When Jose Mourinho tried to buy Frank Lampard last summer, a CFCnet staffer wrote an impassioned article telling Frank to leave, not in faded glory but Cantona-esque with his reputation intact. The theory being it’s best to leave on a high rather than let your sporting reputation die in front of everyone’s eyes…..you know, Ricky Hatton style.
Said author also had one eye on Chelsea’s bank balance. Last summer Frank was holding out for a new contract and when he finally sealed it on August 13th 2008 the amount totalled an eye-watering £39 million over the course of a five year deal. With the ghost of Winston Bogarde floating ever-present in the Matthew Harding Lower, it was felt that if Frank got seriously injured or started to decline in stamina, then Roman would have been sold a pup.
It goes to show, what do we know?
Frank has simply been phenomenal this year, without question his best season ever. Another 19 goals again underlines his breathtaking ability to drift into the box at the right time and tuck the ball away often at crucial times. Who can forget his last minute header against Wigan? His last gasp shot against Stoke? His vital Champions League brace against Liverpool?
Frank’s now averaged approx. 20 goals for a straight fifth season. In percentage terms, that’s equivalent to 0.39 goals for every game he plays in. No wonder he’s the only Premier League midfielder alongside Matthew Le Tissier to have scored more than 100 goals.
It’s not just Frank’s goals either. Alongside Dimitar Berbatov he boasts the most number of assists in the Premier League creating goals for everyone, especially Malouda, Drogs and Anelka who have thrived on the sharp angular passes that have set them loose on goal.
Just as impressive has been Frank’s attitude both on and off the pitch. Professional in defeat his actions at the end of the Barca game brought dignity to bear on a situation that was already careering out of control. Each time he’s been called on to lead the team in JT’s absence, Frank’s martialled his team mates vocally and effectively. We haven’t lost with him as Captain this season.
When called on to meet fans, Frank’s always willing to sign autographs often enquiring as to the correct spelling of the name he’s dedicating his autograph to. When CFCnet met Frank at the Fans Forum visit to Cobham, a nicer more down to earth fellow you couldn’t wish to meet.
It’s therefore fitting that last Thursday Frank became the first Chelsea player ever to win Player of the Year three times. From all of us at CFCnet, congratulations. As for the staffer who wrote that Frank should leave, well … he now plays for CFCnet’s youth team. As a reserve.