As a Chelsea FC fan, I’m sad to see Frank Lampard depart. Not that it was unexpected of course. He had a more limited than usual role under Jose Mourinho last season, plus his contract was only extended one year at the end of the 2012/13 season. Still, he’s Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer and a club legend, so it’s hard to see him go. To me, he will always represent the prototypical Chelasean. I just liked his style of play – a gritty, hardworking midfielder who could also score goals.
Fortunately, two factors ease this reluctant end of an era feeling regarding Lampard. For starters, Frank’s not retiring, he’s coming to America! He’ll be lacing up his boots for MLS’ expansion New York City FC next season. It will be fun to see a player of his professionalism and stature complete in MLS. Hopefully this means I’ll get to see Lamps in action up close and personal in 2015, assuming NYCFC play at FC Dallas.
Secondly, the loss of one Chelsea legend has brought the return of another… one Didier Drogba! I’m pretty pumped about this development, for purely nostalgic reasons mind you. I don’t expect Drogba to get many starts, but to see him run onto the Stamford Bridge pitch a few more times this season, even as a substitute, will certainly warm the heart. And, even though Drogba is 36, teams who assume he’s over the hill do so at their own peril. I got to be in the stadium this summer when Drogba scored a sweet, vintage goal for Ivory Coast in their World Cup tune-up match against El Salvador. He’s not the same Drogba who won the Champions League for Chelsea a few years ago, but he’ll be good for a few more Chelsea goals this season and I can’t wait to see them.
I’m not usually one to clamor for player autographs, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to acquire Drogba’s signature when Ivory Coast were in Dallas during their pre-World Cup tour. I had him sign my Kings of Europe book commemorating Chelsea’s Champions League title. Little did I know then that we’d get one more victory lap season with Drogba as a Blue!