Liverpool FC hero Jamie Carragher gave a humble and heartfelt acceptance speech as he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University for his commitment and contributions to sport and charity.
During his oration, which took place in the Anglican Cathedral, the 34-year-old thanked his LFC team-mates and the club’s staff for “putting me on the right path”, as well as Liverpool supporters and his family and friends.
Carragher, one of the Reds’ longest-serving players and the man with the second-highest number of appearances for the club with 699, also paid tribute to the managers he has worked with throughout the years, giving a special mention to new boss Brendan Rodgers.
He spoke to JMU Journalism before the ceremony and we asked the Scouser if he had ever imagined himself to be where he stood, dressed in academic robes for the occasion. Carragher admitted: “No, I’d never see myself in something like this. It’s very smart and hopefully I’ll be able to take it home and keep it!
“It’s not something I’ve thought about too much before until I got the news that I’d be getting the award a few months ago, and I was very pleased and very honoured.”
The Liverpool vice-captain added: “It’s a big thing, I do understand that, to be asked to do this. Stevie [Gerrard] got it a few years ago and it’s a great achievement for him. It’s a thank-you to other people as well as myself; the people who have helped me along the way. It’s a great honour for me and I just want to enjoy the day.”
In his speech during the LJMU graduation ceremony, Carragher told the audience how he related to the pride of the parents attending the celebration, and he congratulated the new graduates: “I finally understand the cheers for your sons and daughters with having my own kids, but they should have been louder in my opinion. Today isn’t about me, it’s about all of you. Congratulations on all your achievements.
“Today is your day and the start of the rest of your life. You should be proud and I hope you have a great day.”
The father of two was described as “a role model for thousands of children and young people, who aims to lead both on and off the pitch”. This is not only evident in his victories with Liverpool Football Club, which include the FA Cup, the League Cup, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League, but also in his passion to improve the lives of children across the city with his own 23 Foundation.
Speaking of the charity, Carragher said: “We’ve just helped open the Anfield Youth Centre for the summer, so you can see the kids who will be going there. If that wouldn’t have been opened there, what would the kids have been up to and where would they have been?
“That’s just one example happening now the school holidays are here and there’s plenty of things going on in the background. We don’t publicise everything because the main thing about charity is helping people.”
The former England defender added: “I always mention how proud I am to be from this city and to always get an award within your city is probably more important that anything you could receive maybe nationwide.
“It’s a prestigious award and not many people get it, but I think you have to remember that this day isn’t about me, it’s about a lot of people in there graduating. They are the real stars for me today.”