Frank Lampard’s Second Chance: Is Hiring a Failed Manager a Wise Move for Chelsea?

IAN LADYMAN: By Chelsea’s weird, warped and not so wonderful standards, Frank Lampard has failed once already… yet here he is, lined up as a steadying hand just because he once played with distinction for the club. It’s MADNESS

Frank Lampard is not the worst solution to Chelsea’s problem. But as for their problem, that’s on them.

How often do we see this happen in football? Sack a manager without much thought as to what to do next. It’s common. So here we are again.

Graham Potter went at the weekend. There is an argument – thoroughly endorsed by some but not my me – that it was the right call. But to sack Potter without any clue as to what do next? Well, that’s a different story altogether.

To recap, this is not Tottenham. Potter didn’t have to go. His ongoing presence at Chelsea was not about to burn the house down like Antonio Conte’s was a few miles north and east from Stamford Bridge. At the very worst Chelsea under Potter would have lost to Real Madrid in the last eight of the Champions League and finished eighth or ninth in the Premier League.

So the logic behind jettisoning him – at great expense to a club under much-publicised financial pressure – was surely to recruit a high-class and permanent replacement. Immediately. Instead Chelsea are now considering a return to their past and not in a good way.

After watching from the stands on Tuesday, Frank Lampard looks set for a return to Chelsea
Lampard is, just a few months after his sacking, viewed as a safe pair of hands for Chelsea

By Chelsea’s weird, warped and not so wonderful standards, Lampard has failed once already. Under a previous regime, for sure, but failed all the same. And since then he has failed again at another Premier League club and this time in a proper way. Lampard’s Everton were going down.

Yet here he is, lined up as Chelsea’s steadying hand on the back of qualifications no more relevant than the fact he once played with distinction for the club.

None of this is meant to denigrate Lampard. A personal view is that there may yet be a coach in there somewhere. I would expect him to do just fine at the Bridge between now and the end of May.

But where is the upgrade on Potter ahead of next week’s first leg against Madrid?

Potter’s results in the Champions League at Chelsea include two-legged wins over AC Milan (agg 5-0) and Borussia Dortmund (agg 2-1), the latter coming only the other side of the recent international break.

The Chelsea legend experienced real failure at Everton, with the club still fighting to stay up

So here is a thing that could have happened. Keep Potter. Keep faith in the much-publicised realignment of Chelsea. And then, in the summer, think again. Reflect on a season’s work in its entirety. And then make a decision.

But no. We have this instead. A return for Lampard in the short-term. And then what? What if he wins all his remaining league games? What if he wins the Champions League? Do Chelsea say goodbye again? Do they skewer a legend twice? Or do they give a man once sacked a second chance?

It’s like a warped, sweat-drenched bad dream of a long night on the Football Manager video game. And this is also what it is. It’s madness.


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