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WHU fan: The truth about Frank Lampard


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There's something I need to tell you. I'm not like other guys. I'm a… a MONSTER.

Well, I'm a West Ham fan, which amounts to the pretty much the same thing if you read this week's papers.

Frank Lampard Jr was treated to his annual warm East End welcome at the Boleyn last weekend. Par for the course. Except this time, it turned ugly… apparently.

In the wake of a much-publicised messy break-up from the mother of his nippers, the Hammers fans had plenty of ammunition to taunt the England star with. "You let your children down", they sang. Whether it's true or not, it was exactly the sort of tabloid fodder that mischievous footie fans will thrive on.

As is often the case, the plan backfired. Lampard played well and set up Chelsea's winning goal. The taunts apparently "fired him up", which makes sense.

However, Lampard also rose to the bait. He gave it the proverbial big'un in front of the home fans after the goal and ostentatiously applauded the Hammers faithful at the end, even throwing his shirt into the crowd. It wasn't pretty, or professional. A better man would have risen above it. But he was within his rights, I suppose.

In the next day's papers, familiar, tired old stories were wheeled out… "Lampard was booed as a youngster because of his dad…" … "They cheered when he broke his leg as an 18-year-old…".

And now there was a new dimension: Hammers fans were "vile" and "a disgrace" for their continued, unjustified vendetta against the talented player they hounded out of Upton Park in the first place.

That's the media story… here's the real one.

Frank Lampard Sr was a West Ham legend. He even had his own song. And the Hammers sang it to Frank Jr too. It was great to see the son of a legend in the team. No one booed him - why would they?

Frank broke into the team young and, at first, he was a bit out of his depth. But he matured quickly and within a year was a regular fixture in the side. He scored countless goals and was popular.

Along with Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick, a new batch of West Ham legends was emerging. Their commitment and love for the club was evident. But Lampard was different.

He openly seemed to view us as a stepping stone. He frequently made thinly-veiled comments leaving to play at the "highest level". None of our other players did that. It smacked of arrogance. In fact, it was an example of an incredibly driven man who wouldn't let anything stand in his way of personal success, least of all loyalty to his boyhood club. In short, he thought West Ham wasn't big enough for him and he made it obvious.

The irony was that, on the pitch, he was frustratingly average. The emergence of Cole and Carrick in our midfield seemed to stunt Frank's progress. Despite being younger than Frank, they looked like better players than he was. As they grew in stature, his confidence seemed to shrivel.

In this period, Redknapp/Lampard Sr would never drop or even substitute him. Ever. It was only then that the accusations of nepotism were heard on the terraces. But they were generally murmurs - not boos.

When Lampard's dad was sacked, he said he would never play for the club again. It was depressingly obvious that he was using it as an excuse. The new manager, Glenn Roeder, tried to convince him to stay. But Frank refused. He couldn't get out quick enough. He'd manipulated his dad's departure to get what he wanted - a move to a bigger club, which happened to be one of our most bitter rivals.

That's why West Ham fans don't like Frank. And the animosity grew as he saw fit to belittle the club after his departure. Gloating about how he was now at a "big club" and saying Chelsea had better fans. It was petty. Worse still, he has painted himself as a victim. He says West Ham fans abused him from day one, just because of his dad. It simply isn't true.

I couldn't imagine the likes of Cole, Carrick or Ferdinand doing that. That's why, along with the fact that they seemed 100 per cent committed to the club while they were there, they are always applauded at Upton Park

When Frank left, many Hammers fans were happy to see the back of him. £11m seemed over the odds and Chelsea fans probably agreed after his first, unspectacular season at Stamford Bridge. But he improved beyond all measure and has become a true Premier League great. We'll never know if he would have been the same player if he stayed at West Ham.

As a football player, I've got nothing but respect and admiration for Frank Lampard. As a person, I've never met him so I'm in no position to judge. I can only judge him on his commitment to West Ham - and he lacked loyalty to the club while he was there, and respect for it after he left.

Of course, I and other West Ham fans have cheered his goals for England. Perversely, some small part of me will even be proud - through the bitterness - if he wins a Champions League medal with Chelsea.

After all, he was a Hammer. He was one of us. The thing is, that never seemed to mean anything to him.

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The thing that West Ham fans dont get is, Why, would he have stayed at West Ham, when he had the opportunity to play for a club where he could win the Premier League, and even the Champions League. The guy who wrote it, mentions that players like Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick werent showing the arrogance he did, But look at them now, they both play for Manchester United, you dont see any of them getting the abuse Lampard got. So, basically, it was not only Lampard, but everyone one else too, and it wasnt like he did something wrong, no matter how much he liked the club, why would he sacrifice alot of trophies and instead play at a mid-table club like West Ham?

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"Frank broke into the team young and, at first, he was a bit out of his depth. But he matured quickly and within a year was a regular fixture in the side. He scored countless goals and was popular.

Along with Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick, a new batch of West Ham legends was emerging.

The irony was that, on the pitch, he was frustratingly average. The emergence of Cole and Carrick in our midfield seemed to stunt Frank's progress. Despite being younger than Frank, they looked like better players than he was. As they grew in stature, his confidence seemed to shrivel."

Now Doesnt this look very contradictory. First he calls him popular and says that he scored countless goals for them and then he says on pitch he was frustratingly average. Make up your mind you punks.

"He'd manipulated his dad's departure to get what he wanted - a move to a bigger club, which happened to be one of our most bitter rivals.

That's why West Ham fans don't like Frank."

So now, he shouldnt even join your firecest rivals after hearing shit from you guys. Why would you care anyways after all you felt he was not as good as carrick, rio and joey?

"When Frank left, many Hammers fans were happy to see the back of him"

"Gloating about how he was now at a "big club" and saying Chelsea had better fans."

Firstly, If I considered a Chelsea player shit i wouldnt care if he joins our fiercest rivals. And you mention many fans were happy to see the back of him. But when he became the best midfielder in the world at Chelsea, you started complaining. It was jealosy, frustration and contempt, how come the player we used to call shit, a player we were happy to get rid of became the best at on of our rivals' club?.

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The thing that West Ham fans dont get is, Why, would he have stayed at West Ham, when he had the opportunity to play for a club where he could win the Premier League, and even the Champions League. The guy who wrote it, mentions that players like Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick werent showing the arrogance he did, But look at them now, they both play for Manchester United, you dont see any of them getting the abuse Lampard got. So, basically, it was not only Lampard, but everyone one else too, and it wasnt like he did something wrong, no matter how much he liked the club, why would he sacrifice alot of trophies and instead play at a mid-table club like West Ham?

I guess the point is that those other players apparently didn't express their ambitions so vocally.

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