If the tabloids are to be believed this morning, then Lampard is half way through his last season with us. If this is the case, then I feel a great injustice is going on. I, along with all other Chelsea fans, desperately want him to stay and it is also very clear that he wants to stay. He is also more than good enough to stay and have a big impact next season, even if he is not the 55 games a season man he used to be. I am desperate for him to beat Tambling’s record and I know that if he was offered another contract, he would definitely do it.
When he reached around 160, I dared to dream of the moment and now it is so close! He has continued to add to his tally even though he is not playing regularly, because this is what Frank Lampard does! I saw a video doing the rounds of Frank Lampard and Harry Redknapp at a West Ham conference in 1996, where Harry defends accusations of favouritism and comments that Frank isn’t good enough. Redknapp made a bold, sincere statement; bereft of the usual disingenuous tone ‘I didn’t want to say this in front of the lad, but he will go right to the very top!’ A timid, 17 year old Frank Lampard sat there looking sheepish, with high hopes but little idea of how true that prediction would become.By all accounts, he is a model professional. From a very young age, he put in the extra work and he has achieved his rewards.
It is amazing to think, but in his first few season with Chelsea, no-one predicted how big he would become. His goal scoring record hadn’t really kicked in yet and people were uncertain of the large price tag. In hindsight, paying little over £10 million for Frank Lampard is probably the best bit of business ever done. I do not need to elaborate on his immense goal scoring and assists record, or his amazing fitness and reluctance to be injured. He was Opta stats man of the decade between 2000 and 2010 and that was more than deserved. Still, people have constantly criticised his efforts with England and some people genuinely believe that Gerrard and even Gareth Barry are better players! There is no question with regard to Gareth Barry, but with Gerrard, I would say there was only 3 or 4 seasons where Gerrard has performed in a way which could put him up there with Frank Lampard, but I would never say better; and that was in a Liverpool team where it was easy to shine, not with a massive multi-million pound Chelsea squad with far more strength!
Call me ignorant, but I just cannot understand why they cannot agree a contract. Everything is in place! The fans want Lampard to sign and he wants to sign. The only stumbling block can be that the powers that be at Chelsea do not want him to sign. If this is the case, then someone needs a hard slap. The man is incredible and will continue to offer us goals and assists, along with the patience to sit on a bench he hates to keep warm, but still come on and perform at the highest level and give everything for Chelsea FC. This is priceless!To display my great affection for this man, on top of spouting the usual ‘model professional’, ‘amazing goal scorer’ praise, I will simply share my twelve favourite Frank Lampard moments:
- His goal against Monaco in 2004 to put us 2-0 up in the 44th minute. We were 3-1 down from the first leg and in the end, we conceded in first half stoppage time and ended up crashing out. However, for that brief minute, we were ahead on goal difference and going through to our first European cup final. This is still one of my favourite ever goal celebrations. It was an amazing moment after a typically clinical Lampard finish.
- His goal on the turn in the first leg against Munich in 2005 – his second of the night to put us 3-1 up. An absolutely wonderful goal which really marked him out as one of the best in the world. It was at the business end of his second really good year for Chelsea and the world was taking notice.
- 30th April 2005. Frankie’s most famous moment for Chelsea at Bolton, when his wonderful brace won us the league title. His goals were at the end we were sitting and it was an incredible moment – especially his second when he and the 3000 Chelsea fans behind the goal knew we had done it.
- Nou camp in the 2006/07 Champions league group stages, when he unfathomably chipped a curled shot over Valdez from the by-line to equalise. An amazing goal!
- In April 2006, nearly a year after he won us our first league title there, Frank Lampard scored and celebrated our second goal in another 2-0 win, in exactly the same position as he had stood the year before. He pointed to the ground in acknowledgement as we celebrated another massive step towards our second successive title.
- The first F.A Cup final at the new Wembley in 2007. So bad was this cup final, I remember very little other than a Giggs chance in normal time and of course, this very special moment! It was a very tight affair which went to extra time after a stalemate. Penalties were looming in second half extra-time when Lamps played a great one-two to put Drogba in. The rest, as they say, is history!
- 2009 F.A Cup final. After going behind within a minute, Everton had given us a tough game in this final. We were heading to extra time in the 70th minute until Lampard typically popped up on the edge of the area and put us 2-1 up with his left foot – the decisive goal!
- His 4 goals against Villa in our 7-1 win in 2010. This was just as we were kicking into gear at the back end of our double season. This wasn’t even his first four-goal haul in a single game. He had done the same against Derby 2 years earlier. A marvellous performance from Frankie.
- His goal at Anfield in the penultimate game of our double season. This was an incredible moment! I wasn’t at Anfield for this game, I was in a pub filled with United fans and I celebrated with reckless abandon, much to their displeasure and my immediate removal from said location. A clinical Frankie finish in a massive, massive game. This set us up to simply needing to beat Wigan on the last day to regain the title. Without a doubt, one of his most important goals for us.
- His penalty 15 minutes from time to take Napoli to extra time in March last year. A penalty taken under immense pressure and celebrated with great relief. His composure from the spot took us to extra time and allowed one of the greatest ever nights at the Bridge to occur.
- This would not appear on many lists, but is right at the top of mine! His two defining contributions at crucial times in both legs against Barcelona in 2012. Both times he robbed a Barcelona player of possession to play a wonderful ball to Ramires. In the first leg, it lead to Drogba’s goal right on half time. In the second leg, we had just gone 2-0 down and all hope was lost. He won the ball and played an incredible ball through to Ramires for him to chip home. This goal was massive and gave us something to hold on to. Typical Lampard, hustling and fighting and never giving up.
- His penalty in Munich! Manuel Neur had just confidently put the German’s 3-1 up in the shoot-out and we were massive favourites to lose. If he missed, we were as good as finished. I remember watching him walking up from our end and staring at the scoreboard, knowing he had to score. There was so much pressure on him and he cut a lonely figure walking up to take it. He stepped up and fired it home – because that is what Frankie does. I am getting emotional just thinking about that moment and how far away from winning we seemed at that time. The rest, as I will delightfully repeat again, is history!
I couldn’t even stop at ten and I could have comfortably carried on to 30. I would say ‘Please Stay Frankie’, but I know that your loyalties are not in question – it is up the club now! If Chelsea do not grab your signature for next season, I will feel physically sick. If you move to another Premiership club, I think I will genuinely vomit.I know that Frank must desperately want to beat that record. I just really hope that one day in the near future, I will be in the stands to see Frankie bag his 203rd Chelsea goal. Then, with great relish, we can all get on our feet, holding back the tears and sing ‘Super Frankie Lampard’ until our throats are sore.