“I’m telling you now, he will go right to the very top. Right to the very top. ‘Cos he’s got everything that is needed to be a top midfield player. His attitude is first class. He’s got strength, he can play, he can pass and he can score goals. I couldn’t be more strong in how I feel about him.” – Harry Redknapp
A quote from Harry Redknapp, the then manager of West Ham, expressing his opinion on a young 17 year old Frank Lampard in 1996 and as it turns out, Harry was bang on the money!
Fortunately for Chelsea fans he was able to become a legend of the game at the West London club rather than the East London club he was playing for when Redknapp made the judgement.
14th June 2001, Chelsea completed the signing of Frank Lampard for £11m from West Ham which at the time come with great scrutiny as many thought of him as overpriced. Funny how times change, eh?!
648 appearances later, the midfielder definitely proved he was worth every penny of that. Becoming the clubs all time record goalscorer with 211 goals, it is clear he wasn’t just turning up, he heavily contributed to the clubs success over recent years and was a huge cog in the Chelsea machine enabling him to win every trophy on offer in his time with the Blues.
Now, you could say that Lampard joined the club at the perfect time because a couple years down the line an incredibly rich Russian took over Chelsea and injected millions in order to transform the team from a top half squad to a title winning squad.
This was a pivotal moment in Lampard’s career because it was very clear from the start that if you wasn’t a good enough player to win trophies with Chelsea, then Roman Abramovic will pay the money to get players that are good enough.
If anything, this allowed Lampard to grow and showcase the talent he had, with the likes of Claude Makélélé, Juan Sebastian Veron, Joe Cole, Arjen Robben all coming into Stamford Bridge over the next coming seasons he [Lampard] quickly became one of the first names on the team sheet week in week out.
In the ’04/05 season Lampard scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers which was a Premier League winning match for Chelsea and was also the first major trophy of his career. In that same season he helped Chelsea win the League Cup and was credited with Barclays Player of The Season.
Impressive performances in The Champions League also boosted his reputation and a lot of people forget that it was only the brilliance of Ronaldinho who was in the way of Lampard winning The Ballon d’Or and World Player of The Year this season!
It was the ’11/12 season that Frank Lampard and Chelsea was able to really put their names down in the history books. Every Chelsea fan will remember it very well as Lampard played a vital part in winning the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. Supplying the pass for Ramires to score at the Nou Camp after taking on the arm band due to John Terry being sent off early in the dramatic semi final 2nd leg with Barcelona, and stroking home one of the penalties in the final versus Bayern Munich. Hands down Chelsea’s greatest club moments that Chelsea’s greatest player had the ability to lead the team through in what was arguably the clubs greatest season as they also secured the FA Cup this year.
In the modern game there are few players who devote the majority of their career to one club. Loyalty is rare and players / agents have a lot of power over clubs in order to get what they want now. On and off the pitch Frank Lampard was devoted to Chelsea, loved the club, loved by the fans and loved the fans, something that I think Chelsea haven’t been able to replace in recent years.
Now Frank is on a new venture in his managerial career with Derby and I can guarantee every Chelsea fan would love to see him become a successful Chelsea manager one day.
Check out more of our ‘Lazy GOAT’ series below: