It’s safe to say Chelsea fans are disappointed with Frank Lampard. Even the ones that weren’t, are now disappointed because of his decision to continue to play for Man City until the end of this season.
Whenever Chelsea fans show their feelings about Lampard playing for City, the instant response they get from rival fans is, ‘you shouldn’t have let him go then’. That’s a boring and flawed argument.
Chelsea were right to let go Lampard. We were building a squad for the future and were establishing a certain playing philosophy. Lampard, at this age with his strengths and weaknesses, couldn’t have played 50 games for us this season. The insider stories/rumours say that he was offered a short term contract for lesser money and possibly lesser on pitch involvement. At that time, Lampard was supposed to have said that he thinks he has few years of regular football in him and hence he wasn’t gonna be happy with playing a bit-part role at Chelsea. He was going to NYCFC where he will play as a regular starter, more money and longer contract than what Chelsea offered. That made sense.
What did not make sense is Lampard spending a season with City suddenly finding it all right with the bit part role. He’s hardly the regular starter at City and he will never be. If he was okay to play this role, he could have done this at Chelsea. And that’s the point.
The argument of Lampard not being aware that he would have to play for City just doesn’t hold good given the lawyers at his disposal and the scrutiny that normally goes into contracts.
It does look like Lampard wants to prove a point to the power centres at Chelsea but he should know very well that when he tries to do that he’d also be upsetting the Chelsea fans that were supporting and singing his name, even after he scored against Chelsea.
Players of certain profile do not leave their club and join their rivals. And when they do, it does impact their legendary status at the club. Lampard’s situation is probably unique. Even Pirlo left Milan for Juve. But the situation was different. He was supposed to play second fiddle for players inferior to him and he still thought he could be a regular starter in his preferred position. Even for Juve, he’s been making more than 30 starts per season. Pirlo’s move was clearly for footballing reasons and he stands vindicated. Lampard, on the other hand, has made 4 starts in the half season so far.
The world knows that it’s a two horse race for the premier league title between Chelsea and City. It’s been like this even before the season began. So while joining City he’d have certainly known that his success is Chelsea’s defeat. Still we went for it and even extended his contract with City now to stick two fingers up.
In summary, Chelsea were right to let him go. What Lampard is getting at City, he would have got at Chelsea, except of course the money. So it’s all money then? I don’t want to think it is. Look, Lampard has been a great professional. Once he puts on the shirt whether it’s royal blue or sky blue, he goes about doing his business. It’s not about that. It’s about putting himself in a situation where he acts in detriment to the fans who supported him through thick and thin.
Hope Lampard has a deserving career and a retirement ahead. If he were to contribute in any way to deny Chelsea any honours or win honours for a club that denies Chelsea, then the fans’ love and affection will factor that into account and you can’t blame the fans for their reactions. After all, the Chelsea fans’ love for Lampard is not just for the football player but particularly the Chelsea player.