of a great TEAM in which he is more important than ever at age 31. I wonder what its going to look like in ten years time. Frank Lampard, the chelsea legend who was known for being industrious, classy, scoring like a striker, producing the odd sublime moment, and driving his team on, festooned with trophies. Steven Gerrard, the guy who was always the more naturally talented player who........ I guess it remains to be seen. Naturally, I hope he remains as trophyless as possible

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People berate John Terry for being an 'awful role-model' etc. and it just makes me sick to the core - Steven Gerrard, supposedly one of THE ambassadors of the sport, will be, if justice is meted out, a convicted criminal. His passion Liverpool is exemplary, but people seem to forget that what defines acceptable 'passion' in Liverpool's streets would entail a court-date in most other UK cities. His humility regarding Hillsborough, and his tragic loss, gave me the first taste of Steven Gerrard's true colours, and I was impressed, but why arent they visible more often? Watching a, undeniably gifted, 21 year old wheel away from Oliver Kahn's goal after having scored a wonderful goal should be a brilliant experience. But all I saw, and I know I wasnt alone in this, was an expletive laden celebration from the fans, not in a jovial but in a snide hissing fashion, egged on by their skin-head leader. Please dont read too much into the use of the phrase skin-head, as I meant it purely as a physical description, and any connotations I may have included were spelled out - DONT read between the lines here!

Before I run away into a full-size rant, Gerrard is not a role-model. Arguably, neither is Terry, but that's for a Liverpool forum to discuss.

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Lampard-Gerrard debate aside, Steven Gerrard is a fantastic footballer. Whether you believe Lampard to be better than him doesn't make Gerrard any less of a footballer, does it???

Yes, off the pitch, there has been a singular issue. If guilty, Gerrard will face his punishment, as he should. I stress, this is an isolated incident. Like Lampard and Terry, Gerrard generally lives his off-pitch lifestyle quietly (the odd wedding shoot in OK! aside). Lest we forget John Terry isn't a stranger to a run in with the law, and was charged with assault and affray (sound familiar??) and was cleared of both. In July, we can establish Gerrard's credence as a "criminal".

As the Gerrard-Lampard debate rages on, I don't think anyone can say either player isn't a fantastic player for their club. Both have missed the mark with their country. But then in this England team, until they win something, until they defeat the big sides, they never will.

As a Liverpool fan, of course, I lean to Gerrard more than Lampard. Doesn't make Lampard any less of a great player though. They both have different strengths and attributes. They both have various medals in their cabinet the other doesn't. Doesn't make Gerrard any less of a player though, and if he does win the PFA Player of the season, he'll deserve it. Saying that, how Lampard wasn't listed I don't know, but then Van der Saar was, what a joke.

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Lampard-Gerrard debate aside, Steven Gerrard is a fantastic footballer. Whether you believe Lampard to be better than him doesn't make Gerrard any less of a footballer, does it???

Yes, off the pitch, there has been a singular issue. If guilty, Gerrard will face his punishment, as he should. I stress, this is an isolated incident. Like Lampard and Terry, Gerrard generally lives his off-pitch lifestyle quietly (the odd wedding shoot in OK! aside). Lest we forget John Terry isn't a stranger to a run in with the law, and was charged with assault and affray (sound familiar??) and was cleared of both. In July, we can establish Gerrard's credence as a "criminal".

As the Gerrard-Lampard debate rages on, I don't think anyone can say either player isn't a fantastic player for their club. Both have missed the mark with their country. But then in this England team, until they win something, until they defeat the big sides, they never will.

As a Liverpool fan, of course, I lean to Gerrard more than Lampard. Doesn't make Lampard any less of a great player though. They both have different strengths and attributes. They both have various medals in their cabinet the other doesn't. Doesn't make Gerrard any less of a player though, and if he does win the PFA Player of the season, he'll deserve it. Saying that, how Lampard wasn't listed I don't know, but then Van der Saar was, what a joke.

the simple truth with the lampard v gerrard debate is gerrard is probably a better player, yet lampard is amuch more consistent player. id rather have lampard who rarely puts in anything lower than a 7 out of 10 than gerrard who in one game can be magnificent but anonymous in the next. the one problem i think Gerrard has is he lacks tactical and positional discipline. he cant be trusted to play in a 4 as he wanders far too often and leaves his partner wide open.

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The way I see it, is that comparing the two makes no more sense than comparing Frank and Ronaldo. Gerrard is not a centre mid and hasn't been for some time. Benitez played him wide right, and, since they got Torres, off the striker.

They are different types of player, playing in different positions, so comparisons are completely pointless.

Having said all that, the fact that Frank scores more than Gerrard most seasons, provides more assists and on top of that has more defensive work to do would seem to me to argue a pretty strong case that he is the more effective and valuable player.

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Lampard-Gerrard debate aside, Steven Gerrard is a fantastic footballer. Whether you believe Lampard to be better than him doesn't make Gerrard any less of a footballer, does it???

Yes, off the pitch, there has been a singular issue. If guilty, Gerrard will face his punishment, as he should. I stress, this is an isolated incident. Like Lampard and Terry, Gerrard generally lives his off-pitch lifestyle quietly (the odd wedding shoot in OK! aside). Lest we forget John Terry isn't a stranger to a run in with the law, and was charged with assault and affray (sound familiar??) and was cleared of both. In July, we can establish Gerrard's credence as a "criminal".

As the Gerrard-Lampard debate rages on, I don't think anyone can say either player isn't a fantastic player for their club. Both have missed the mark with their country. But then in this England team, until they win something, until they defeat the big sides, they never will.

As a Liverpool fan, of course, I lean to Gerrard more than Lampard. Doesn't make Lampard any less of a great player though. They both have different strengths and attributes. They both have various medals in their cabinet the other doesn't. Doesn't make Gerrard any less of a player though, and if he does win the PFA Player of the season, he'll deserve it. Saying that, how Lampard wasn't listed I don't know, but then Van der Saar was, what a joke.

I wasnt trying to reopen that whole can of worms because, as tim says, its a little pointless now, but I was simply trying to harken back to a time when the two were compared head to head for both club and country.

Gerrard is a great footballer, and on his day nobody can touch him out on the pitch. But I think he has failed to really reach the expectations set out for him five years ago. As dkw says, maybe its an issue of consistency. But in any event, im sure everything will be reexamined if he manages to lead LFC to the league title. His career might be defined by what he does in the next month

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