As news of legend Frank Lampard's departure percolates through my heart, I feel eerily calm. It is hard to digest the fact that the ubiquitous face rivalled by perhaps Stamford the lion himself, will no longer be seen at the club; maybe I'll never accept it.
Ever since I started watching football (not too long ago), the names of Lampard and John Terry and Petr Cech were synonymous with Chelsea. Didier Drogba was another one. As I matured as a supporter (still in the process), I saw the reasons for their fame. Cech in front of goal, Terry in defence, Lampard in the middle, and Drogba leading the line; our team was flawless and many a memorable moment did I enjoy in the virtual company of these stars.
Although I never overtly apotheosised these legends, they held special places in my heart and every match was iridescent with them playing.
In 2012 came the incredible Champions League victory. Though I watched only a 'finger-full' of games, I always exuberantly caught up through the highlights. The frustration at yet another managerial sacking, the passion which Roberto Di Mateo immediately commanded, the incredible comeback against Napoli; all are firmly ensconced in my memory from that season.
The climax for me was the semi-final match against Barcelona. A fear no doubt lay deep in my heart, although I displayed formidable belief in front of rival supporters (aka friends). On waking up on that eventful morning after the match, learning of the incredible victory was elating.
Later, when I saw the replay, Lampard's match-winning cross to Ramires entrenched him in my heart. In the second leg, I had an almost arrogant and over confident faith in Chelsea, and I was proved right. In a mad topsy turvy game, which again I embarassingly missed, Lampard and the boys overcame the mighty Barcelona, avenging the 2009 cheat-defeat.
But the greatest regret for me is missing the final. The timing couldn't have been more favourable - 12 noon - yet owing to me being with my relatives I had to go out for some sightseeing (sounds silly doesn't it?).
On reaching back, I hurriedly fired up the computer. The first thing that loaded was the advertisement 'Chelsea is all in' and ecstasy and humility flowed through my veins; I felt humbled. To this day, few wins - for my club or in my life have electrified me to that extent. Where have those times gone?
Over the two seasons after that, Lampard's place in Chelsea's line up became increasingly ambiguous; of no fault of the veteran I must add. Despite what sceptics say, Lampard's accurate passes and flitty movements on the pitch were in no way hampered. However, what was degraded was his inclusion in the tactical play.
The midfielder's favourite goalscoring position is from outside the box; and whenever he played he was seen hovering in that area, unmarked. Yet, the new impetuous talents at Chelsea ignored him, either on their own or on instructions from managers. Where a few seasons ago, the Lampard would have received a pass, he was now ignored and instead the players sought other means of penetration.
Last year came his crowning moment - 203 goals for the club which took him to the throne of Chelsea's highest goalscorer. It now seems, his contribution was seen as a zenith, not one made to last lasts, but one which precedes the nadir.
Whenever I saw Lampard's name in the starting line up in recent matches, a surge of excitement ran up my spine but seeing him play filled me with angst. Wandering on the field alone, the forlorn veteran seemed to be only on the field to take set pieces and penalties.
The ever-changing atmosphere at Stamford Bridge has once again consumed an immortal hero in its insatiable hunger for glory. As Cesc Fabregas prepares to don the blue shirt as Super Frank's replacement, I feel frustrated and peeved with indignation. How can one spend £27 million on a 27-year-old player, that too a hero of a rival club, while letting a legend go?
Times change, players change; this maxim is the very tenet of a football club. As a passing tribute to the legend, I hope you will sign this petition to retire Super Frankie Lampard's jersey - CLICK HERE!
One day, in the never-to-come future, others shall wake up and realise this mistake, but till then we must look towards the future. Lampard is gone, Super Frank's era has ended.
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