Liverpool won the Premier League title for the last time on 1 May 1990. Liverpool captain Alan Hansen lifted the Trophy after a 1-0 victory against Derby County. Steven Gerrard watched all the home games from The Kop that season. He said to himself that he will be lifting the Premier League Trophy in the future, as a tribute to his nephew Jon-Paul Gilhooley.
More than a year ago, 15 April 1989, the lives of Gilhooley’s and Gerrard’s family were shocked by a tragic accident; The Hillsborough disaster. Thousand fans were heading to the stadium of Sheffield Wednesday, to watch the semi-final of the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest. 96 supporters found the death that day. Jon-Paul Gilhooley also died; he was just 10 years old. Jon-Paul watched the match with his uncle, who managed to get a ticket at the last moment.
The youth academy of Liverpool FC scouted Steven Gerrard a few months later. Steven has the same passions for the club as his nephew so he decided to do everything what it takes to succeed at Anfield. He had the talent, but it was a hard task. His hard work paid of; He managed to get a contract in 1997.
Steven Gerrard made his debut on 29 November 1997 at Anfield against Blackburn Rovers. Gérard Houllier was the manager and decided to bring on Gerrard for Vegard Heggem a few minutes before the full-time whistle. Stevie G was 18 years old and very nervous. Passes didn’t reach his teammates but supporters that were in the stands.
He played even worse when he made his debut as a starter. He played as a right-back against David Ginola of Tottenham Hotspur, who was voted as ‘Player of the Season’ later on. Ginola danced with Gerrard that match and Steven said in an interview: ‘I hope that my parents are not at home tonight to watch ‘Match of the Day’.
Despite his debut our Skipper started to play better and better. He learned how to deal with the pressure and became one of the best English midfielders. On top of that he stayed loyal to his club. Clubs as Real Madrid and even Chelsea FC tried to sign him but the answer was always: ‘NO’. The reason why: ‘I have never said it before, but it’s true: I play for Jon-Paul’. He wrote in his autobiography.
He played 655 matches for Liverpool FC so far, and 108 times for England. He hopes that he can lead his country to a successful World-Cup as a captain. Jon-Paul Gilhooley and the Hillsborough-disaster runs like a common thread through his life. He donated 500.000 pound to a child hospital and he gave 96000 pound to the Hillsborough Families Support Group, a non-profit foundation who wants to reveal the truth, the real truth, about the disaster.
Steven Gerrard’s mission isn’t fully completed. He won the Champions league, the UEFA Cup, the FA Cup (2x) and the League Cup (3x). He still needs to win the Premier League title, so he can retire with a satisfied feeling.
Original article (in Dutch for VI) written by @tomvanhulsen
Written by @LFC_newsblogger