Lampard could prove to be most important manager we've had
Lampard could prove to be most important manager we’ve had

Regardless of the results, Lampard could prove to be the most important manager we’ve had since Mourinho or Ranieri.

Lampard could prove to be most important manager we’ve had

Let’s talk about legacy: in eighteen months, Lampard promoted and gave serious first-team opportunities to Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, Billy Gilmour, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham (CHO and RLC had already broken through under Sarri).

All of them took those opportunities and if the club is to have any long-term success without falling back into short-termist, mercenary habits, it will be on the back of that core group of exceptional homegrown talent which Lampard brought through and developed.

Lampard joined with the club under a cloud and his own reputation far from proven, and he took a huge swing for the fences in putting so much faith in academy talents whom almost all his predecessors (excluding perhaps Sarri and Ancelotti) turned up their noses at.

That faith was rewarded countless times over. Indeed, it was the big money signings and ‘experienced’ players (Rudiger, Jorginho, Alonso, etc.) who persistently let Lampard down.

It’s depressingly possible, of course, that the next manager, and the one after that, bins Mount to try and get Havertz up to speed; bins Abraham for the next striker-of-the-moment; bins James for a more high-profile, defensively pre-prepared option; Gilmour for Jorginho, Kovacic or a new DM; CHO for a new winger and so on.

However, Lampard has put in place the foundations for the club to develop something truly special and unique its own over the next decade, its own Class Of ‘92, bolstered by big signings but built around that core of academy talent.

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I wish Lampard had stayed longer and I wish the results and performances had been better. It is a cruel irony that Lampard’s greatest success as a manager may come with someone else in charge, taking all the credit.

Make no mistake, though: we, as fans and as a club, owe Lampard hugely for what he accomplished for us as a player.

What he accomplished as a manager, under the worst possible circumstances, might be just as great, even if it only becomes clear long after his departure.

He represented the soul of this club as a player; as a manager, he might have helped us find it again.

I can’t also deny he’s been naive, made mistakes and that the team’s form since the Leeds game would be fatal for any manager this club has had. Even over the course of his tenure, his win percentage (which is a broad brush, but still somewhat revealing) is very low for managing a team of this quality.

Lampard could prove to be most important manager we’ve had

Nevertheless, sacking in this case – as true – feels like the club taking the easy solution when there might be alternatives. The links with Avram Grant were the wrong answer, but possibly the right question: Lampard’s inexperience has been his major shortcoming, exacerbated by having to not only learn on the job in one of the most high-pressure jobs in football, but first during a transfer ban and then during a global pandemic with no supporters to back him and his players up.

Rather than sacking Lampard – again, an alternative might have been to work with him to hire one or more highly experienced assistants, coaches and sports psychologists, people who have been through the kind of slump we’re in and have some knowledge of how to get out of it.

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I’m not going to act as though this would be guaranteed to solve all our problems, but given the very specific circumstances in which club and manager find themselves, it feels like an option which deserves/deserved consideration rather than simply pulling the trigger once things were going badly.

Can I deny Lampard’s form is sackable? No. Have I personally had my doubts about him both last season and this? Yes. Nevertheless, maybe it’s my pro-Lampard bias as a Chelsea fan, but where previous sackings or managerial departures felt unavoidable for one reason or another, at this point there feels as though other solutions are there to be found.

As the article hints at, it’s not as though there’s a perfect replacement waiting to be taken up either. For a move which will likely infuriate a very large section of the fanbase, this feels hasty and to a degree mistaken at this stage.

It didn’t go your way in the here and now, Frank, but you will always represent the best of this club. Farewell.

I love you and wish you the very best; from a loyal Chelsea fc supporter- Henry Igwe Ogbudimkpa

Chelsea rules!

9jatalks

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