Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been awarded an MBE in the latest New Years' Honours List.
The list is officially only available for public release from one minute past midnight on 30th January (Saturday) but as ever the details were leaked early.
Gerrard was expected to receive the award a year ago, along with other Liverpool players, for their roles in the historic 5th European Cup win for the club, further increasing the British record for most wins in the competition. Liverpool's comeback from 3-0 down has been described as the best-ever final by many, but the expected recognition wasn't forthcoming.
Stories surfaced later that Liverpool's awards had been taken away in favour of the England cricket team who had finally won the Ashes. This added further to the belief certainly amongst Reds that the honours system was not as honourable as it used to be. Liverpool fans are still astounded that Bob Paisley, England's most successful manager, was never knighted. The snub to LFC a year ago didn't surprise anyone.
Rick Parry commented at the time that the snub was "frustrating to say the least". He compared the Reds' achievement to that of the cricketers (since disgraced in Australia with some very poor performances), saying: "The decision to overlook key Liverpool players from the honours list, despite our magnificent achievement in winning the most prestigious club tournament in the world, was frustrating to say the least. It raises a simple question – just what do you have to do in a football sense to be recognised by the powers that be? I don't want to take anything away from the England cricketers but the fact that the inspirational efforts of the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in helping us win the Champions' League were effectively dismissed is little short of staggering."
Parry also highlighted the fact that the knighthoods to Alex Ferguson and Matt Busby were granted for far less than what Bob Paisley achieved: "We have been here before. The achievements of Bob Paisley, the most successful English club manager of all time and a three-times European Cup winner, were never truly recognised. Alex Ferguson was knighted in 1999 after Manchester United won the treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions' League, but that European Cup triumph remains Alex's sole success in this tournament. Matt Busby was knighted after United's 1968 European Cup success. Both honours were richly deserved but Liverpudlians continue to write to the club expressing bemusement about the oversight on Bob. My own bemusement now comes full circle to encompass the failure to recognise the achievements of the Anfield boys of 2005."
Jamie Carragher continues to be snubbed by this system.
Whilst unhappy at the way politicians have devalued this system, we are still delighted for Steven Gerrard to finally get this recognition. Let's hope the politicians redress the balance a little more – and soon.