Today, July 4, Frank Lampard marks the official anniversary of his first season as Chelsea head coach.
After just one season at the helm at Derby County, Lampard was given the huge task of taking on the Blues amid trouble off the pitch.
Chelsea managers have never been given much grace by Roman Abramovich, who is ready to swiftly replace those in charge if performances do not match his ambitions.
There would be high expectations, the 41-year-old said. A dose of goodwill would be inevitable at the beginning but no favours would be sought based on his success during 13 seasons as a player at Stamford Bridge.
If the results were not up to scratch then he would be judged the same as any of his predecessors.
But there were extenuating factors. Those high expectations had been lowered because Lampard was inheriting a squad that had lost its best player, Eden Hazard, to Real Madrid and with no chance of bolstering the ranks as a result of the club’s two-window transfer ban.
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Instead there would be a reliance on blooding young players, something supporters had desired for years but a succession of managers had decided against – largely because of Abramovich’s deep pockets when it came to the transfer market.
So with a relatively novice manager, a young squad and top-four rivals spending big, teething problems seemed inevitable last July. Many fans were strapped in for a rocky ride, even though their wishes regarding academy talents were about to be granted.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019/20 campaign has been a season like no other, and while Lampard should be preparing for the 2020/21 season, the Blues are trying to complete the current campaign.
football.london have been there every step of the way in a fascinating season, and here is the definitive inside look of his debut campaign.