FanCast columnist Richard Buxton pays tribute
to Jamie Carragher.
At the age of 31, and with 12 years of
continuous service to Liverpool, Jamie Carragher can be forgiven for making the
occasional error in the Reds' back line. But the centre back, described as by
the club's official website as being ‘the ultimate one-club player with one of
the biggest hearts in football', has come in for criticism in some quarters
this season for making such errors. Many have suggested that he should hang up
his boots with dignity and hand over the defensive mantle to Martin Skrtel and
Daniel Agger. However these critics have not been as vocal against 35-year-old
Sami Hyypia – another Anfield veteran – who has been as consistent as ever when
he has featured in central defence this season.
He may not be able to drag his side out of
a hole at any given moment like fellow Scouser Steven Gerrard but Carragher
embodies the spirit of Liverpool Football Club, both on and off the pitch. His
love and affection for the club and its supporters knows no bounds. The
defender has been described as being the club's fan on the pitch and he proved
as much when he turned up unannounced at the club's supporters' union
end-of-season party, just hours after he had played in his side's 1-0 win over Manchester
City at Anfield. He is a modern-day Gerry Byrne – a local lad and a one-club
man. Carragher draws further comparisons with the Bill Shankly's legendary left
back with his courage. Admittedly Carra did not endure a broken collarbone in a
cup final but he did battle on valiantly with the pain of cramp in Istanbul
four years ago and limped off with a broken leg in a league game against Blackburn
in 2003. The pain barrier is something that rarely fazes the Bootle-born vice
He really is a rare breed of a player in
the modern game. Throughout every season half of Liverpool's first team are linked
with moves away from the club, there is one name that never crops up in paper talk.
Perhaps it is down to his no-nonsense style that stands out in a highly
partisan Premiership or maybe it is his vocal and passionate loyalty to the
cause but one player who isn't linked with anyone from Hull City to AC Milan is
Jamie Carragher. Words cannot describe how much he symbolises the pride, grit,
determination of Shankly's 1960s invincibles.
The Champions League, the Freedom of Sefton
and even a league championship medal are more than fitting rewards for a man
who has given his all to the club he has been part of since a very young age.
He is still in the best form of his career and Mr Liverpool shows no signs of