On June 14, 2001, Chelsea signed the then 22 year old, Frank Lampard. I remember the day quite clearly, as it had been reported on Sky Sports News that we were set to sign a West Ham midfielder and the rumours doing the rounds were that it was indeed Frank that we were buying. In my haste and excitement, I emailed Sky Sports News for them to come back to me quite quickly to indeed confirm that it was Frank we were purchasing.
At the time, I thought that Frank would be a good signing, but I also had the thought that would anybody be able to match Gus Poyet for the amount of goals scored from midfield. At the time, Gus was coming to the end of his Chelsea career and was a firm favourite of mine, until he signed for that North London outfit. 200 goals later and it’s incredible that such a fantastic footballer and a great man is now just three goals away from breaking Bobby Tambling’s all time Chelsea goal-scoring record.
Frank was very humble in coming from East to West London, quotes attributed to him at the time said “Chelsea have sold the club to me.” And “I think that I can take my game on from here and win a lot of medals with the club. Hopefully I can test myself against the best players in Europe and we can contest for trophies” – never a truer word spoken; Frank knew his Chelsea destiny, even then.
I have some fantastic memories of Frank’s goals, as I am sure that we all do: Here are five of my own personal favourites, which may have escaped other people’s memories.
March 8, 2003 versus Arsenal at Highbury FA Cup Round 5 – Chelsea drew 2-2
On this particular day I wasn’t at Highbury, but at Chelsea, in the Shed Bar.
My then ex-girlfriend and I had decided to go to Leicester Square that day, however, knowing that Chelsea were playing, I’d booked for us to stay at the Chelsea hotel for the night. The thing is, she didn’t know that the hotel I’d booked was at Stamford Bridge. We had a decent morning, but time was ticking on and getting nearer to kick off, so I said that we’d better go and check-in at the hotel. On the way to Fulham Broadway, the game had already kicked off, so I was desperate to know the score. Back then with no Twitter, or Facebook, I had to get a text sent to me. With us hardly ever winning at Highbury in those days, I was overjoyed when the text returned saying that JT had scored for us as early as the third minute. By this time I wasn’t particularly interested in the ex, she didn’t like football and she was nagging a bit, so I was walking at a pace to get to the hotel with her dragging behind.
Once checked in at the hotel and sorted it was approaching half time, my thoughts were of the 0-1, but unbeknownst to me, by this time, we were losing 2-1. I then had to explain to the ex that the game was being shown in the bar downstairs and I was going to quickly nip down to see the score.
When I got downstairs and saw that we were now losing 2-1, I was dismayed and thought that it was typical jammy Arsenal to be leading. Anyway, those few minutes of checking the score, turned into about two hours as I watched the second half. The best part of the second half was the late equaliser by Frank amidst beer flying around in the Shed Bar, me getting soaked and lots of singing of “Super Frank”
On my return to the room she was quite ‘troubled’ by my disappearance and wondered why I was soaked and smelling of beer. From that moment on, things were never the same between us, she was never the right person for me anyway, so the following morning at Fulham Broadway, I said goodbye and good riddance. I salute you for your 14th Chelsea goal, Frank and for a great couple of hours in the Shed Bar! Unfortunately we lost the replay, but I’ll always remember that 2-2.
September 13, 2003 versus Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, Premier League – Chelsea won 4-2
Neither the Arsenal, nor the Spurs goals rank in the echelons of Bolton, Bayern, Barcelona or Liverpool, but both goals have memories for me. This one against Spurs was a headed goal by Frank to put us 1-0 up, although as Frank said on Chelsea TV when summing up his first 100 goals, that it was more off of his nose than his head. However, nose, or head, It’s a goal I’ll remember, as it was our first fixture after I’d had major surgery. I wasn’t well enough to be at Stamford Bridge, but knowing that my surgery had been completed and I was on the right side of feeling better, then the goal by Frank and the 4-2 win was a fantastic boost to set me up on the road to recovery.
This was Frank’s 16th career goal for the club, on a beautiful warm Autumnal sunny day. Thank you so much for the boost Frank and for the end result, it was much needed.
April 30, 2005 versus Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium, Premier League – Chelsea won 0-2
No matter where you were or what you were doing on this particular day, it was the pinnacle of Frank’s career and the modern day Chelsea Football Club (With obviously more to come). The man who said that he’d come to Chelsea to win medals, had done just that. The iconic celebration standing in front of the Chelsea fans pointing down to say, “We’ve won it, we’ve won it, here” is legendary. Frank scored two goals that day, the 47th and 48th of his Chelsea career. I remember speaking to somebody that day that had lost his debit card and couldn’t get petrol money to get to Bolton, if I remember correctly he was stuck in Watford. So if that was you, you were talking to me while I was at work. I hope that you managed to get to Bolton to see the double scored by Frank, to achieve our first title in 50 years.
September 13, 2008 versus Manchester City at the Etihad, Premier League – Chelsea won 1-3
This was Frank’s 112th Chelsea goal for the club; five years to the day after he scored against Tottenham in the 4-2 win and five years to the day that I remember feeling rather ill from surgery, so again, thank you for the goal Frank.
This is another ex-story. My ex and I and her son, had gone to the game and we’d enjoyed an early morning drink, a pre-match meal and got a taxi to the ground from the station. Everything went smoothly, she actually liked football and supported Chelsea (A match made in heaven, or so I thought) this was the game where Robinho scored from a free-kick for City after we, as Chelsea fans, thought, until, the very last minute, that he was going to sign for Chelsea. This was also a second debut for Shaun Wright-Phillips for City, so expectancy was high.
During the game JT was sent off, but later had his card rescinded, however, here I was at the game wearing a Chelsea shirt with JT’s name and number on the back. Coming out of the ground I got one or three remarks from City fans and in the end, to protect our own safety, I had to flag down a taxi to get back to the station as the ex-girlfriend got a bit perturbed by the comments and started to worry. I actually blame her as she was the daft arse who wanted me to wear the shirt in the first place. At least she liked football and supported Chelsea though, credit where it’s due.
January 5, 2013 versus Southampton at St Mary’s FA Cup Round 3 – Chelsea won 1-5
This was a great day out at St Mary’s, no ex’s were involved and because of the large allocation, our support was in great voice, as it always is on away trips. The great Kerry Dixon had scored 193 Chelsea career goals for the club during the 1980’s and very early 90’s and prior to this game, Frank was on 192 career goals, so a goal would equal Kerry’s record and put Frank in equal second place. During the second half a penalty was awarded and Frank duly stepped up to lash the ball into the net, in front of the away support for his 193rd. I was proud to say that I was there that day and although I wasn’t at Stoke to see Frank reach 194, I will always have this Southampton goal in my heart to remember the day that Frank equalled Kerry’s record.
Of course, between 2008 and 2013 Frank has scored some important goals and I’m not missing years out on purpose, however, I decided to choose five goals that stand out for me and I’ll stick by that. The 200 that Frank has scored have all been important for Chelsea Football Club, for example, in Moscow to bring the game back to 1-1, or the late, late goal against Stoke under Scolari to win 2-1, or the penalty against Liverpool in the 4-4 draw in the Champions League, this just after Frank’s Mum had passed away, or, indeed, Frank’s 100th goal of his Chelsea career against Huddersfield Town.
The 200th goal of Frank’s glittering Chelsea career came on March 17, 2013 against his former team West Ham, when Eden Hazard crossed the ball for Frank to head past Jussi Jääskeläinen. The former Bolton Wanderers ‘keeper was in goal when Frank scored in 2005 when we landed our first title in 50 years – a very appropriate goalkeeper to score against.
Congratulations Frank! 200 great goals from a great man and a Chelsea legend.