There will be a bit of a review of the football scene perhaps after the FA Cup matches this weekend. Football always gives a lot to talk about whether it’s on the pitch action or speculation on players, managers and that sort of thing. At the start of the season when people were choosing likely runners for the Premier League title there would have been three teams they would have seriously considered – the Manchester clubs and Chelsea.
The two Northern clubs are living up to the top billing, but there appears to be a spot of bother with the club from Stamford Bridge. No more is that issue highlighted than in the case of Frank Lampard. I may not have commented on it if it wasn’t for an interesting post match interview he conducted with Jonathan Pearce yesterday after Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Wolves. Throughout his career Lampard has presented a solid professional approach in all his press dealings. Not for him the flamboyant style, not for him a moody sullen persona, he is all about doing things with dignity and class.
This season, however, the guy has not been as cautious in maintaining that professional stoical approach and surprise, surprise, it’s all down to him not being in the first team. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s understandable that when you’ve been a first-team regular in a team as successful as Chelsea for such a long time, it’s hard to accept not being the first choice. I appreciate it’s even harder to accept when you feel you’re still on top of your game and there maybe one or two other characters who you perceive as not as good as you getting picked ahead of you. All of that is perfectly understandable. To make it a focal point for the media, however, is of no help to the manager and the team.
What it comes across as is the case of a spoilt brat who has been indulged for so long suddenly having his toys taken away and having to graft just as all the other children. It comes across as though Lampard is blatantly stating that the manager is out of order for benching him and at times completely dropping him from matches when he is a player who thrives on being in the team consistently. Surely the ‘professional’ approach would simply be to leave your talking on the pitch and continue to prove your worth in training and with any opportunity given to you. I know a player has to answer questions put to them, but Pearce’s question is a result of Lampard’s manner over recent times.
Personally I believe Lampard’s days at the top of his profession are behind him and he is the symbol of an era that is coming to a close. His job now is not based on his fitness or his perception of his worth to the team. He must now adjust to how others see him. If it wasn’t AVB it may have been another manager who would be looking to impose their style on the club and their authority by explaining to prominent players that they work for him and not vice-versa.
As ever it will be of great intrigue to see how that saga plays out at Chelsea and who will leave first AVB or Lampard.