It was never going to be the fairytale ending many had hoped for: Steven Gerrard is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season.
The last of the one-club men is set to go elsewhere for a healthy pay-cheque towards retirement. It just goes to show how rare an achievement it is in the modern game.
Money, first-team football, and numerous other reasons are changing the mindset of modern players. Nobody hangs about for for too long anymore. Manchester United aside, one-club men are hard to come by.
Class of 92
The achievements of the Class of 92 have been documented in numerous screenings, montages and eulogies in recent times. But still, as Gerrard ends his stay on Merseyside and turns his attentions towards a likely move to MLS, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are deserving of the plaudits.
Of course, it helped with stability at the top. Sir Alex Ferguson never even contemplated letting them leave. They were too important for that. Even when age begun to inevitably lessen their powers, life away from Old Trafford was unfathomable. Only when retirement beckoned did they receive their farewells.
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Giggs played until the end of last season, and Paul Scholes the season before that. Neville retired in 2011, but all three retired in the red instead of being thrown out into the dark. Their collection of medals coupled with their lasting impact off it make them legends. Part of the scenery in fact.
All three were valued by the club until the very end, with Giggs so much so that he took the reigns on a temporary basis last year. Respect courses from the Stretford End whenever he takes to the touchline as Louis Van Gaal's deputy. They are deserving of their place in footballing folklore.
Gerrard is a huge influence around Liverpool, but his decision to move on will hurt. It may be at the right time with his powers on the wane, but Brendan Rodgers could rue the decision to let him go.
Leaders are everything in football and now they will need replacing. Options within Rodgers' squad are scarce and it is hard to see where the next captain will come from. Jordan Henderson is a possibility but possibly too young for such an honour. Martin Skrtel may be another but his hot-headedness can often blight him.
These are uncertain times at Anfield but for now those problems can wait. Gerrard has been exceptional, but their willingness to move him on serves to highlight just how special the Class of 92 really were.
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