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Football

Football Superheroes

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.

This is a quote from The Dark Knight film made by the character Harvey Dent aka Two-Face. This sentence encapsulates the struggle that The Batman has internally throughout the course of the film about whether he is helping or hindering the justice system in Gotham City. To some citizens (the people who used to be mugged and robbed) he is a superhero and should be praised for what he’s doing, and yet to others (the elected officials and keepers of law) he is a vigilante and should not be encouraged.

Steven Gerrard has garnered some superhero nicknames including Captain Marvel, Super Stevie G and Captain Fantastic. My opinion is that The Batman is more appropriate as he has “single-handedly” taken on the responsibility of leading Liverpool FC and dragging the team, “his team”, kicking and screaming into cup finals and in some cases to the brink of that long-awaited and elusive Premier League trophy. In another sense, he has also generated the label of “Stevie-Me” or the One-Man team in that Liverpool seemed barely capable of functioning during his absence. The Batman has always been loved and hated for what he does.

Loyal fans and supporters need no reminding of the Champions League game in December 2004 against Olympiakos with Gerrard netting that all-important goal to send Liverpool through; the magnificent 7 minutes in Istanbul against AC Milan in the Champions League final; the double he scored in the FA Cup final against West Ham in 2006. All of these games, amongst many others, illustrate how Gerrard/The Batman took it upon himself to lead, inspire and take control of the team.

The comic book aficionados among us will know that Batman at times has a supporting cast to call upon when he needs assistance, including his crime-fighting sidekick, Robin, his faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth, police commissioner Jim Gordon and occasionally the heroine Batgirl. Gerrard too had his own Robin recently in the form of Fernando Torres – when the dynamic duo were together the Liverpool team, by extension, appeared almost invincible especially towards the end of the 2009/10 season with the 4-0 rout of Real Madrid and 4-1 drubbing of Manchester United.

If one combines Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano into one character that would be Jim Gordon – the guy who helps The Batman to gather information and to placate the legally elected officials. Xabi’s skilful and almost effortless ball distribution and “Monster” Masch’s terrier-like ferreting and ball spoiling skills were crucial in freeing up Gerrard to create space and goals. The role of Alfred has been rotated amongst a number of actors including Houllier, Benitez, Hodgson and more recently Kenny Dalglish.

Any real superhero has his arch enemies whom he does battle with time and again. For The Batman his assortment of villains include the Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Iv, Catwoman and his nemesis The Joker. For Gerrard/Batman his Joker must surely be Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United who have managed to usurp Liverpool as the pre-eminent force in English football.

The terrible start to the 2010/11 Premier League season with The Batman and Robin looking exhausted from their crime-fighting stint in South Africa for England and Spain, coupled with niggling injuries and a new manager meant that Liverpool stumbled from one game to another without any real purpose. The appointment of former Liverpool legend “King” Kenny Dalglish as manager, the sale of Fernando Torres to Chelsea and the acquisitions of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll have all galvanised the club into some great form in the latter half of the season.

One major observation from many of the Liverpool faithful has been the (lack of) impact Gerrard’s absence has had on Liverpool’s fortunes since his last appearance in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United in March 2011. The team has played, crucially, as a team and there seems to be a new sense of camaraderie – people will point to the feel-good King Kenny factor and that is certainly part of it. Another part of it, in my opinion, is the absence of the captain. The much-maligned Lucas Leiva, for example, is shorn of his former nervousness and skittish behaviour and seems to almost be a new player – he has a confidence to his passing and is bombing forward in a Gerrard-esque manner of late. It remains to be seen how Dalglish will line his team up once Gerrard is back – as captain, one would assume that Gerrard will occupy a starting berth for the majority of games (injury permitting).

In typical fashion, Liverpool fans will be eagerly looking forward to the start of the 2011/12 season with some confidently proclaiming “this will be our year!” Steven Gerrard, club captain, will hopefully be back from injury and ready to prove that he can still play and lead this team to more glory.

So what lies ahead for The Batman? Stay tuned – same Bat channel, same Bat time to find out…

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About Ticha Pfupajena

I'm beginning to get the sense that my career as a professional footballer may not happen. As a result, I'll try write about football and sports instead....

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Football Superheroes

  1. Well done hubby xxx

    Posted by Tafadzwa Pfupajena | 13/05/2011, 08:07
  2. A very entertaining read, considering my oft mis-aligned love of football is cross referenced with another C. Nolan masterpiece. Read Memento.

    As stated, next season could possibly be a big one for Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish has been an incredible injection of knowledge, passion and lore to the Liverpool faithful. With S. Gerrard starting next season and taking into consideration their current form and mindset towards the game, a good run at the title could; no, should; be had.

    I’m tickled to hear your comments on the Champions league final. Considering it’s England’s best against undeniably the best football powerhouse in the world at the moment. Guardiola has managed to take an Arsenal-style football briquette and buffed it into a blinding white diamond that is now known as The Barca way. If United somehow manages to keep Messi in check, the game will be won by the managers.

    Looking forward to your posts.

    Warm Regards
    Fr. Gérard Joseph

    Posted by Fr. Gérard Joseph | 13/05/2011, 09:24
  3. My lack of football knowledge allows me to neither endorse nor reject your views, other than to say “well written”!

    My lasting memory of Gerrard will always be when interviewed after the game about England’s dismal performance, and asked what he though was lacking from the English side during the match, he simply replied, “Goals” !!

    Posted by JR | 13/05/2011, 11:42
  4. Innovative soccer commentray column. Maybe consider sending it to “King” Kenny Dalglish and to the club chairman. He may post on onto the Liverpool website.

    The King is certainly what it takes to unseat the Joker in Sir Alec Ferguson … both are Scotch or is it Scot? The return of the Batman will see the Joker lose that smack of a smile that we wears while endlessly chewing rubber gum.

    Take care and all the best.

    Posted by Evans Sanhokwe | 13/05/2011, 13:10
  5. Definitely an interesting read, take nothing away from that. You have shown great skill and presentation in highlighting the rise and demise of the “Old Faithful” Liverpool and with that take great pride and joy.

    The only thing however is that right now, it’s our turn and our time. The Red Devils to the rescue! We could speak and dwell on days gone by under the helm of King Kenny, but the resurgent King has got more then the Joker to contend with and also needs to make room for the other lesser villians that lie in wait to catch the spilt spoils.

    See you in the 2011/2012 season. I was not aware that the family harboured so many Liverpool fans including defactors, this should be interesting.

    Keep well, and keep the blogs coming! Ciao

    Posted by 19 Premier League Titles | 16/05/2011, 10:12
  6. At least you guys have a Batman…we have nothing but a creche full of kids, including the manager.

    Posted by Nothando Ndebele | 17/05/2011, 06:02
  7. Ah well, suppose Liverpool support is un-shakeable. I must say however that, it is the very comfort with old news/ players that is killing the club.

    I have always been a secret admirer of Liverpool and look forward to converting this into real (not Madrid) support soon. For now, I am content with Barcelona and look forward to a thrilling cup final between two giants.

    Posted by Tre | 19/05/2011, 15:15

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