Today I address ambition, adventure, work, family, tribalism and that green-eyed monster: jealousy. I refer to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Admittedly, I am writing this on holiday and therefore lack the wall-to-wall searing insight from ex-pros, fans and hacks about what a shock, bordering on betrayal, it is that Gerrard, a grown man approaching middle age, might want to change his job after 16 years and his environment after a lifetime.
But... strip away the objective blindness that comes with being dazzled by his staggering wages and we are left with a man fortunate enough to be planning a family life adventure. Many would do the same if given the opportunity. Most would be wished well in both aspiration and execution – bar grandparents who will pine for their grandchildren.
Steven Gerrard in pictures
Steven Gerrard in pictures
1/11 England Under-21s
Steven Gerrard of England celebrates his 13th minute strike during the England v Luxembourg European 2000 Under-21 Qualifying match at the Madejski Stadium, Reading, England. The match finished in a 5-0 win for England
2/11 England 5 Germany 1
Gerrard celebrates his goal in the 5-1 win over Germany, one of his England highlights
3/11 Euro 2004 qualifiers
Gerrard celebrates after scoring the equaliser during the Euro 2004 European Championships Group 7 against Macedonia at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England
4/11 2006 World Cup qualifiers
Gerrard celebrates with Michael Owen during the FIFA World Cup 2006 group six qualification after scoring against Austria in Vienna
5/11 Beckham and Gerrard
David Beckham and Gerrard in England colours together. The pair were at the heart of England's 'golden generation'
6/11 Beckham and Gerrard
And now Gerrard could follow Beckham in a move to the MLS and LA Galaxy
7/11 Champions League success 2005
Gerrard captained Liverpool to their famous penalty shootout European Cup victory in 2005
8/11 England Player of the Year
Gerrard was named England player of the year in 2013
9/11 2014 World Cup
Gerrard captained his country to the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil last summer
10/11 An early exit
But was unable to prevent defeats to Italy and Uruguay that paved the way to England's early exit from the tournament
11/11 International retirement
Gerrard would go on to announce his international retirement after the ill-fated trip to Brazil
In 2000, I was that person: lucky enough to be offered a chance to move to New York City with my then very young daughters. We went, not for money, but in search of that same adventure, not knowing how long we would stay, or indeed if we would ever return. Why? Because the world is big. Many people would love the opportunity. So, if lucky enough to be given it, you think really hard. It might never happen again. We regret much more in life that which we don’t do.
People driven to leave their homeland due to poverty, famine or war might demur, of course. Those forcibly separated from extended families and friends may never understand the motives of those not forced to. But, all of us understand the desire to prove ourselves and provide for our family.
Lampard’s case is slightly different, given he is separated from his children’s mother, but of course wealth helps shorten that distance. He is pilloried for not yet following through on his American adventure by those who slammed him for signing up for it. Get a life, people.
He was no longer “needed” by Chelsea, so he too looked to safeguard his future. Let’s not be blinded by tribalism or money – the desire to feel vital is very human. NYC still remains on his near horizon. And, hey, Manchester is an adventure for a London boy.
Let’s take that log out of our green eyes to see more clearly that we should not damn, but rather salute them both.Reuse content