Steven Gerrard gave us plenty of legendary moments even though he never actually followed through on his pseudo-intentions to join Chelsea Football Club. From slips to own goals to backpass-assists, he’d done it all.
But one of his most amusing contributions to Chelsea lore happened off the pitch, in the Stamford Bridge tunnel in 2006. The day was a Sunday, February 5th, and defending champions Chelsea were hosting competitive rivals Liverpool, whom we seemed to play all the time in those days, both in domestic and European competitions.
As the two teams lined up to walk out onto the pitch, a blue-haired Chelsea mascot got Gerrard’s attention and offered him a hand. As Gerrard went to shake it, the soon-to-be Chelsea legend pulled his hand back in that most classic of pranks, and then had the cheek to give the Liverpool captain a wink as well.
“If it was an adult I would have wanted to wring their neck!” Gerrard wrote in one of his autobiographies some time later.
Fourteen years later, the now semi-professional 19-year-old footballer has been giving his own accounts as well.
“The week before, my dad found out that I was going to be mascot — he got it for me as a birthday present — and said you have to stand out. First of all they died my hair blue. It wasn’t my idea. Then that thing with the handshake was his plan.
”I said: ‘No, I’m not doing it. I’m too shy.’ When I saw him [Gerrard] in the tunnel, it was just instinct. I just shouted his name. All my friends take the mick as I sounded so young. He wasn’t embarrassed. He was just surprised because he probably thought I was going to shake his hand.
”My dad actually didn’t think I was going to do it. He said: ‘If you do it, we’ll go out the day after and buy you five PlayStation 2 games.’ And I got the games.”
-Jake Nickless; source: BBC
“Me and Gerrard actually didn’t speak at all, All I said was “Gerrard!” to get his attention.
”I remember Claude Makélélé and Michael Essien laughing as it happened, and John Terry gave me a pat on the head afterwards, when I walked back to hold his hand.
”I think everyone found it funny, apart from Stevie G.”
-Jake Nickless; source: SportBible
Yes, yes we did.