News — June 7, 2013 17:23

The Day I Met Jamie Carragher : Deepak ‘The Asian Kop’ Sharma

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Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports Fantasy FC (Friday 24th May 2013)

As soon as I became aware that Jamie Carragher was going to be on Sky Sports Show Fantasy FC (Friday 24th May 2013) I just had to be there. I’m not one for attending shows but the prospect of meeting Jamie Carragher so soon after he had played his final game for Liverpool was too good to turn down.

JC FINAL GAME

I had actually worked on a ‘tribute post’ on Jamie Carragher for The Asian Kop website a few days before his final game and now a week later, there was a genuine possibility of meeting the great man himself – an opportunity not be missed!

Monday lunchtime, got the email that I had been waiting for – ‘Seats confirmed’ – YES!! COME ON!!

From Monday to Friday, the thought of meeting Jamie Carragher! Yes Jamie Carragher! I kept on pinching myself and I hadn’t even met him yet!  Whistling the tune of ‘We all dream of a team of Carraghers!’ throughout the week, and counting down to Friday, I was buzzing!

I just wanted to say ‘thank you for everything.’

We all know what Jamie Carragher has done for the club and for the local community through his ’23 Foundation’. Committing himself to one club throughout his career, dedicating himself to the city of Liverpool he so dearly loves – Jamie Carragher is Mr Liverpool!

One of my overriding memories of Jamie Carragher as a fan is what he did in Istanbul. Not so much the conversation he had with Jerzy Dudek before the penalty shoot-out, but what he did during the game.

I’m talking about going beyond the call of duty during that match. It was his whole hearted display that continues to stand out in my mind, even to this day.  Each and every attack AC Milan launched into, there was Jamie, throwing his body on the line, winning tackle after tackle, and putting every ounce of energy in ensuring AC Milan did not win that match during extra time. What was remarkable was, he doing this while playing through cramp!

carra istanbul

Watching Jamie fall to the pitch in agony during extra time, suffering from cramp and then brushing himself down and getting ready to do battle again– well, what can you say? You simply can’t forget these things. Those scenes of the red ticker tape bursting in the background while Stevie G lifted the European Cup for the fifth time, were unreal. For me, Jamie Carragher’s contribution that night, remains an invaluable one.

So, all I wanted to do on Friday was, shake Jamie’s hand and say ‘Thank you for everything.’

Friday had finally arrived, it was time…

I got to the studios in good time, and made my way to the building where the show was taking place. Surrounded by Reds everywhere, it felt like I was in Liverpool and not London. Then Jamie emerged from a side door and a ripple of applause followed and shouts of ‘Jamie’ began to reverberate around us. He began to make his way to the studio, holding his hand up and waving at everyone. Some fans put their hands out and Jamie shook their hands as he walked past.

Question Time

The show itself was very well organised, both Fenners and Paul Merson were top draw. The production team were excellent and I would certainly go back on the show again. Infact, I would recommend it to any football fan. There were even some surprise visitors from the Soccer AM show who dropped in to see Jamie.

Both Fenners and Merson put a good set of questions to Jamie, questions that were also on my mind, and like the rest of the audience I listened intently. As they rolled out questions, I watched Jamie answer them. Another question asked, another question answered. As I observed Jamie manage each question thrown at him, it became more and more clear to me why Sky Sports were so keen to sign him up.

JC

When I first heard the news he was joining the Sky Sports team were, my initial thoughts ‘Well he’s coming fresh from the dressing room… he’s a big name and one of the best defenders in Europe. So that’s why they went for him’

But as I watched Jamie, answer question after question with consummate ease, I began to notice that behind this great player was a very astute footballing brain. I could tell he was a football man off the pitch, if that makes sense. You could see he just eats, sleeps and breathes football and as the show went on, his decision to be part of Sky Sports team became more clearer. He just wanted to stay in football as he clearly loves the game. Jamie has so much to offer, and his unrivaled experience at the top will undoubtedly enhance the Sky Sports team next season. And as much as I was gutted to see him play his last game for Liverpool on Sunday, I could understand his reasons for joining Sky Sports. But then I also hope that one day, like Mike Marsh, Jamie Carragher will return back to Anfield in a coaching role.

End of Show

There were around 70 of us in the studio who had been standing for around two hours watching the live show. Now was the time to meet Jamie himself. A queue naturally formed quickly to see him. There wasn’t much time with Jamie, just a minute or two, have your picture with him, get  your autographs and then it’s time for the next person to do the same. I decided to wait till the end of the queue. And as I waited, I watched, one by one, fans emerging from their quick meet with Jamie Carragher with smiles on their face. Jamie was taking his time talking to each fan, posing for pictures and shaking hands. ‘That’s all great for them’ I was thinking, but ‘What’s he going to be like with me?!’

My turn was coming up. During the advertisement break in the studio, I was right at the back holding up my camera and snapping away, when I was abruptly told ‘Put that camera away!’ I was pretty sure no one had seen me, so thought that will be the end of it. But, unfortunately for me it wasn’t. The person that told me to put my camera away was the same person who was about to take my pictures with Jamie. She had recognised my camera and started saying ‘It was you who was taking pictures at the back.’ I tried to convince her it wasn’t me, but that failed miserably. I pleaded with her, ‘Please it’s Jamie Carragher, don’t mess up my picture. It’s Carra!’ She looked at me, smiled, and pointed the camera to the floor suggesting that’s the picture she would take! My big moment with Jamie was beginning to turn into a disaster…thankfully it was all a joke and to her credit she was brilliant.

So I walked up to Jamie, I introduced myself…

JC DS

Me: Hi Jamie, my name is Deepak and I run a Liverpool Fansite called The Asian Kop.

Jamie: Okay (He smiles)

Me: Jamie, I just wanted to say, thank you for everything.

(He looks at me and gives me a rising smile.)

We shake hands and then pose for the camera…click!

JC DS2

I then asked if he wouldn’t mind signing a few things that I had brought with me, including his autobiography which I told him I had slept with a few seasons ago, Jamie just laughed! After signing all my items, I shook hands with him once again and wished him ‘all the best.’

That was it! I had just met Carra, a Liverpool giant and at the same time I got a chance to thank him. Mission accomplished!

Final Thoughts

Over the years, I have been very fortunate and privileged to have met and worked with many of the Liverpool Legends. Each interaction has been special in its own way, but on those occasions it was not rushed and I had plenty of time to talk and interact with each Liverpool Legend.

On this occasion however, I was only with Jamie  for literally a minute or two, but the impression he managed to leave on me was a positive and powerful one. He was very approachable, friendly, and was happy to interact. He did not look uncomfortable or out of place. He conducted himself superbly with all the fans and certainly didn’t appear ‘out of touch’ with the fans. Infact he came across as a really nice guy. I don’t remember seeing anyone leave the studio unhappy after meeting him. There was a real buzz in the place!

And as I finally made my way out of the studio  reflecting on what I had just experienced, an image came to mind. It was the banner that someone brought to the Kop on Jamie’s final game. It read ‘Our Working Class Hero’…I nodded…I thought to myself…he’s one of us.

Working Class Hero Banner

#thankscarra

#liverpoollegend

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9 Comments

  • hi ,im made up you met him.the banner you have for the Asian kop,is fantastic

  • Thank you for your kind words Joe. YNWA

  • Great story. Thanks for sharing. So Jamie was in London on 24th May, I was there too :’). Miss the Legend already… YNWA

  • Thank you for your comments Olivia. Yes, I agree, he will be missed next season.YNWA

  • Deepak, reading this reminded me of this brilliant day. Almost every sentence of yours made me reply ‘same here’ to myself! I can tell you we both felt the same way. No lie, i also said to him ‘jamie, all week ive been thinking about what i should say to you’ (he laughed) and i said ‘and i just wana say thank you for all the memories’
    Brilliant stuff.

  • Thank you for your comments Asim. It certainly was a brilliant day! YNWA

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