The news that Steven Gerrard has been charged with assault following an incident at a Southport nightclub has, inevitably, attracted more unwanted, negative press for the club and of course Gerrard himself.
I hate this next sentence but for many it will ring true just as much as it makes other laugh. Gerrard is one of a handful of footballers in this country who can be described as a “sporting icon”. Much of this is down to who he plays for and how he plays. However, it is also due a personal image built up by the media which is something that Gerrard has willingly gone along with. Sadly he has learnt that when it comes to selling newspapers, news is news. Any relationships he may have had with the media in the past, counts for nothing when it comes to this. So yesterday every detail, concerning the events at The Lounge Inn and Gerrard’s past was picked over. Gerrard hasn’t been found guilty of anything yet, but yesterday he was hung, drawn and quartered.
However, I shouldn’t be so naïve. Obviously because it is Steven Gerrard, England international, captain of Liverpool, MBE etc etc and not, with respect, someone playing for say a division two club, the news was always going to be widespread. People like Gerrard will always be newsworthy, regardless of whether it is good or bad, and there will always be leeches who will feed off this. How much did the lank haired so called “fan” who was also in the bar, get for his cr*py photos and irrelevant story? His smarmy, smirking mug seemed to be everywhere yesterday, almost as much as Gerrard’s
No doubt we will also be treated to the usual moralistic claptrap about overpaid footballer’s behaviour and the fact that Gerrard should not have allowed himself to be put in such a position. Yeah right, of course, how silly, we should always remember that because of what they do, and how much they are paid, footballers are different breed from other “normal” human beings!
Basically all this cr*p needs to be cut through. Before commenting on Gerrard and what he is supposed to have done, one should assume that he is innocent until proven guilty. The only details we have are those published in the papers. Because of this, and quite rightly so, Liverpool Football Club have backed their man, and so should we. We owe him this, big time in fact, how many times has he got our team, out of trouble in the past? If it turns out he has done wrong then the bridge will be crossed. However, we haven’t got to it yet although already many seem to be waiting for us on the other side!
Clearly the issue is about Gerrard personally, but inevitably because of our position one can’t help thinking how this will effect the team going into 2009. The timing wasn’t exactly the best particularly as Gerrard has just celebrated ten years with Liverpool and we find ourselves top with an extended lead thanks to two decent victories over Christmas. Innocent or guilty I suspect the “wrath of Rafa” awaits, assuming he doesn’t have relapse!
How will Gerrard react generally? No doubt opposition fans will make hay over this? Big deal, but how will the worry of a trial and its possible outcome, affect his form? I guess it can go one of two ways? He can buckle under the pressure and lose it or he can knuckle down and really focus on perpetuating our challenge. Obviously I don’t know Gerrard personally but I’ve see enough of the way he plays football, and his attitude on the pitch, so my money is very much on the latter.
In the meantime I hope you enjoy New Years Eve and Stevie, I suggest you stay in tonight!