Steven Gerrard Bids a Bittersweet Farewell to Chelsea and Stamford Bridge

The Chelsea fans showed respect for a couple of seconds for me, but slaughtered me all game so I’m not going to get drawn into wishing the Chelsea fans well.

It’s nice of them to turn up for once today. The standing ovation from a stadium is always nice, but what’s important to me is the Liverpool fans and they have been there since day one.

~ Steven Gerrard

Spoken like a true competitor and like a Red through and through.  And I think it’s great.  There was just the right amount of respect and disdain from both sides.  The Chelsea fans appreciate Gerrard and his commitment to Liverpool as well as his passion for the game.  But they aren’t about to give him a farewell tour and shower him with gifts a la Derek Jeter with the Yankees. They are Chelsea fans and while they admire him, they also don’t care for him or Liverpool. So they applaud him when he leaves the pitch as a sign of respect for his career, but howl at him while he’s on the pitch trying to score against their beloved Blues. A sense of humanity swept over the Chelsea faithful as they saw one of their favorite pantomime villains leave the stage for the last time.  I can only imagine that the loss of Gerrard will allow them to turn their animus to their own players as they seem to rule atop the Premier League without any clear rivals.

But not that Gerrard is bitter about the reception from the fans or would expect anything different.  He wasn’t looking for a warm reception, which is why he used the chance to get in one last jab at the Chelsea fans.  He wasn’t seduced by the applause as he left the field.  He thanked them for the kind gesture, but reminded them that they will always be second class to the fans at Anfield that have supported him from the beginning.