Football is a business, players and agents are mercenaries at times with club boards and owners happy to see players leave if they don’t offer what they need anymore.
That is all true, but in the case of Frank Lampard, surely something more was deserved?
The man is, without a shadow of a doubt, an utter legend. Not just a Chelsea legend, but a footballing one.
That term is overused and bandied about far too often in the modern game, but for the midfielder it is no exaggeration.
The stats tell you it all.
He is Chelsea’s all time top goal scorer with 211 goals. He has made 648 appearances for Chelsea and has won individual accolades ranging from being nominated for the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year – winning the sliver award both times in 2005 to winning various Chelsea and PFA awards, not to mention winning every single trophy on offer in the domestic game. And not in the way that people like Wes Brown can claim to have Premier League medals. Lampard has been at the heart of the Chelsea side for the last decade and the loss of such a player is huge.
Not only is it devastating in terms of his presence on the field, the team sheet and in the locker room, but it has killed Chelsea fans to see their favourite son (and yes, that honour is hands down reserved for Lampard, not as Mr JT Chelsea likes to think, for himself) forced out of the club without so much as a goodbye.
Fans at the final home game of the season, or indeed anyone who saw the pictures of Ashley Cole crying on the field and comforted by the likes of Terry and ironically Lampard were reminded of Didier Drogba’s goodbye after kicking the winning ball in Munich. It was clear the left back’s time at the club was up. He knew it, the fans knew it and it was time to say goodbye. And they did.
Lampard meanwhile looked slightly nostalgic, but from his face and actions it was clear he thought a new deal would be sorted out and he would be back for a final season. That has not come to pass and now it seems that a move to the MLS is on the cards – and Chelsea fans feel robbed.
In fact, the sense of loss is on a par with being knocked out of Europe in the 89th minute by an Andres Iniesta away goal. It is gut wrenching and heart breaking. Where is the opportunity to say goodbye to Lampard or indeed allow him to do the same? Fans want to show the player how much he is loved and appreciated – and an open letter from the number eight simply does not cut it.
Of course, when he finally hangs up his boots, Lampard will get a testimonial at Stamford Bridge – and so he should. The ground will be overflowing with fans ready to express their love for the player – and it is a love that is mutual.
When so many misguided fans – who clearly had eyesight on a par with Stevie Wonder- claimed that Lampard was fat or a waste of space, Chelsea fans stuck by him. As well they should.
Lampard came through for Chelsea time and time again, popping up with goals, assists and never failing to produce on the big occasions.
It was Lampard who forced the Steven Gerrard own goal to take the Carling Cup final to extra time and send Chelsea on their way to the first trophy of the Mourinho era.
It was also Frank Lampard who scored the winning goal at the Reebok Stadium in 2005 to confirm Chelsea’s first title in 50 years and scored against them the season after to send the Blues on their way to a second title.
He scored the penalty to send Chelsea to the Champions League final just days after his mother had passed away, devastating him. He scored and set up goals en route to winning the FA Cup in 2009, scoring the winning goal in the final.
He skippered Chelsea to winning at the Camp Nou after the sending off of John Terry and led the side in Munich – the greatest night in the history of Chelsea Football Club and one that most people associate with Petr Cech and of course Didier Drogba – but it was just as much Lampard’s.
The midfielder did more than a captain’s job. He was sensational. He defended, pushed forward when he could, rallied the troops and stepped up to score his penalty in the shoot out.
Chelsea and Frank Lampard have shared far more moments than that – his 200th goal against West Ham of all clubs comes pretty close to the top – and the chant of Super Frankie Lampard will not fade away from the terraces at Stamford Bridge anytime soon.
Lampard is a living, breathing legend, and the Chelsea board have done both him and the fans an unspeakable disservice by letting him leave via the back door. If anyone deserved a send off to rival that of kings, it was Lampard.
Should Lampard have been given a one year deal? Have Chelsea made a massive mistake here? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.