It’s not often that a genuine football legend turns up at The Wham, so it was no surprise when, after the final whistle set the seal on our FA Cup defeat to Championship high-fliers Derby, a crush of Stanley fans in the record crowd of 5,397 stayed behind, hoping for an autograph from or a selfie with Frank Lampard, OBE.
The term ‘legend’ is over used these days, but any way you look at it, the Derby boss is in that category. He arrived at Chelsea from West Ham in 2001 for £19m, and when he left Chelsea for the MLS (via Manchester City), 13 years later, he did so as their all-time leading scorer. He holds the record for the most consecutive appearances in the Premier League for an outfield player, (164) and he played 106 times for England, (which puts him on a par with Sir Bobby Charlton).
He has the reputation of being one of the game’s gentlemen and he lived up to the tag at The Wham. As his players trooped out of the dressing room and onto the team bus, Frank took time to meet with delighted Stanley fans, signing programmes and posing for photos for a good 20 minutes.
He could have ducked the fans and jumped on the bus, but he didn’t. So, fair play to the fella – Frank was different class, (Having said that his team were bloody lucky to beat us, but hey-ho).