Frank Lampard’s time on the bench at Chelsea is surely entering its finale. A poor run of results over the festive period has seen the former Blues and England midfielder lose favour both with the Chelsea supporters and more importantly, with owner Roman Abramovich.
The Russian, who has already paid out at least £110m in severance packages to other men who tried his patience, is not frightened to wield the axe and it seems whatever “Lamps” tries to do to please his billionaire paymaster, only results on the pitch will see him remain in post.
It’s hard to dislike Frank, because he seems like a decent bloke, so we’ve compiled a list at Paddy HQ to try to help him out before his inevitable departure by the end of January.
FUEL FOR THOUGHT
An obvious way for Lampard to try to stay on the good side of King Roman would be to agree to pay for his own petrol (for work purposes) rather than submit a claims form at the end of every month. Those daily trips to the training ground at Cobham soon mount up and when you have a car that only does 20 miles to the gallon, an £80 fill-up doesn’t really go all that far.
Maybe Lampard would be better copying his opposite number at Leeds United, Marcelo Bielsa, by renting a flat above a shop within walking distance of the state of the art complex. It would be easy to also suggest that Frank invests in a hybrid vehicle of some description, but it’s unlikely that Abramovich would be willing to foot the bill to install new charging points.
If Lampard needs any more advice about just how ruthless his guvnor can be, then he should talk to former Blues tactician Antonio Conte, who thought his job was safe when Roman gave him the use of his private jet to go to and from London to Italy for regular family visits.
PIZZA THE ACTION
Frank’s a bit of a mover and shaker with a celebrity wife and a whole host of business friends across the capital that is willing to help him out from time to time. Any thoughts, however, that inviting Abramovich and his partner out to dinner to convince him that he is the right man to take the club forward, should be put to bed immediately.
Just like Conte, Italian tacticians Claudio Ranieri, Roberto Di Matteo and Carlo Ancelotti will vouch for how sentiment counts for nothing in Roman’s world, after all tried to cash in on their fame by taking their boss out to the best Italian restaurants London has to offer. Ancelotti won him the league and cup double and was thanked by being given his P45 a year later, whereas Di Matteo delivered a Champions League trophy before being told that his style of football was f***ing crap.
When Abramovich jetted in to Stamford Bridge, Claudio Ranieri thought that it would a good ice-breaker to take his new boss out for pizza but unlike his time at Leicester, expecting Roman to start tossing dough around was a complete non-starter.
PAY TO WIN
Lampard is not short of a few quid so we suggest he talks to Abramovich about performance-related pay. If he really believes in his players as much as he keeps stating he does, then why not explain to his boss to keep the faith and only pay him when he achieves a positive result.
In theory this sounds like the perfect plan and the ultimate sacrifice for a man who realises that the only way is down if he has to clear his office at The Bridge. What Abramovich would say in reply, however, was that if he wanted to go down that road, he already has Gus Hiddink who would return to West London at the drop of a hat. OK, let’s move on…
At the end of every season Abramovich loves to entertain guests on his luxury yacht and normally this will include the manager and several players who are the teacher’s pet. During his halcyon days as a midfield general, Lampard was often seen with his old mucker John Terry cruising with Roman off the coast of some Greek island.
Jose Mourinho, the man who brought the glory days back to Stamford Bridge and who once claimed that he considered Lamps as being “Like a son to him” was also seen diving off the bow of the HMS Oligarch, having made Chelsea the pride of the Premier League during two spells in charge. Frank could suggest to Abramovich that he has decided to do his own thing this summer if travel restrictions are lifted, by hiring his own boat to take the family away thus saving his gaffer money by having several less mouths to feed which may allow him to cut down on kitchen staff.
Close friends of Mou however, confessed after the “Special One” had been given the bullet for a second time that Abramovich took offence the summer before dismissing him after the Portuguese tactician decided to bring his own grub on their Mediterranean soiree.
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