24th – Frank Lampard
So today is the last of this campaign of articles and there is only one person who could be sitting behind those big double doors marked 24.
Yes, its Derby County Manager, Super Frankie Lampard.
Derby County Manager, Frank Lampard. Even now that sounds slightly surreal doesn’t it?
With the Rams fresh from the latest round of play off heartbreak, carrying the oldest squad in all four divisions, Mel pleading poverty and giving every sign he was losing interest, then Rowett fucking off to Stoke, it’s fair to say there was not a great deal for Derby fans to get excited about at the start of last summer.
When the list of potential new candidates was released, the mood generally moved from depressed to suicidal. However, once Franks name came into view, the odds tumbled and the next thing we know he’s in the Yard being welcomed to Derby by Jack O’Connell. Absolute Madness.
What soon became clear though is that whilst the increase in profile for the club has been monumental, this was no vanity, showbiz appointment. Clearly Frank has spent the majority of his playing career at the very top level of elite football and doesn’t need the money. He is here to win, get The Rams to the Premier League and set himself up for his dream job of managing Chelsea. At the half way point of the season, you have to say he is doing ok. Here’s his achievements to date :-
- Changed style of play from Shithousing back to possession based passing football. We’ve had some lapses for sure, but generally everyone is loving getting back to dominating the ball and playing out.
- Brings in Jody Morris and Chris Jones as his backroom team. Is it a coincidence that the Academy over night turns into a well oiled production line of quality, with youth teams at all levels smashing all comers. I don’t think so.
- Gives youth a chance. Jayden Bogle subsequently well in the running for Player of Year.
- Signed 9 new players including Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Super Jack Marriott. Crucially not a single duffer and the majority likely to increase massively in value.
- Wins away at Man Utd in League Cup and is very unlucky to not win at Chelsea.
- Starts the bounce on a regular basis sending a succession of opposition supporters into meltdown.
Because Frank is such a household name, its sometimes easy to forget he has only been a manager for 6 months. For sure he hasn’t got everything right, but his core principals of hard work and playing the right way are serving the Rams well so far. He also seems to be a manager players want to play for, which hasn’t always been the case with Rams managers in recent history. I think my favourite trait though is that he absolutely hates it when we lose, which is just what you want to see from your manager.
As we go past the halfway point of the season and approach the turn of the year, The Rams sit nicely in 5th spot 8 points off second and a 4 point cushion to 7th. With some of the games we have lost, this could easily have been a lot better and there is still lots of improvement to come from this Derby side. We also have the January window about to open and by the Southampton FA Cup game, we won’t have to play Norwich, Sheff Utd or Boro again. So well done Frank so far and all to play for in 2019.
That seems a good way to finish the piece and this run of articles. I hope you have enjoyed reading them.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Rams fans.
Come on you Rams!