Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group wrote a letter of appreciation Saturday to departing captain Steven Gerrard. The text appears in full below:
It is with great humility that as an ownership group, we pen our appreciation to Steven Gerrard ahead of his final game at Anfield today as our captain.
Firstly, it is imperative to state that this afternoon’s match is Steven saying “farewell” as a player on home soil, but it is by no means a “goodbye”.
Steven is a special individual and will always have a home here during our stewardship of this incredible club. He can, and will, return in the appropriate capacity, at the appropriate time.
It is almost an impossible task to properly measure the contribution he has made to Liverpool Football Club.
We feel inadequate when attempting to pay tribute to him, compared to the near two decades of memories treasured by our supporters. The accolades he has received do not begin to portray what this person means to our club, the wonderful city of Liverpool, and the football community.
His Liverpool career in numbers only tells part of the story: over 700 appearances, over 180 goals and a trophy cabinet which is full to bursting. All this is even more impressive when you consider the advances he has spurned and the opportunities he walked away from to stay loyal to the club, which is part of his DNA. That loyalty, sacrifice and dedication means he will forever be – as Margaret Aspinall so fittingly said – “more than just a footballer”.
Our lasting impression of Steven Gerrard will be one of a leader who has always put the club and team ahead of himself.
Steven and Liverpool Football Club will be forever entwined — he reflects the club’s best values. In the same way, we hope our ownership mirrors his beliefs and commitment. If you were only given one word to sum up Steven Gerrard it would have to be ‘Liverpool’. The two are synonymous.
Steven has always displayed to us the leadership qualities that have defined his career — the same qualities that saw him lead his country’s team, as well as the club. When we sought his counsel he was forthright, but also constructive and insightful. We knew in consulting Steven we would get honesty, integrity and passion.
It is our firm belief that this afternoon’s Anfield farewell marks the conclusion of a chapter of Steven’s Liverpool story, but it in no way closes the book.
He will have a part to play in our future, but today is about remembering the memories of his glorious present and past.
Finishing, we return to a topic we addressed above, which is an acknowledgement that there are those far better placed to summarize Steven’s achievements and qualities than ourselves.
We believe it was his close friend and former teammate, Jamie Carragher, who said: “Steven Gerrard’s biggest strength is that he has no weakness.”
We thank Steven for his service as a player, we honor Steven for his leadership as a captain, and we vow to Steven the Liverpool supporter that we will continue to work hard to bring success to the club he adores.
John (Henry), Tom (Werner) and Mike (Gordon)
Thumbnail photo via Jon Super/Associated Press