Just seven months into Graham Potter’s winning and losing spree which led the prodigal son to being sacked than the return of Mr. Frank Lampard. Frank has returned to manage the club, at least until the end of the 2022/23 season.
‘This is my club’ says Frank Lampard as he returns to Chelsea. Frank then said the chance of a sensational return to Chelsea as caretaker manager had come out of the blue, but he would not rule out taking the role on a longer-term basis.
Lampard will hold the fort at Stamford Bridge for the rest of this season while the club assess potential longer-term successors to Graham Potter, who may include Julian Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique, and Abel Ferreira. Only twenty-six months have passed since he was sacked by Chelsea’s previous regime, and having departed his most recent post at Everton in January, the prospect of a call from his old club may have appeared far-fetched.
But the 44-year-old is back with the brief to rescue a floundering Premier League campaign and, in the first instance, guide Chelsea past Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals. It is ostensibly a short-term appointment but he stopped short of accepting a line will be drawn under his tenure in two months’ time. “I’m not getting ahead of myself,” he said. “I want to do the best I can to impact the club in this period and we will see what happens afterwards.”
Parallel with the job Roberto Di Matteo accomplished in 2012, being named interim manager in March and subsequently guiding Chelsea to the Champions League before taking the job permanently, will become irresistible if they overthrow the reigning holders, Real. “Roberto did an incredible job to stay on, but that’s a different time in the club’s history,” Lampard said. “It won’t be my decision, to stay on or not as such. I expect those questions, but what is important for me is to park it to one side and get on with the job.”
Can Frank make a difference is a good question? Lampard took the permanent role in July 2019 to a hero’s welcome, but left without winning a trophy. “For me, it’s not about unfinished business,” he said. “That sounds a bit Hollywood. I just want to work and help the club as much as I can.”
The offer came as a surprise, Lampard said, but it took little consideration. “It’s a pretty easy decision. This is my club. I have a lot of emotions and feelings. I’ve come with a belief I can come and help the cause until the end of the season. I’ll give my utmost to give the fans what they want.”
Lampard took pains to distance himself from suggestions his presence in the stands at Tuesday’s goalless draw with Liverpool, less than 24 hours before talk of his return gathered serious traction, was related to the appointment. It was his first visit to a match at Stamford Bridge in any capacity since his first stint which lasted a year and a half, and was terminated. “I arranged to be at the game two weeks ago,” he said. “I can imagine what it looked like but I can guarantee we had not started talking by then.”
Life since leaving Everton, who he kept up last season before struggling in 2022-23, had largely been devoted to his family but he feels the latest twist in his career is one he has earned. “When this came up it was a big opportunity, and it is an opening that I also think I have worked for, because I played as a professional for 20 years or so, I worked and I learned the game,” he said. “I have worked with managers and teammates that have inspired and affected me, and coached fantastic clubs with different pressures and elements to them. So I worked to be here.”
Chelsea, who are in 11th, 14 points behind the Champions League front spot, face Wolves at Molineux on Saturday. Lampard hopes his backroom staff, expected to include Ashley Cole, Joe Edwards and Chris Jones, will have been finalised by then.
The club’s co-owners, Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, said in a statement: “We are delighted to welcome Frank back to Stamford Bridge. Frank is a Premier League Hall of Famer and a legend at this club.
Have a terrific day!
Prof. Carl Boniface
Source: The Guardian (edited edition)