It would likely be assumed by any individual unenamoured with football that Steven Gerrard is an immensely popular figure, loved by most, admired by the rest.
After all, here is a former all-action England hero and scorer of spectacular goals. Here is someone in receipt of a career’s worth of positive press. He’s more commonly known as ‘Stevie G’ for goodness sake.
In fact – as you’ll no doubt already know, unless you’ve accidentally strayed onto this sports betting site by mistake and hold little interest in the game – Gerrard is beloved by Liverpool supporters but is disliked by pretty much everyone else.
Indeed, one of the chief reasons for this widespread antipathy is the gushing praise he routinely enjoys in print that jars.
Gerrard of course cannot be blamed for this. He cannot be crucified for newspaper men and television pundits alike painting him as a saintly Roy-of-the-Rovers figure for two decades and more.
What is he supposed to do? Phone up editors and television executives and ask to be criticised? No, in this regard he is blameless. In this regard he is no footballing villain.
The same goes incidentally for the other reasons why he is unpopular beyond a certain fan-base. Gerrard is synonymous with Liverpool. He is Liverpool through and through. Naturally then, fans of other clubs bristle at the mere mention of his name. Especially when its framed as ‘Stevie G’.
Swap Liverpool for Chelsea, and ‘Stevie G’ for the more banal first-name term of ‘Frank’ and virtually all of the above equally applies to Frank Lampard.
He too has always been written about all pally-like by reporters who desperately want to be pally with him.
He too is portrayed as an England legend despite the fact that together and apart this duo led the Three Lions to only failure and disappointment across their entire careers.
He too has benefited from more aggrandisement than is normal for a footballer because combined they are the Teflon Twins. All of their professional life they have been placed on a lofty pedestal and kept there come what may
The need to prove themselves over and over – a requirement we demanded from even a much better player in Wayne Rooney – simply did not apply to them.
Worse still, we are witnessing this privilege play out post-retirement too. With very little managerial experience between them both were given plum jobs from the get-go, with Lampard hardly pulling up trees at Derby before bafflingly being handed the Chelsea gig.
A failure to produce the goods at the Bridge didn’t deter Everton from going all weak at the knees at a big name, someone who became a big name via a completely different skill-set.
He failed at Goodison too. Frankly, he was out of his depth.
As for Gerrard, admittedly he impressed in Scotland with Rangers but Aston Villa was an over-promotion too far, one that more seasoned – and much better – coaches could never dream of getting. The former midfielder duly bombed, badly.
Yet despite these clear illustrations of their limitations both these men will be in the running in the football betting this summer when prestigious positions become available.
And they’ll likely get them too, each appointment completely undeserved but club owners read newspapers and watch television like the rest of us. They see this pair held up as gods.
From their early twenties, Gerrard and Lampard have been handed a proverbial silver spoon and boy have they ran with it, taking advantage of all their advantages, feeling entitled and believing jobs in the lower leagues to gain valuable experience is beneath them.
Are they to blame for this, or is football the culprit, star-struck and eternally giddy for reasons that perplex? Bluntly, only us, watching on agape emerge with any credit.
*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*