The Future Goals Of Mr Steven Gerrard
Why moving to LA has made the Liverpool and England football legend a better man.
A lot of people relocate to Los Angeles to find fame. For Mr Steven Gerrard, it was just the opposite. One of his favourite things about living in West Hollywood is his relative anonymity compared to life in the goldfish-bowl environment of Liverpool, where he was the captain – and arguably the greatest-ever player – of his hometown football club.
“The refreshing and the peaceful side of it over here is no one knows who I am, you know?” he says, sitting in the sunshine in the gardens of the Chateau Marmont Hotel, not far from his rented house. “My life is different now. From a lifestyle point of view, it’s completely different.”
Back in Liverpool, where the fervour for football reaches almost religious levels, Mr Gerrard cannot appear in public without being pestered by either Liverpool fans (who hero-worship him) or rival Everton fans (many of whom feel the reverse). But in LA, he can relax and spend time with his wife, Ms Alex Gerrard, and their three daughters, Lilly-Ella, Lexie and Lourdes, and not be hassled. “I can walk down the street, go to a coffee shop, go out for a meal, take the girls to Disneyland or to the cinema and, 99 per cent of the time, people don’t know who I am,” he says. “That’s a nice change.”
Unlike his predecessor Mr David Beckham, who befriended the likes of Messrs Tom Cruise and Will Smith when he played for LA Galaxy, Mr Gerrard does not seek out a celebrity lifestyle. We’re only at the Chateau Marmont, one of LA’s glitzier locations, because this is where MR PORTER arranged the photoshoot. “I don’t go to celebrity homes, or hang about where they hang out. I keep myself to myself.”
He does occasionally spot A-listers in the neighbourhood, though. “I was behind Bono in a coffee shop,” he says. “I’ve been a U2 fan for a long time. He didn’t see or recognise me. Who else have I seen? Chris Martin from Coldplay, all the Kardashians and Kanye West and [Justin] Bieber, a few of the One Direction lads. I sort of have eye contact with some, and there are others who recognise me and who’ll say hello, [but] I’d never approach any of them… I’m not really a celebrity type of person.”
I like to look pristine, clean and classy, and I do make an effort to look as good as I can on TV
It is perhaps not surprising that Mr Gerrard is scarcely recognised because he also looks noticeably different these days. It’s not just the off-duty stubble and the Californian tan, it’s the smile on his face. At 35, he looks happier than he did when he wore the responsibility and permanently furrowed brow as captain of club and country. Anxiety has been his constant companion throughout his career, so much so that he worked extensively with sports psychologist Mr Steve Peters to try to control what Mr Peters calls Mr Gerrard’s “chimp”. Does he feel more relaxed now? “I think it’s been noticeable for all my family, and certainly for me, since I’ve come out of Liverpool and stepped back,” says Mr Gerrard. “It’s almost like a huge weight off your shoulders. I do feel lighter, like I’ve got more time. I’m a better dad, person and friend just because I’m living my life with a little less pressure.”
There can be no doubt, however, that it was when under the greatest pressure – especially the “May Days” of cup finals – that Mr Gerrard consistently delivered. A big-game performer, he’s the only player ever to have scored in the finals of the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup and Champions League – all the more impressive given he plays in midfield. But the one trophy that famously eluded him at Liverpool was the Premier League – a title he came so desperately close to winning in 2014 before he cruelly slipped in a pivotal game against Chelsea, allowing Manchester City to finish as champions.
Having left Liverpool at the end of last season after 27 years at the club, he joined LA Galaxy part-way into its Major League Soccer (MLS) campaign for what he hoped would be a Hollywood ending. Sadly, the defending champions finished the season empty-handed. “When I came in halfway through the season, I think I disrupted the dressing room,” he admits. “It took time for me to settle; my form was a bit up and down.” This season, as the Galaxy’s star attraction approaches the supernova of his playing career, Mr Gerrard hopes to finally add a league title to his medal haul. “Winning the MLS won’t make up for not winning the Premier League, but it’ll certainly be a lovely prize to take home after the 18 months of living here.”
And then what? He is enjoying working for BT Sport as one of the channel’s better-dressed pundits. “I do like fashion,” he says. “I like to look pristine, clean and classy, and I do make an effort to look as good as I can on TV because there are a lot of people watching. I take pride in my appearance.” There is also a rumour that while in Hollywood, Mr Gerrard has been talking to Mr Asif Kapadia, the Oscar-winning director of Amy and Senna, about making a documentary of his life. He chooses not to comment on this. His main focus right now is completing his coaching badges in order to move into management. Can he imagine becoming Liverpool manager one day? “I've imagined it a lot,” he grins. If and when he returns to Liverpool, he’ll take some of his new LA disposition back with him. “If I go back into that pressure situation, I need to learn to live my life and enjoy the pressure and responsibility.”
Mr Gerrard’s Defining Moments
16 May 2001 – The TrebleMr Gerrard scores in the remarkable final of the Uefa Cup against Alavés to complete a unique cup treble that season, having earlier won the League Cup and the FA Cup. Photograph by Popperfoto/Getty Images
8 December 2004 – “Ya Beauty!”A vital 40-yard drive in the 86th minute against Greek side Olympiakos to keep Liverpool’s Champions League dream alive. The commentator’s cry of “Ya beauty!” goes down in football folklore. Photograph by Mr Paul Barker/AFP/Getty Images
25 May 2005 – The Miracle of IstanbulScores the first goal as Liverpool fight back from 3-0 down against AC Milan in the Champions League final in Turkey to win on penalties in what many regard as the greatest comeback of all time. Photograph by Mr Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
13 May 2006 – The Gerrard Final Scores the best goal of his career, a crucial 91st-minute equaliser in the FA Cup final against West Ham, which Liverpool go on to win on penalties. Photograph by Mr Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images
27 April 2014 – The SlipThe infamous fall against Chelsea, which gifted a goal to Mr Demba Ba and the Premier League title to Manchester City. Photograph by Mr Simon Stacpoole/Offside
11 July 2015 – The Hollywood Ending?Mr Gerrard makes his debut for LA Galaxy, having signed an 18-month contract. He goes on to score in his first MLS game, but LA Galaxy fail to win the title. Photograph by Mr Shaun Clark/Getty Images