When Frank Lampard sealed a romantic return to Chelsea in July 2019, not only was football’s worst kept secret at the time finally confirmed, but Stamford Bridge readied itself for an ambitious and somewhat foreign long-term strategy designed to bring a newfound stability to the club.
Stability almost served as an antonym for the name Roman Abramovich before the Russian handed Lampard the keys to his sporting palace. In 16 years as Blues owner he had been through 11 managers, sacking seven of them, and in Jose Mourinho’s case even handing one his P45 on two separate occasions.
Yet, Lampard’s appointment was intended to mark a new chapter of the Abramovich story at Chelsea, one unheard of and almost belittled since he first rocked up on the Fulham Road as Ken Bates’ wealthy successor.
Frank Lampard is under serious pressure at Chelsea amid a run of four defeats in six matches
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
With just one satisfying year in charge of second-tier Derby County under his belt, which included a narrow 2-1 defeat by Aston Villa in the Championship playoff final, it goes without saying that Lampard was not hired on the back of an illustrious managerial CV or track record for sweeping up the game’s top prizes.
Chelsea have been there, done that, got the t-shirt when it comes to courting the crème de la crème of coaches. Mourinho arrived for his first stint at the club as a reigning European champion. Luiz Felipe Scolari was a World Cup winning manager when he took on what has since become a poisoned chalice. Carlo Ancelotti a two-time Champions League victor.
But the club knew what they were signing up for by hiring a 41-year-old rookie
None of them survived longer than Mourinho’s 21-month spell (he would later return for an even shorter two-and-a-half year reign in 2013). Scolari lasted a mere seven months. Ancelotti was…