Frankly in Love
It’s Tuesday 21st August, Derby have beaten Ipswich in a nervy game to give Frank Lampard his first home win for Derby. It’s relatively late to be heading to a restaurant, especially on a Tuesday night, but Frank does so and even though it’s close to closing time, the owner of the restaurant serves Lampard his meal.
Upon doing so, the owner mentions to Lampard that he’s in London in a few weeks and asks for a restaurant recommendation himself. Lampard tells the owner to leave it with him.
The owner visits the restaurant that was recommended to him and goes to settle the bill. “Don’t worry sir,” the waiter responds, “Frank has paid.”
And that’s just something else to add to the growing of list of reasons why we’re all falling in love with Frank Lampard.
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He swooned into the club at the start of summer and, as managerial unveilings go, Lampard was superb. He was calm, assertive and assured. Neither fazed by the size of the club nor under appreciative of the opportunity he had been afforded.
I’ve seen plenty of these managerial unveilings and he topped the lot by an absolute mile.
There was rightly a level of apprehension upon Lampard’s appointment. He has absolute minimal experience as a manager and there have been plenty of great players who have gone into management and have flopped.
And that may well prove to be the case but Lampard has brought a level of optimism to the club thats been lost in recent years. It’s easy to forget that this should be fun as well.
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Gary Rowett jokes aside for a moment but it’s easy to forget that for the most part, Derby were very good at times last season. Where they fell short was that they were too one paced and struggled with creativity. Their strength was in their experience and solidity.
Lampard appears to have seen exactly that and has brought in Mason Mount, brought back Craig Bryson and added pace out wide in Harry Wilson, Florian Josefzoon and Mason Bennett.
Derby were crying out for a striker to lead the line too when it became obvious that Matej Vydra would depart. Even if Vydra had stayed, it’s probably fair to say that Derby would have still needed a striker. Martyn Waghorn and Jack Marriott have arrived to add variety and movement to the front line.
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Lampard’s man management has been superb too. Craig Bryson was called on the day of his appointment to be told that he was wanted back at the club.
Then there was the annual discussion on who the captain would be. Lampard named Curtis Davies but spent the majority of the interview saying how great Richard Keogh was.
Academy graduates Mason Bennett, Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe all received high praise too for their performances too.
There’s Mason Mount too, who Derby beat Ajax and PSV to the signing of, who practically becomes the love hearts in the eyes emoji whenever he talks about Lampard. He took his number eight shirt too. You can bet that there were some pleasantries exchanged then as well.
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The difference between Lampard and the rest is that he has an aura. It’s an absolute rarity but he has one and it’s endearing.
A lot of this boils down to him being a really classy guy and being aware of people.
And that last part may sound ridiculous but it’s something that’s easily forgotten in the results business of football. There are people working to get you those results so treat them well. Treat the players well. Treat the staff well. Treat the fans well.
Lampard gets that. He gets this football club.
So perhaps I have been swept off my feet a bit. Perhaps this will all go wrong and we’ll be back to square one but right now, this is fun and it feels like this club is going somewhere again.
Up Frank Lampard’s Derby County