Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Cult Hero: Frank Lampard

There are several slightly bothersome phrases that have worked their way into contemporary football parlance, like "worldie", or if you're Tony Cascarino, "he's having a Holocaust". And the misuse of certain words has also become prevalent, none more so than the casual way in which the term "legend" is cheaply thrown about.
Yet of course genuine legends do still exist, and if there is one man who warrants this label, from a South-West London perspective anyway, it's Frank Lampard. In terms of Chelsea legends, Lampard is more than worthy and in the view of CollinsBeans, he's actually at the very summit - Chelsea's greatest ever player to date.
Just the numbers themselves stack up incredibly. 649 appearances. 211 goals (from midfield don't forget). Three Premier Leagues titles. Four FA Cups. Two League Cups. One Champions League. One Europa League. One Double. A record 164 consecutive Premier League appearances. Three times Chelsea Player of the Year.
Quite a tidy little list.
Of course football is much more than a numbers game, but those figures do provide an indication of just how good, and how consistent, Lampard was in a Chelsea shirt. You knew what you were getting from Lampard: unwavering excellence. Lampard had such a complete game too - a tireless work ethic, a willingness to put a tackle in and defend, a wonderful array of passing and of course, a great eye for goal combined with clinical finishing. There's not much more you can really ask for from a central midfielder.
Lampard could also excel at either end of the spectrum. Nasty midweek away trip to Blackburn in February: Lampard was there, getting stuck in and driving the side to three points. Champions League semi-final against a European heavyweight: there's Lampard providing yet another priceless goal.
Lampard was that rare breed of player who had both heart and ability, and it's no wonder he's adored by the Chelsea faithful. It was Lampard who scored twice at Bolton to secure a first league title for 50 years. It was Lampard who captained the side to Champions League and Europa Cup victories. It was Lampard who scored more goals in a Chelsea shirt than any man before him.
Quite why Lampard was allowed to leave Chelsea at the end of the 2013-14 is beyond CollinsBeans. And once he turned up at Manchester City on loan it became almost inevitable that Lampard would play, and therefore score, against his team. Yet in many ways that goal against Chelsea underlined the special bond between player and fan - the type of bond that epitomises a cult hero. Lampard's non-celebration was the most genuine you're likely to see; a look that was a mix of horror, sadness and bewilderment. And the reception he received from the Chelsea fans at the game's conclusion, and Lampard's own tears, said it all.
Super Frankie Lampard doesn't even begin to do the man justice.

No comments:

Post a Comment