FAN VIEW: Frank Lampard is Chelsea’s greatest-ever player and he will finally get the ‘thank you’ he deserves in League Cup clash… hopefully he will be in the home dugout in the future
- Chelsea host Derby County in the Carabao Cup fourth-round on Wednesday
- Chelsea legend Frank Lampard will return to Stamford Bridge as Derby manager
- Lampard is more handsome and better at football than me but he loves Chelsea the way that I do and the club means as much to him as it does to me
Frank Lampard makes his emotional return to Stamford Bridge when his Derby side take on Chelsea.
Blues die-hard Rory Jennings describes his bond with the club’s greatest-ever goalscorer…
There aren’t many things in football that aren’t up for debate. You can find a non-conformist anywhere.
There are some people out there who actually believe that Ronaldo is a better player than Messi. Mental, I know, but it’s true.
However, one thing that isn’t up for debate is that Frank Lampard is Chelsea’s greatest-ever player.
Frank Lampard is Chelsea’s greatest-ever player ahead of his return to the club on Wednesday
The Chelsea legend will be returning to his former club as Derby boss in the Carabao Cup
With the notable exception of John Terry there isn’t anybody who comes close. Peter Osgood and Gianfranco Zola will have a place in our hearts forever and Didier Drogba’s name is woven into the tapestry of the club’s greatest-ever night but it is unquestionable that our greatest ever is Frank Lampard.
I could talk about his record all day long – watch, I’ll have a go… 147 Premier League goals for us, double figures for 10 straight seasons in the Premier League, five straight seasons hitting in excess of 20 goals, captaining us to European glory in Munich, our top-ever goalscorer, one of only three players to both score and assist more than 100 goals… you get the point.
But the Frank Lampard’s Chelsea connection goes so much deeper than that. It’s as much about the man as it is the trophies and goals. Frank Lampard is me. He’s more handsome and better at football than me but he loves Chelsea the way that I do and the club means as much to him as it does to me.
He scored against us one year for Manchester City, equalising Andre Schurrle’s goal. I thought he was going to cry. It was the weirdest away end I’ve ever been in, sheer confusion watching another set of fans celebrate a Lampard goal.
Lampard apologises to Chelsea fans after equalising against them for Manchester City in 2014
In our greatest-ever moment, when Didier Drogba’s penalty went in to win us the European Cup, our entire staff ran towards the Ivorian striker at the end of the stadium that housed the Bayern fans.
Not Lampard. He sprinted in the opposite direction, to celebrate with the handful of Chelsea fans who had made it onto the pitch and the 30,000 Londoners in the stand behind going bonkers.
Generally speaking, 2013 was quite a bleak year for us. Rafa Benitez was manager and the disparity between the club and the fans had never felt broader.
That ended one afternoon at Villa Park, when Lampard equalled and then broke Bobby Tambling’s record 202 goals scored for Chelsea.
Naturally, a swathe of Chelsea fans broke onto the pitch to celebrate with their hero. A mate of mine from Edgware Road was one of them, his overriding memory of the day is the midfielder trying to persuade the steward to let him off while Cesar Azpilicueta was busy ensuring he was promptly escorted off the pitch.
Lampard celebrates with the Chelsea supporters after their 2012 Champions League triumph
This video summed up that night in Munich.
Frank Lampard. A player. A supporter.pic.twitter.com/fwBHYQlIe6
He equalled and then broke Bobby Tambling’s record 202 goals scored for Chelsea in 2013
It’s another example of Lampard being just like me or any of the other 3,000 people in the away end that day.
What an occasion it will be when Lampard takes charge of his Derby team at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
We have never properly got the chance to thank Frank for his contribution. He never had a testimonial and he was sold to City in a manner that left a bitter taste in the mouth.
We have a display lined up for both Frank and for Jody Morris, his assistant.
Obviously, I hope their team get battered, but the vision of those two standing on the sideline as the entire ground serenades them is something I hope we will see a lot more of in the future.
Hopefully, they will be about 10 yards to their left, occupying the home dugout.
Jody Morris will also get a rousing reception during Wednesday’s fourth-round encounter
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