It was the notification we had all been waiting for. Having fruitlessly checked my phone no fewer than 16 times already on Thursday 4 July, at 9am the news that Frank Lampard had been appointed Chelsea head coach finally flashed across the screen, sending myself and countless other supporters far and wide giddy with delight. Super Frank was officially home.
It had been quite a ride in the few weeks preceding the announcement. The intensity and granularity of media speculation that led up to the Blues legend’s appointment was exhausting. Many news outlets were typically hedging their bets on the official word with such headlines as ‘Frank Lampard to be named Chelsea manager in next 48 hours’, hoping for this unfounded gamble to ring true, and in doing so afford themselves a dividend of authority and credibility. Of course, this just added to the pile of superfluous distractions, which we were all pleased to see the back of!
Lampard spent 13 years at the Bridge, accruing a vast list of honours stretching from that first Premier League title in 2005, to the pinnacle of European club competition on that magical night in Munich where the midfielder led a depleted Chelsea team to the elusive Champions League title in Bayern’s own back yard. So many Frank moments as a player sit firmly in the treasure chest of our lifelong Chelsea memories.
Our all-time top scorer is of course keenly aware of the glories which have come before, and of the standards expected at a top European club. This is a man whose work ethic has propelled him to the very top of the game, just as his uncle - Harry Redknapp - had foretold in that grainy clip which entered the viral slipstream some years ago. And following his retirement from the field of play in 2017, his astute footballing brain was as conspicuous in the punditry studios of BT Sport as it was on the pitch. We all knew the move into management was inevitable. Having answered the call by Derby County last year, going on to lead the Rams to the play-off final, his talent as a head coach was clear to see as he commanded proceedings from the dugout for the first time.
And so here we are. A new era begins in west London with Frank at the helm, who we know will give absolutely everything to bring success to the club, just like he did as a player. Having closely followed Chelsea’s pre-season, which has seen the Blues play seven games and travel over 12,000 miles, it’s apparent that spirits are high in the camp and preparations have been meticulous.
As the season opener at Old Trafford draws closer, it’s like we’ve all boarded a rollercoaster together. The carriage has chugged its way to the top, the nerves and excitement are raw, the feeling of inevitability takes hold and when that whistle blows at 4.30pm, this crazy ride that is the Premier League begins. Come on you Blues!