Its been a strange last few weeks for Chelsea fans with the glory of last season’s Champions League win dissipating with this season’s struggles. Following yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City, Chelsea are now just a point ahead of Spurs (who have played a game less) and just two points ahead of Arsenal.
The turning point in the Manchester City game was Lampard’s missed penalty. But despite that, he is still the most popular footballer at the club. The board might seem reluctant to give him another contract when his current one expires at the end of the season but there’s no doubt the fans want him to stay.
Below, I will give the reasons why the fans love Frank Lampard so much.
The fact that Lampard is English makes it easier for fans to relate to him. The same can be said of any football club in the world – A ‘local’ of that nation will garner more support than non-locals. You can see this example anywhere in Europe – Take Francesco Totti at Roma or Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. This is not to say foreign stars are not appreciated. At Chelsea, the likes of Drogba and Zola have become club legends but its inevitable that Lampard being English makes the fans that much more appreciative of his talents. He is nearing 100 caps now for England and has represented his country at four major competitions scoring 27 goals a long the way. Lampard’s been there, done that and got the T-shirt too. His Chelsea goals record has been consistently brilliant, breaking the 20 goal per season mark for five consecutive years, a great return for a midfielder. His status as a ‘legend’ has been built up through years of hard work and his record at the top level has been nothing short of outstanding. The fans have long memories and they don’t forget service like that.
In total, Lampard has now played 588 games for Chelsea over the last decade and has been voted the fans player of the year for three of those years. His career at the Bridge has been illustrious and he has been there throughout both the good times and the bad. Indeed, along with John Terry and Petr Cech, he is the only surviving member of the team that won the club’s first ever Premier League title during the 04/05 season. He was also the runner-up for the Ballon d’or award in 2005, finishing behind the brilliant Ronaldinho.
Whilst John Terry has had his controversial moments, Lampard also has an image as a squeaky clean footballer and has been a great model of what a professional footballer should be. His humble nature further increases the loyalty he receives from fans.
He is now closing in on the club record for most goals scored and currently has 199 - He is only four goals away from beating Bobby Tambling’s record of 203. Of the all-time top scorers in Premier League history, Lampard is the only midfielder in the top 10.
Despite all this, it puzzles (and sometimes angers) many fans to see Lampard being treated the way he is. Despite the years of loyal service, he looks like he could potentially be forced out of the club.
This is not the way to treat your club legends.
As for me and the majority of Chelsea fans, what ever the future holds, Frank Lampard will always be a legend at Stamford Bridge and we shall never forget him and what he has done for the club, even if the Chairman, board and some others have already forgotten.