One man has come to embody a football club and today he plays his last game at Anfield. Today he says goodbye.
Where the hell we go after today is anyone's guess. We won't be the same though, it will all be very different.
I love my football club, in a fairly sensible way. I don't spend a fortune going to games and I'm not the least bit afraid to say we've got things wrong, or call out players for dragging us through the mud. Sitting and watching twitter sometimes, when a game is on, leaves me bewildered: the delight at others failure (I'm as guilty as any of this) and faux anger over nothing often leaves me speechless. But when it comes to Gerrard the common sense leaves me. Maybe it leaves most of us who love the club.
No League titles. A club in terminal decline since the late '80s. It doesn't make any sense to love one player quite so much from a side that's produced so many 'nearlys'. But within all those broken dreams and false dawns there have been moments of utter, unbridled, joy. True joy. Maybe even the best night of my life is in there somewhere. And within everyone of those moments from the last seventeen years has been Steven Gerrard.
I remember watching Match of the Day and Hanson describing the young kid playing at right back as being special. He wasn't wrong. He was priceless.
When I look at Gerrard play, it looks like how I would want to be able to play for my club. He's our Roy of the Rovers. He's... us. He's the Kop on the pitch. The Scouser. Our captain. The best I've ever seen in red.
It's twenty five years since the League has been won. Twenty five seasons. Too long. But we're not the power we were. We're like a fading star, but at times the only thing that kept us burning was Gerrard. He literally dragged us past Olympiakos with one of the greatest goals ever seen at Anfield. He forced himself off the floor to score that goal against West Ham to bring us level in the Cup Final a year later. And what a goal it was. The best ever in a Cup Final? Probably. And May 2005? I only have to think about it for the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. I've never experience anything like it and I hope I never do again. But without him, it never happened.
The slip? It broke his heart I think. Without it, even if we'd lost to Chelsea anyway, he'd be giving us another season beyond this one.
The club will move on. Somehow. But after today, will it ever feel quite the same again? I doubt it.
Cheers SG. You made us all feel like we didn't walk alone.