And so reader, here we are again.
Another year, another pre-season and another new regime. However this time the reset button has brought Chelsea’s greatest ever player home. The player that has won the hearts, minds and emotions of every person ever wise enough to support the greatest club in the land.
Frank Lampard can simply do no wrong….yet.
Instead of a late run into the box, a drilled penalty or a skip past Juri Jaasklielan, Frank now will be seen in a well-fitting suit as he prowls the touchline orchestrating and directing his Chelsea, in arguably the most ruthless job in European Football.
Lampard’s pre-season has slowly gathered pace as the 41-year-old has tried to whittle down a bulging squad, filled with forgotten and fringe players, returning loaness and bright youngsters all in the mix up for an opening day showdown with Ole-Gunnar Sojskar’s Manchester United.
Along with nailing down his best eleven, a formation and embedding what appears to be a quick, high pressing, one-two touch game, Lampard has to deal with something no other Chelsea manager has had to face and that’s the inability to sign players, which has left the Blues in Transfer Prison, behind bars, watching on as their closest rivals strengthen for the new campaign.
Taking all of this with Lampard’s belief in attempting to smash the glass ceiling for the club’s brightest young stars and the departure of Eden Hazard, Lampard has a big hurdle ahead of him.
This is where Chelsea fans come into play..
We all know our club can be the most unpredictable beast and has seemingly spent an eternity labelled from outsiders as in chaos and crisis, on the verge of spontaneous combustion. Not many do doomsday better than Chelsea, however not many clubs come out the other end of that so called crisis with silverware and that is a gift.
Chelsea have been presented with one of the trickiest starts in many seasons. After squaring off with Manchester United in the league opener, Lampard then faces another foe days later in Istanbul, as Jurgen Klopp’s men are the opponents in the Super Cup. The opening week ends with Lampard’s proper homecoming against Leicester.
It could easily turn into a challenging seven days and with the 24/7, clickbait infused furore that infests our timelines, you can almost guarantee questions will be asked of Lampard. However, it is the fans responsibility to be patient.
To see the longer term plan, trust the process and be brave with what is likely our most risky appointment under Roman Abramovich’s tenure.
There will be dark days and bumps along the road, just like Sarri had last season. What needs to change from 18/19 is that a toxic split doesn’t ruin communication and debate surrounding our club between fans which it did for the majority of the second half of last season.
It is on the fans to not be influenced by the outlandish titles, the rants on phone-ins, or ex-players looking to make the headlines. Am I asking you to smile after a defeat? Of course not. What I am asking for is a bit of perspective, something that out of any other season is needed in this one.
It is to Frank’s credit and is no surprise that the trophy laden Legend hasn’t shied away from the pressure and expectation that comes with being in the hot seat at Stamford Bridge. Lampard knows what its like, he gets it – which naturally connects with every person who walks through the turnstiles of the Bridge on a match-day. However, Frank’s work ethic and winning mentality shouldn’t lead fans to lofty unrealistic expectations that are used to beat Frank with a stick if things aren’t going to plan come November.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding this squad.
- Who is our best striker?
- How can we attempt to fill the hole that Hazard has left?
- Will Pulisic settle in English football?
- Can Mason Mount make the jump to Premier League football?
And we could go on, and all of those questions could have their own article.
These are all issues that hopefully will be rectified under Frank Lampard. Though they may take more than nine months, and that is okay.
Chelsea are a club that need to use the shackles of a transfer ban and the loss of a superstar as a springboard to make some long overdue changes to the structure and culture that will help London’s finest get back to the levels we have all enjoyed over the past 16 years.