Lampard v Chelsea: does he sky it or score?

Widespread pictures of Frank Lampard in a Manchester City shirt made my heart ache a little yesterday. In fact more than that, I actually winced at the sight. Why? He left Chelsea this summer after 13 years of service, so it’s entirely up to him where he plays out the remainder of his career. Realistically though, whilst it was inevitable he’d leave I don’t think any of us expected to see him end up at another Premier League club – or at least not one that would be in a title race anyway.
I’ve said it several times since his loan to City was announced, I wish Frank Lampard nothing but the best. Undoubtedly one of the best midfielders (if not the best) of his generation, Frank Lampard worked his absolute arse off for us for well over a decade. Whether it was winning domestic trophies, Premier League titles or even the Champions League, our all time leading goalscorer has played as much a part in Chelsea’s rags to riches transformation as Roman Abramovich’s investment.
An ever present in the starting line-up for most of his 13 years with the club, Frank Lampard more than merited his £11million price tag and in spite of my initial rage that he’d held the club to ransom over his last contract, his response on the pitch answered every question asked. In other words, Frank Lampard owes us nothing.
Journalists will of course point out he turned down the option of staying at Chelsea this summer but so what? If any employee is offered less than they believe their skills and experience is worth, they’ll seek alternate employment, that’s the way of the world. Lampard will know he has a couple of years of his playing career left at most, his move to New York City FC made complete sense both practically and financially I imagine. Naturally though, whilst his loan to Manchester City was always likely, it was never going to be a celebrated event from our point of view.
Do we regard him as somehow less loyal to us though? He’s Mr Chelsea, he’s meant to love us, right? Certainly if you buy into all that nonsense you might question why he’d want to play for a Premier League rival. Fortunately I live in the real world where ‘loyalty’ isn’t measured by contracts. Frank Lampard was a loyal servant to Chelsea FC throughout the 13 years he worked his nuts off for us, leaving this summer will have been the right decision for both parties, however painful.
As for loving us, he clearly loved being at Chelsea and Chelsea loved having him but like all good things, his time at Chelsea had to end eventually. Now it’s all about respect and wherever he happens to be playing, I’ve no doubt Frank Lampard will have the upmost respect for Chelsea FC as Chelsea will have for him. Reports suggest he asked not to be selected to play against us whilst on loan at City although Pellegrini’s response was less than accommodating, so we’ve yet to find out whether he’ll line up against us in the league.
While you’re waiting to find out though, have a little ponder over this: faced with a penalty for City versus Courtois, would it be more disrespectful for Lampard to score it or sky it?

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