Lampard gives Chelsea 203 reasons he should stay
By Oliver Wilson
Life appears very simple in the head of Frank Lampard, even after becoming his side’s all time leading goal scorer, he just want’s to play football for Chelsea Football Club. Super Frank etched his name into Chelsea’s history books on Saturday afternoon as he scored goals number 202 and 203 for the club he’s spent the last 12 years playing for, sending the visiting fans in hysterics as the final seconds ticked away at Villa Park.
Not only was the brace important to the annals of the south London club, as Lampard finally overtook the great Bobby Tambling at the top of the team’s goal scoring chart, but it was a brace that brought a 2-1 win and three points to ensure the former European Champions, soon to be toppled officially off their perch, would be making a return to the Champions League next season.
“They were important goals for the club to get us in the champions league for next year,” said Lampard after a brief celebration with his teammates at the final whistle on Saturday.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve had some great moments at this club.”
It’s been a day that’s been building up for Lampard over the last month and a half since he bagged a strike against West Ham in mid-march and drew just two goals behind the all time record. Some may have doubted, with Rafa Benitez’ rotation policy at the club, whether Frank would make the magic number of 203 by the end of the season but with nine consecutive seasons of hitting the double figure mark in the Premier League, those doubters were few and far between.
“A lot of people talk about it and the fans have been brilliant willing me to get there,” continued the midfielder.
“That almost increases the pressure. I can only thank people for doing that now; I know it’s easy to say that now I’ve got there.”
The achievement was even applauded by the Aston Villa faithful at Villa Park on a day of mixed emotions for the Midlanders. On a day that saw a tearful farewell to the club’s captain Stiliyan Petrov, as he continues his fight against leukemia, a blown 1-0 lead, and the dismissal of their star striker Christian Benteke – meaning the Belgian forward will not be available for the potentially pivotal final game of the season against Wigan – the home fans managed to still salute the accomplishment of a man who almost appears to be loved by all in English football.
“That’s a real honor [to be applauded off by the villa fans] and it doesn’t always happen that way.”
“When you’re younger the fans boo you and you maybe give them a look back, but when you get older you don’t get into that nonsense so much and I think it’s a really nice thing they’ve done.”
Loved by all in football he may be but still his future at the Bridge remains in doubt. After watching Ashley Cole receive a brand new extension to his contract earlier this season, Lampard has been forced to wait, hoping that he’ll get the call into the front office to pen a new deal with the club he appears to genuinely love. Andre Villas-Boas was lambasted for trying to filter the now 34-year-old out of Chelsea’s first team plans, but now it seems those in the boardroom and the managers office are on the same page when it comes to Franks future.
“I hope to stay, simple as that,” he said adamantly to the waiting press.
“We’ve got two big games coming up, nothing will happen in that period of time, but at the end of those two games I hope to sit down. That’s my wish and I’ve made that very clear for a long time.”
Lampard as scored 15 goals this season and is the club’s top scorer in the league, last year he had 11 strikes to his name and again led his side in goals. Three years ago, at the age of 31, Lampard struck more then 20 in the Premier League. If there is a reason for the Englishman to be leaving the club at the end of this season, it certainly isn’t his performances on the pitch. Manchester United are losing their greatest manager at the end of this year, Chelsea don’t need to lose one of their greatest ever players.