Frank Lampard has been appointed as Chelsea’s new head coach, becoming the sixth former England international to grace the home dugout at Stamford Bridge.
The former Blues and Three Lions midfielder earned all but two of his 106 England caps during his time as a Chelsea player, meaning he made more international appearances than any other player in the club’s history.
However, Super Frank hung up his boots in 2017, and now returns to SW6 as a manager rather than the goalscoring midfielder who won over the fans at the Bridge, using that wealth of experience with Chelsea and England from the bench to help the Blues achieve success in 2019/20.
He isn’t the first England international to take charge of the Chelsea team after the end of their playing career, though, and is actually the third Blues boss to have played for both Chelsea and England.
Perhaps the most well-known, at least in terms of his time as Chelsea manager, is the most recent Englishman to have taken the role at Stamford Bridge before Lampard, Glenn Hoddle.
Despite his strong links to London rivals Tottenham as a player, Hoddle’s 53 England caps, elegant style and willingness to embrace innovations from abroad meant he was widely respected in the game and at the Bridge.
Initially joining as a player-manager, he made 39 appearances over two seasons, mostly as a continental-style sweeper, before finally hanging up his boots. However, he is best remembered as the man who kick-started the revolution at Chelsea, which set us on our way to becoming the modern club we are today.
Under his management between 1993 and 1996, we reached the FA Cup final for the first time since 1970, enjoyed another run in the European Cup Winners’ Cup and big-name foreign signings such as Ruud Gullit started to arrive at the Bridge for the first time, meaning Hoddle left quite a legacy when he departed to become England manager.
The other two English internationals who both played for and managed Chelsea can consider themselves unfortunate not to have won more caps with the Three Lions. John Hollins, the tireless midfielder who represented the Blues 592 times across two spells playing at the Bridge, faced stiff competition for an international place during arguably the strongest-ever era for England.
Despite being named in Sir Alf Ramsey’s provisional squad for the 1966 World Cup as a 19-year-old, he had to wait another year to make his international debut and it would turn out to be his only cap. Thankfully he enjoyed more appreciation with the Blues, being a key member of the side which won the 1965 League Cup, 1970 FA Cup and 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup.
His time as a manager brought more mixed fortunes, after stepping up to take over from John Neal due to the latter’s ill health. He led us to silverware at Wembley by beating Manchester City 5-4 in the Full Members Cup final in 1985 and enjoyed a promising first season as manager, but he was unable to maintain those standards during a difficult period for the club on and off the pitch, and resigned three years later as the club struggled towards relegation.
The other, Ken Shellito, sadly found his chances as a player for club and country hindered more by injury than the competition. Many of those who played alongside him at Stamford Bridge from the youth team to the senior side are adamant Shellito would have been England’s first-choice left-back in the glorious 1966 World Cup campaign, if it were not for the freak knee injury which ended his career early. As it was, he played his final match for the Blues aged just 23, a year before that tournament.
He then moved into coaching within the same Chelsea youth system he had graduated from, meaning when the club looked for a new manager in 1977, knowing financial problems meant he would be restricted largely to relying on the club’s youngsters, Shellito seemed the natural choice as the man who knew those players best.
The plan saw initial success, as the goals from home-grown talents Tommy Langley and Clive Walker secured our top-flight status in the first season, with some memorable performances along the way, not least our thrilling victory over European champions Liverpool in the FA Cup.
However, the club’s position proved unsustainable in the long term, with the latest young side unable to match the golden generations of the early Sixties and Seventies, and Shellito departed the following season unable to arrest our slide towards the bottom of the table.
One of England’s most famous internationals also had a brief spell as Chelsea manager. Geoff Hurst, like Lampard a graduate of West Ham’s youth set-up, had his only professional management job at the Bridge. Of course, he is better known for scoring a hat-trick in England’s World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1966, feeling the exact opposite emotions to Lampard when his shot came down off the crossbar and was controversially given by the linesman, in contrast with our new boss’ ‘ghost goal’ against the Germans in 2010, which went ungiven despite clearly crossing the line.
Hurst stepped up from coach to Chelsea manager in 1979, but we fell just short of promotion to the top flight by the narrowest of margins in his first campaign, missing out on goal difference despite beating Oldham 3-0 on the last day. The next season started well too, but our form tailed off as the campaign went on, resulting in Hurst deciding football management wasn’t for him.
That leaves the first of the England internationals to have managed Chelsea, Ted Drake, another who put his playing history with one of our London rivals behind him to come to SW6.
An Arsenal legend with an impressive strike rate of six goals in five international appearances in the 1930s, Drake took over at Chelsea in 1952 and promptly established the club as genuine trophy contenders for the first time. He now has a suite at Stamford Bridge named after him, which happened to be the room chosen to unveil Lampard to the media as Chelsea’s head coach.
An uncompromising character, he set about a rebuilding of the club from the ground up, even replacing our early ‘Pensioners’ nickname with the ‘Blues’ moniker which has stuck to this day.
His faith in young players and those overlooked by other professional clubs, combined with an eye for talent and the ability to get the most out of his squad, saw a very new Chelsea take shape, adding a winning mentality to the entertainment.
His youthful side bore his stamp so strongly they became known as ‘Drake’s Ducklings’, but more importantly, Drake shaped them into Chelsea’s first-ever champions, ensuring his name would forever be part of our history by guiding us to the 1955 league title.
It’s also worth noting that before joining Chelsea, Drake had never managed in the top division before, with his only previous Football League experience coming at Reading, where he narrowly missed out on promotion in his last match before being tempted away by the chance to take charge at the Bridge. Sound familiar?