Frank Lampard has been sacked by Chelsea.
Reports emerged on Monday morning that the club legend would be given his p45 by Roman Abramovich less than 24 hours after their FA Cup victory over Luton.
Within minutes, it was being reported that Thomas Tuchel would take over.
That escalated quickly.
With Lampard spending more than £200 million in the summer, a title challenge was expected. But they find themselves in ninth and out of any title race.
While results played a big role in the decision to sack Lampard, a fascinating report in The Athletic has detailed every step of the demise this season.
Let’s take you through it:
Lampard’s relationship with influential director Marina Granovskaia deteriorated
At the end of 2020, Granovskaia has begun contacting potential Lampard replacements. But their troubled relationship goes back to the very start with her believing Lampard’s appointment was ‘useful’ but not ‘ideal’.
She didn’t allow him to have a full say on his coaching staff, refusing to let Shay Given join as a goalkeeper coach. Lampard also asked to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Hakim Ziyech last January but wasn’t allowed to sign either.
She also didn’t like the way he treated club-record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga and how he wanted to replace him.
Petr Cech involved in talking to new stars’ agents as form dipped
As technical and performance advisor, Cech was close to Granovskaia and the boardroom. He had informal chats with agents of key players and, after being named in Chelsea’s Premier League squad list, was in a strange position of being close to the hierarchy but also having to support his old friend and manager.
Ralf Rangnick was offered interim job last week for four months but turned it down
Last week, former RB Leipzig manager, Ralf Rangnick, was offered the role until the end of the season before being moved into a new role. But he turned it down.
Calls were made in recent weeks to sound out Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann before deal was struck with Thomas Tuchel
There was a determination to appoint a German-speaking manager to bring the best out of big-money signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.
Talks with Nagelsmann ‘hit a brick wall’ and Tuchel was initially reluctant to come midway through a season. But he’s now eventually been persuaded having almost taken the job in west London before Antonio Conte arrived.
Leicester game was tipping point and morning after spent trying to finalise successor
Abramovich was apparently ‘furious’ after last week’s 2-0 loss to Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester and they spent the following morning making calls to hire a replacement - interim or permanent.
Lampard shook players hands and thanked them for efforts under him after Leicester match
Lampard knew it too and shook the hand of every Chelsea player to thank them. The mood was described as ‘sombre.’
Desire to re-sign Declan Rice annoyed his bosses
In December, The Athletic were told: “He needs to stop pushing for Rice or he’ll lose his job. The hierarchy are very wary about the potential embarrassment of buying back an academy reject at huge expense.”
The dressing room felt manager showed no empathy and were hurt by his public criticism
A senior player told The Athletic that it would have been a ‘catastrophe’ if Lampard stayed on with the high tension levels from criticism in the media.
Some players complained about lack of tactical instruction and not being spoken to for months
“The problem was, the manager didn’t talk to the players — well only the ones he liked,” one source told The Athletic.
“I know of players who weren’t in the team that didn’t hear from him for many months. That’s very frustrating for a player because you don’t know what you have to do to do better, what the manager is thinking. It’s crazy.”
He was also accused of telling players to ‘go out on the pitch and express themselves’ rather than giving tactical instructions.
Lampard would have walked out had he been working for any club other than Chelsea
Lampard’s troubled relationship with the hierarchy made his job a difficult one and a source told The Athletic: “If it had been any other club than Chelsea, Lampard would have walked out in the summer. But obviously his connection with the fans and what Chelsea means to him meant he was always going to try to make things work.”News Now - Sport News