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History Will Not Leave Jamie Carragher In The Shadows

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Following the announcement today that Jamie Carragher will retire at the end of the season, Gavin Cooney comments on the Liverpool legends career.

Jamie Carragher

It is an oft – recited tale. Having toed the Rubicon of physical limits during that Champions League final in 2005, Jamie Carragher was left in the shadows. The cramp, so debilitating and excruciating in the final half – hour against AC Milan, returned on the podium just as the cup was lifted. Carragher, the local lad, Bootle’s Byzantine hero, should have been beside Steven Gerrard for arguably the greatest photograph in Liverpool’s glorious history. Instead, Carragher was hobbling in the shadows at the back of the podium as his rightful place beside his captain was instead filled by Josemi. Josemi’s contribution to Liverpool fell somewhere between slim and none. Without Carragher on the other hand, Liverpool would not have been Champions of Europe.

While Carragher was left in the shadows at the crowning glory of his career, he will be one of the most prominent names in the annals of Liverpool Football Club. His career transcended simply being a fine footballer for the club; he was the club. Football is ultimately a means of representation and self – expression. For example Brazil’s flair and skill is representative of the small guy surviving on the streets through individual skill and craft. Football in England was the working – class sport, hence the intense, collective never-say-die attitude propagated in the country. Jamie Carragher embodied Liverpool.

It was the city that would not yield to Thatcher, the city that gritted its teeth during adversity and came out the other side. Carragher never yielded; never gave in. To see a product of Bootle containing the greatest players in Europe was edifying. None of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho, Didier Drogba, Andriy Shevchenko and Hernan Crespo will forget Jamie Carragher. He was the personification of Liverpool’s rise. From rioting in Toxteth to European Capital of Culture. From Sunday League to Champions League. Not bad for an Everton fan.

[sws_pullquote_right] “It has been a privilege and an honour to represent this great club for as long as I have and I am immensely proud to have done so and thankful for all the support I have had. There are many memories I want to share and people to thank, but now is not the time for that.”
– Carragher. [/sws_pullquote_right]Carragher’s greatest characteristic was his leadership abilities. Rafa Benitez recognised this. Previously a utility defender, Benitez saw in Carragher the leader he required and made him the heart of his defence. (So much so that the actual captain, Steven Gerrard, was allowed drift alarmingly close to Chelsea). He was from the Franz Beckenbauer school of defending; remedying a lack of pace with an inch – perfect reading of the game. Beckenbauer once said, having been asked how he gets from ‘A’ to ‘B’ with such little pace, that he is never at ‘A’, always ‘B’. The myriad images of Carragher performing last – ditch challenges show how Liverpool’s number 23 always knew when and where to be on the football pitch.

Typically of the man, his retirement leaves Brendan Rodgers with a headache. The competitive Carragher had no time for wasting time, and his last season is not the futile lap of honour many thought it could be. He has played his way back into the side, and leaves Liverpool with three centre halves. Daniel Agger is injury – prone, Sebastian Coates is not fancied and Martin Skrtel is out of form.

Aside from the Premier League, Jamie Carragher has won it all. He has battled from Cardiff to Istanbul to Athens to Wembley. He will not remain in the shadows in the LFC history books. He will cast a shadow over his successors. He is football’s ultimate working class hero. If there is one thing to take from his long, illustrious career it is that a working class hero is something to be.

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Gavin is an aspiring journalist and student, studying English and History in Trinity College, Dublin. He has written articles for the Irish Independent and Tattooed Football.
  • dilip pinto

    A legend retires. words cannot express his contribution and service to Liverpoolfc.. YNWA..

  • rodgers supporter

    is it final? is he retireing?

  • JOHNBARRETT

    Absolute legend, the team will miss a great player, I hope he stays and helps Brendan make the team great again!!!!

  • barraob1

    Can’t believe he’s retiring, you know players can’t play for ever but when guys like Jamie retire it leaves a gap. Thanks Jamie YNWA.

  • Kirk Dale

    Sad day . Deserves every accolade that comes his way , all the very best Carra . We all dream of a team or Carraghers , you done us and yourself proud , and I actually don’t think you realise how good sorry great you’ve been LEGEND the word does get bandied about , but how else could you describe Carra

  • Kirk Dale

    Of Carraghers

  • Rederik

    A working class hero who is pure class, Jamie sums up every teams dream of the perfect player , not a greedy person , not a selfish person , not a lazy person, but a man with the heart of a lion, a man whom every time he put,s on the shirt you know will not let the team down in any shape or form, Jamie I don,t know how when you stand down Liverpool F.C can replace you , but I do know that like every other Liverpool supporter in the world you make us proud to belong to the greatest team in the world YNWA .

  • etenalecouter

    Great lad CARRA!! THANK YOU very much for all your service to LIVERPOOL FC.
    Its a great pride that you played for our side.

  • eskimo

    terrific article. sums up everybody’s thoughts on his retirement. modern football needs more characters like this, we’re gonna miss you carra! YNWA

  • Redblooded Male

    Yeats, Hansen, Thompson, Hyypia, Carragher. I have not listed these in order, I’m merely highlighting the company he’ll keep in the Anfield hall of Fame. His testimonial will really be something. I can see likes of Rush, Dalgleish, Fowler, Barnes, Heskey, Hamann, Dudek etc, even Alonso turning out for this man’s farewell to the the game. 13+ matches left for us to witness a legend in action. YNWA Carra

    • kevin

      I think you’ll find he’s already had his testimonial mate

  • Darryl W

    A LFC legend, LFC through and through, his leadership ability is second only to Stevie at LFC and it leaves us desperately short of leadership at LFC Gerrard is the ONLY player other then Jamie that’s capable of captaining the team, not only do we have to replace Jamie (somehow), but this player has to be able to lead the defence and maybe the the team in time.

    As we saw against Oldham Skrtel is simply not capable of leading anything, Carragher would be my choice of captain in the Europa league matches for as long as we’re in the competition, let him pass as much experience onto the young players whilst he still can.

    YNWA Jamie Carragher!!!

  • tony

    I was shocked to hear he was retiring he’s still got a lot to offer the team and i believe he still has another season or two in him. I remember last season hearing some people run him down, i said that carra always put the team first and when the day came where he had any doubts about his ability to still be of value on the pitch, then he would walk away, he wouldnt need to be pushed. As it is he will walk away with his head held high, knowing he’s finishing at the top. He has been immense for this club , his loyalty and passion has never wavered, a true legend of this great club. We have been fortunate to have one of our own the field of play, someone we knew felt the same passion for the club that we did. I will be sad to see carra go & i wish him all the best with whatever comes next. I dearly hope he remains at the club as a coach, it would be a massive shame if he left the club entirely, his incredible wealth of experience, passion, & heart would be a real loss to LFC. I’ll savour each remaining appearance of carra’s until the end of the season. All the best Carra you’ll never walk alone.

  • hugo the horrible

    I had hoped Carra would have anther year in him but he knows best what is best for him.
    Huge boots to fill and I really hope we see him in a coaching/managerial role here.
    YNWA Jamie.