May 26 2013 Latest news:
By Paul Lagan, London24’s Chelsea blogger
Monday, August 27, 2012
The time will come when Chelsea must figure out how they will replace Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard came on in the 87th minute to help the for Chelsea to defend their two-goal lead over Newcastle at the Bridge on Saturday.
He had a couple of touches; closed down a bit of space, looked industrious, and, when the final whistle was blown, he left the field.
He was on the sodden Stamford Bridge pitch for the best part of 480 seconds and did not need to raise sweat - I doubt he even needed a shower.
Perhaps fiancée Christine Bleakley can make a more informed judgement on that, but from a football point of view it was clear that Frank’s introduction was a tad pointless.
Frank the powerhouse, the box-to-box goal-scoring phenomenon is coming to the end of his illustrious Chelsea career.
Any Blues fan knows Frank’s footballing stats, there’s no need to repeat them here.
I suspect he’s hoping to add a couple of more impressive personal ones in the coming season.
He’s nine games short of 100 England caps and he’s got Kerry Dixon’s 147 Chelsea league goals in his sights.
If he gets past both of those, it’s fair to say Frank, when he does bring the curtain down, can retire a happy and contented player.
Now I’m not writing Frank off, but it’s unlikely he will be offered a new contract which expires at the end of this season (I hope he gets one) and like Didier Drogba last year, he will see out the remaining months doing what he does best, scoring goals.
So the burning question on everyone’s lips – well, mine at least – is how do you replace Lampard?
Roman Abramovich had spent shed loads of cash this summer on midfielders - none of them however will come close to achieving what Lampard has at SW6.
Sure, Eden Hazard, Oscar and the like have all being scouted for the best part of a year before Ron Gourlay was let loose to spend £85 million of Roman’s cash.
And with the ever-increasing plea for an end to the current transfer window system, the time is ripe for an alternative transfer system, one that is a more entertaining way of discovering emerging football talent, in a form where everyone, club officials and fans alike, can be part of.
So how do you solve a problem like Lampard?
Now I know what you are thinking - and you would be right - it’s a new TV game show-style transfer system, where Abramovich can find a new Lampard (JT, Ash, you get my drift) who will become Chelsea stars of the future.
I like the idea of Abramovich sitting on a throne making proclamations on a host of newbie Lampards who would parade their skills in front of an invited TV audience.
The selected few would then go on to a popular vote by Joe Public - it is not as fanciful as it sounds, is it?
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Chelsea signing new players based on TV game formats.
Just off the top of my head, when we are in the search of new goalkeeping talent to replace Petr Cech, we could create a show based on that popular improvisation show of late 1980s called Whose Line is it Anyway? Of course it would be retitled Whose Goal-line Is It Anyway, or maybe, The Million Pound Drop The Ball Live?
You know where I am going with this don’t you?
Okay, with that in mind let’s rip through the three basic football formations and see what we get.
For our defensive foursome we could repackage Ready Steady Cook to become Ready Steady Kick.
No? I kind of liked that.
For our midfield, assuming How To Solve A Problem Like Lampard? is already commissioned by West Ham, we could have that ever so popular kids’ show from the 1970s Runaround which starred Mike Reid, AKA Frank Butcher from EastEnders.
To replace Drogba (what do you mean we already have Fernando Torres?) we would surly find a worthy No.9 from another re-imaged kids show Blockbusters which we would call Netbusters.
I’m sure you can think of your own which are much, much better.
Taking a slightly skewed view, one could come up with a list of shows about how we have signed some of our players.
So, which player did we get from the brilliant game show of the 1950/60s Double Your Money - which starred Hughie Green and Monica Rose?
The answer is Ashley Cole of course, but I would have accepted all the current players. I would have also accepted all our players if the show was Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Chris Sutton and Robert Fleck we got from Firing Blankety Blanks (geddit?); Winston Bogarde we naturally got from Scrapheap Challenge; we got the Wilkins brothers from Ask The Family; Bullseye gave us hotshot striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink; Pat Nevin and Graeme Le Saux were worthy winners from Eggheads. Remember goalkeeper Peter Borota? He was definitely Game For A Laugh.
Journalists like myself should not escape a bit of ridicule, so I’d be delighted to be signed on for the Fourth Estate from my staring role in Have I Got News For You.
I’m sure Lamps will sign a new contract if the price is right. The Countdown to contract talks must be looming, and I hope he doesn’t become our weakest link in midfield in the meantime. Strikes It Lucky he could Challenge Anneka’s club goalscoring record (surely Bobby Tambling’s?), and I bet you Fifteen To One that he will.
With Roman you can never be sure what he’s thinking. It could be a Deal Or No Deal for Frank, I haven’t a Cluedo what’s gong to happen really, but if it all goes sour, then Chelsea will be the Biggest Loser.
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