‘Super’ Frank Lampard left Chelsea this summer after an incredible 13 years, 429 appearances and 147 goals.
It was unknown where Lampard would be until the conclusion of the 2014 World Cup, when the 36-year-old midfielder announced that he would be heading to the MLS to join the newly formed New York City FC, despite the majority of fans hoping that he would stay on at Stamford Bridge.
Although hard to accept that a player, who alongside John Terry, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba, became synonymous with the Abramovich era – or perhaps more particularly winning, trophies and victory parades – was leaving the club, at least he was going to a club that were unlikely to cause Chelsea any problems. At least he wasn’t heading back to his boyhood club, West Ham, or joining his uncle Harry at Queens Park Rangers, right?
Right, but what happened next made West Ham or QPR sound not so bad after all. New York City, being owned by Manchester City, announced that Lampard would be joining their ‘parent’ club on loan until January.
It was hard news to take for many Blues’ fans – he was, or is, a club legend, and he would be playing for what seems to be Chelsea’s biggest rivals in the chase for the Premier League crown this season. However, once the initial shock sunk in, it was easy to understand the reasoning behind his decision.
The MLS doesn’t follow the same schedule as the Premier League, instead being played from March to December, and Lampard’s new club won’t begin playing until the 2015 season. This made it clear that his decision to join City was largely to do with keeping up his fitness levels, rather than the specific appeal of joining the Premier League champions. Bearing in mind that City and Lampard’s new club are owned by the same person, they would have been one of few clubs willing to pay his wages for the next few months, considering they would have to anyway.
He could have sat around until March, waiting to play in a league that, honestly, doesn’t come anywhere close to matching the Premier League’s intensity, but he chose to move elsewhere for the time being. If anything, it just shows that Lampard is just as committed to the game as he always has been.
Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea
It was almost as if it was destined to happen. Of course, the Chelsea faithful chanted his name when he came on, but deep down there was a sense of dread that he would be the one to bring an end Chelsea’s 100% record in the Premier League this season.
The Blues were 1-0 up, following a goal from super-sub Andre Schurrle, only for Lampard to score what some referred to as an ‘own goal’ late on, equalising for City and earning his loan club a point.
If the announcement that Lampard would be joining Chelsea’s Premier League rivals was hard to take, the realisation that he had just scored his first Manchester City goal against his former employers was all the more difficult. This was the moment that a few Blues’ supporters turned their back on the club’s all-time top goalscorer, tweeting their hate and anger at his betrayal.
But, for the majority, Lampard was just doing his job – it was Chelsea who refused to offer him another year, it was Manchester City who did, and therefore, he should try his best to perform in ever game, as he did.
He didn’t celebrate, or rub it in the faces of the Chelsea crowd, as some players would and have done previously.
Following his goal against Chelsea, he then scored two goals in the League Cup clash against Sheffield Wednesday, prompting speculation about his extending his stay at Manchester City beyond January.
Lampard should think long and hard about his future, or more importantly, his past. Arsene Wenger summed up the situation perfectly.
The Arsenal boss stated, “You always have two judgements. One is moral and one is legal and it just depends what you consider.”
Despite there being nothing in the rulebook to stop Lampard playing for City, is it not against his own moral ethics to continue on at Manchester City, considering his own Chelsea status and feelings towards the club? That’s a decision for Super Frank to make.
There would be no more excuses about fitness. If he does opt to stay in Manchester, it could very well be the final straw for the Chelsea fans.