Lampard’s lifelong love of writing


Frank Lampard took his support for the recently launched Premier League Writing Stars initiative into the classroom this week and naturally, the Chelsea Legend did so at a school a short journey from Stamford Bridge.

Rather than football, the name of the game this time is encouraging children to be creative and to get writing, and Lampard is on the panel of judges who will choose the winners in a nationwide poetry competition.

Football still received more than a few mentions at Sulivan Primary School in Fulham when Lampard arrived mid-lesson as a surprise visitor, especially when he sat down straightaway to answer the children’s many questions.

The subject to be written about in poems for the competition is resilience, and our all-time leading goalscorer was able draw on his Chelsea career, especially the long but ultimately successful quest to win the Champions League, for real-life examples of where resilience has been needed.

The school kids had already been writing their poems and some were read aloud and not to be outdone, Lampard recited one of his own he had brought with him. He is a children’s author having penned his Frankie’s Magic Football series of books.

‘At school I always enjoyed writing, and reading also,’ Lampard told the official Chelsea website.

‘I was always encouraged to do so but I naturally enjoyed it and I think I was a pretty decent pupil, there weren’t any subjects I hated. I loved history, I loved writing and English, I even liked maths but now when my daughters bring their maths homework home, I haven’t a clue, I’ve lost it!’

Lampard agrees that finding it enjoyable in his formative years was important in wanting to continue writing in later life.

‘I think that is why campaigns like Premier League Writing Stars are so great as they promote the enjoyment of reading and writing.

‘Those can be seen as boring by some children and it is very easy to pick up a book and put it down and say I don’t like that, but if you look around there are enough different ideas out there for you to find it interesting.’

Indeed Lampard is certainly expecting plenty of originality when comes to judging the poems along with the other judges who are Caleb Femi, the Young People’s Poet Laureate for London and a slam poet, Lauren Child, Children’s Laureate and author, and Everton player Yannick Bolasie.

‘I think there will be a mixture of ideas,’ reckons Lampard. ‘Children always come up with things you don’t expect and we all have different ideas on resilience. I was talking about my Chelsea experiences but from listening to the children, they took it off in their different relevant ways and there was a lot of imagination. I think we will get some good poems.’

The session was organised in conjunction with the Chelsea Foundation, who deliver a range of exciting education initiatives in schools in Chelsea’s community such as Sulivan Primary. 

Lampard’s visit to the classroom there ended with a ‘Rhyme Battle’ competition between tables of kids with him joining in.

‘I am competitive but this time I pegged it back,’ he smiled. ‘I kept quite quiet and observed, and I was very impressed.’  

The Premier League Writing Stars initiative is open to all primary schools in England and Wales.

The winning poems will be published in a limited-edition book, and other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League trophy school visits. Entrants have until 22 December to submit their original poems.

Teachers and parents can register or nominate their child’s school via PLprimarystars.com, which also contains detailed information on age categories, prizes and judging criteria.

The campaign is supported by the National Literacy Trust and is part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme which has engaged 10,000 primary schools and 13,000 teachers in England and Wales.