Traitor Or Still Super Frank? What Kind Of Reception Chelsea Fans Will Give For Lampard?

In a game that many people are calling a potential title decider, Chelsea vs Manchester City tomorrow night should be an epic encounter. With many world class players on the pitch and some interesting sub plots, it really should rank as a un-miss able 90 minutes of action for any football fan.

One of the most intriguing features of the fixture though, should be Frank Lampard’s return to his old stomping ground. A return to the club where he made his name and became arguably Chelsea’s greatest ever player. However having been allowed to move on last summer, Lampard appeared to be heading to the MLS, before joining Manchester City on loan. A temporary move to the champions that will now last until the end of the campaign. Some Blues fans were left baffled by their heroes apparent U-turn, having previously vowed to never represent another Premier League club.

Frank Lampard has given Chelsea 12 amazing years of service. He has created cherished memories and became the idol of many fans. However, looking forward, it is time for the club to let go. While Frank’s contributions in shirt sales and goal scoring feats are undoubtedly crucial, keeping a 34 year old veteran at the club with a huge wage bill is a risk not many will take. Furthermore, the presence of other midfield talents around the world may prove to be more attractive and less expensive acquisitions.

To add insult to injury, Lampard came off the bench to grab a dramatic equaliser in the two side’s first encounter earlier in the season at the Etihad. He didn’t celebrate but the pain must have been hard to bear for any Chelsea supporter. Some may feel that his legendary status has been somewhat tainted by this sudden turn of events but he will surely get a rapturous reception at Stamford Bridge tomorrow by the vast majority of home fans. After all, it wasn’t his decision to leave Chelsea. Despite years of outstanding service for the club, he was basically pushed out last summer so the club could afford the Cesc Fabregas deal. In essence, Roman Abramovich handed him to City. I have no doubts that the former England midfielder would have preferred to stay and fight for his place at the Bridge. He didn’t really want to have to move to America.

Also you have to put all emotions to one side and see the bigger picture, that this man was arguably Chelsea’s greatest servant. He was at the forefront of Blues teams that enjoyed the greatest success in the clubs history. Lampard won 3 Premier League titles and a Champions League at the West-London side. That on top of a number of other cup success and personal honours. In 2013 he became the clubs all-time record scorer with 2 well-taken finishes vs Aston Villa. The Englishaman achieved more than anyone could have ever expected when he joined from West Ham in an £11m deal all those years ago. Also he may have joined a title rival but he didn’t join a genuine rival team of the club – such as Liverpool, QPR, Spurs or even Arsenal. Lampard’s heart will always be at Chelsea but he’s currently employed to do a job at Manchester City and like the true professional he is, he’s shown full commitment to it.

Many though will still struggle to see him play against Chelsea for a direct Premier League title challenger. Seeing him score a crucial goal may well have tainted some fans views of him. The fact is tomorrow is a huge game and Lampard will be representing the other side. It was ok to give Didier Drogba such a good reception when he came back when playing for Galatasaray, a notion many fans disagreed with. However coming back in such a big match will make it hard to be so welcoming towards a former great, when so much is at stake.

In the long run, I’m sure Lampard will return to Chelsea as a coach and maintain his legendary status at the club. However the idea amongst the fans that he could never hurt their side, has been squashed by the midfielder this season and will that have any effect on his legacy? I’m not sure. Although I fully expect and hope that he will receive a highly warm welcome at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. The fans will get right behind their team and the 3 points will quite rightly be the main focus but if I hear one jeer when Lampard receives the ball or comes on, I will be highly surprised. Not even a match winning hat-trick could take away from all the stellar work he did for the club in his time there. Although Chelsea fans will be desperately hoping he doesn’t…