How Lampard could easily outshine Pochettino within two years…

Ian Watson

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Lampard’s path to success
In response to Mark MCFC’s mail about ‘Frank Lampard to complete three-year stint?’, here’s my thoughts….
1. Is there any reason to think Lampard would be treated any differently by the Chelsea owner/board if things don’t go well?

Yes, because the owner/board need Frank to break the wheel (reference to my own email from several weeks ago). The owner/board need Frank to break the cycle of hiring managers with very clear philosophy and formation i.e. José with 4-2-3-1, Conte with 3-4-3 answers Sarri with 4-3-3 only to sack them after a couple of years. We invest heavily in these formations by buying players to suit i.e. Matic for José, Alonso for Conte and Jorginho for Sarri. We sack the manager and then start all over again – new manager, new philosophy, new players. The owner/board need Frank to come in and do what Pep, Poch and Klopp have done. I’m not suggesting Frank is as good as those three. I’m suggesting the owner/board need the same thing from Frank which those three have given their respective clubs…. stability and structure. We need a clear philosophy – I’m delighted to hear Frank talk about speed and work-rate. We need a football philosophy which the team can buy into regardless of who the players are. That’s what City, Liverpool and Spurs have. This the the first time a new manager at Chelsea has been given this brief. All other managers have had the brief of pushing for the title. Frank will have a different brief based on finishing as high as possible and trying to win some silverware but I would suggest that expectations have been tempered in regards to how high they can finish (top six) and what they could win (maybe FA Cup or League Cup). That’s why he will be treated differently – he has a different brief. The owner/board aren’t expecting a title challenge or a trophy haul – they’re expecting a change in philosophy where players and manager are responsible – not just the manager – that’s how they break the wheel of hire / fire and the constant reshuffling or managers, philosophies and players.
2. In the unlikely (but not impossible) event that he doesn’t win a trophy and finish 3rd, as Sarri did in his first season, what would Chelsea fans consider to be a good season for 2019/20?

As I mentioned above, top six and a shot at the FA Cup or League Cup would be a good season. Expectations have never been this low for Chelsea – not because of Frank but because we’ve lost our best player and we can’t sign any new players. We now have to roll the dice for the first time and trust the academy and see where it takes us. Top six and a shot at the FA Cup or League Cup would be enough to consider 2019/2020 a good season.

3. Let’s say, for whatever reason, Lamps gets the first season as a ‘gimme’, (Transition year/transfer ban/no Hazard etc) what would Chelsea fans consider as a good season in 2020/21?

Top six and a shot at the FA Cup or League Cup would be enough to consider 2019/2020 but with the benefit of one season of implementing his football philosophy and the benefit of one summer transfer window, a good season for 2020/2021 would be top four and another shot at the FA Cup or League Cup and going as far as possible in the Europa League (if we did finish in the top six in 2019/2020).

I’d summarize it as follows: in the next two seasons, if Frank can finish in the top six in 2019/2020 and finish in the top four in 2020/2021 and possibly squeeze some kind of trophy out of these two seasons, Frank’s first two seasons as a Premier League manager will have been a resounding success.

I’d go as far as to say that even if Chelsea finish sixth next season and finish fourth the following season, Frank could be considered more successful than Poch over the course of the next two seasons if he manages to win a trophy – even if it’s ‘just’ the FA Cup or League Cup. Lifting some silverware before Poch would have to make football fans finally answer the age old question – which I lay down to F365, Mark MCFC and all the mailbox readers – what’s more important, finishing in the top four but not winning any trophies or finishing seventh and out of the European places but winning the FA Cup or League Cup?

My answer is the trophy matters more than the league finish! Discuss…..

Tim (CFC) Ireland.


Frank is protecting Chelsea’s investments
I’m quite excited by the appointment of Lamps at Chelsea. His Derby side (Chelsea B’s) almost beat us last season and played really good football while doing it!

But let’s think, we paid Derby £4m for his services and contracted him for 3 years (I’m not sure what those figures are) – but this is all loose change compared to the value of keeping some of Chelsea’s youngsters. We’ve already seen a host of academy stars signing contracts and then RLC signed a 5 year extension this week as well (which I am very excited about).

His next goal is to convince Hudson-Odoi to sign on the dotted line. That signing alone has the potential to make Chelsea over £100m. Bayern offered a figure of around £40m for his last window and £20m for him this summer but that figure would drop to zero if we let his contract expire when his actual (potential) value in the current market must be at closer to £70m, and who knows where it will be in a couple year’s time playing regular football.

So I believe the bean counters at Chelsea don’t really care what Frank does on the pitch provided he gets the business done off it.


Hammers maths
Apparently West ham have just agreed a £22.4million deal for the sale of Arunautovic which will trigger the 20% sell on clause agreed with Stoke if the said sale exceeded £20 million. The deal comes in the wake of an apparent £19.7million bid that was rejected last week.

Neither maths nor business are strong suits of mine but 19.7million is nearly 2million more than 80% of 22.4 million(17.92). Any explanations as to why West ham didn’t ask for £19,999,999 which would of ensured any deal was exempt of a sell on fee and maximise profits or am I missing something?
Daveo, Surrey


Zaha and Pepe
While the obvious answer would surely be a rather terse, ‘Yes!’, when considering whether or not Zaha is worth over £40 million in today’s market, it is important to remember it would represent a huge over-simplification to suggest that transfer fees are in perfect linear correlation with ability. Were that the case, I might even be worth a reasonable four-figure fee and my good friend Ricardo might fetch us a couple of hundred thousand if a more affluent 5-a-side team were willing to cough up! Intricacies such as contract length, competition from interested parties, the likelihood of the player agitating for the desired move and the subsequent effect on squad morale are all pertinent factors. How much would Club A be willing to pay for Player X? Is Player X’s sale necessary/viable/beneficial/inevitable for Club B? Prices can be driven up or down by a multitude of vaguely sporting and contractual variables, before even considering the player’s marketability and global reach.

In Zaha’s case, hypothetically subtracting his 21 goal-involvements last season would have probably consigned Palace to relegation, which in turn would have led to a huge downturn in income. Continuing in the abstract, replacing Iwobi’s 10 involvements with Zaha’s improved productivity would have surely overturned the one point deficit and yielded a Champions League spot for Arsenal, leading to more money in the bank. Zaha’s notional value to each club can be argued at length but only imprecise conjectures can be reached. Transfer Markt lists his value at €45 million, while his compatriot, Nicolas Pepe, is interestingly valued at €65 million. Pepe outscored Zaha last season but few would argue that Ligue Un is superior to the Premier League and Pepe’s team were second to only PSG. It is hardly inconceivable to suggest that Zaha would have surpassed Pepe’s numbers had he spent the season in the Hauts-de-France region. So, why is there a €20 million disparity in the pricing?

Ultimately, it is hard to put a realistic price on any player without at the very least knowing the answers to the questions posed above. It would certainly over-simplify player pricing if we were to base valuations on ability alone when we are in a world where Hazard cost approximately £88 million and Joao Felix cost £113 million. While Felix looks like a fantastic prospect, I know who I would choose to spear-head Middlesbrough’s latest promotion campaign. Then again, Britt Assombalonga will probably have to do…
Alex, Milan


Football’s next battle
It’s been a while since I was a regular visitor to F365. I admit that football has become less a priority now that I’ve got the wife, two small kids and I live on the other side of the world. I guess I’ve slipped in to what you might call a “casual” supporter. I drop in here every now and then and for my sins I still follow Arsenal, including on Facebook and Instagram.

Over the weekend I happened to be browsing through the latest Arsenal news and saw a post with photos from the pride march. At time of writing there are 27,000 reactions to this post and 3,700 are “angry face”. Scrolling through some of the comments is a depressing experience to say the least. I won’t dignify the idiot posts by quoting them, other than to say there are a lot of people out there still in the dark ages.

I’m not saying that this is isolated to Arsenal. I’m sure that other participated in the march and received the same response. I just couldn’t bring myself to look elsewhere. I just find it very sad. I can only equate this to the level of racism that used to exist. Personally I’d love to see a club social media moderator just ban all these people from the groups but that isn’t going to solve the underlying issues.

I don’t have a big point to make here and I don’t have the solutions either. Awareness is generally the first step with community issues so I guess that’s why I’ve sent in this mail. There is still work to do on the racism front, and maybe LBGT inclusiveness is football’s next frontier.
Graham, Sydney


I’m not sure I saw a half-empty stadium in Lyon because a lot of people stayed home to watch the CONCACAF final or the Copa America on TV instead of going to an actual World Cup Final.

Some people need to pick their battles. The scheduling of the (appallingly refereed) World Cup Final wasn’t, and isn’t an issue.
Steve, Los Angeles.


Cuckoo for Kaka
After reading Cole’s mail, he is certainly not alone in falling for Fernando Torres, that is why I was so glad he eventually came to Chelsea and okay, maybe wasn’t at his peak during those years but he helped win my club the Champions League, for that I am grateful, he was a player that deserved such a title to his name.

But the first player to make me fall in love with football was as I have mentioned before in the Mailbox, Kaka, the dark flowing hair Brazilian who could pick the ball up in his own half and just glide past players with little effort and then slot the ball into the bottom corner, memories of THAT goal v Celtic still warm my heart, playing in an iconic AC Milan side alongside Pirlo, Gattuso, Maldini, Nesta and many more names that just ooze nostalgia to a period of football which seemed perfect and let’s not forget that iconic and quite beautiful Milan home kit, the red and black stripes, long sleeves and that sponsor logo from BWIN, I still find myself going back onto YouTube to see his “Best Of” moments, goals and skills.
Mikey, CFC


For the fans
There is a fans movement called For The Fans who are currently working with fans groups to put pressure on UEFA to organise more fan orientated European cup finals after the shambles this year. It has been started by fans groups from the four English finalist this year but is for every club and hopefully people can put tribalism to one side.
They have 6 key points:
Allocations – 80% of tickets should go directly to the supporters and 20% to sponsors etc
Affordability – 45% of tickets should be cat 1 (approx £70]
Capacity – stadiums should have a capacity befitting the competition
Facilities – access for disabled fans and reasonably priced food and drink
Infrastructure – airports and links that allow fans to actually get there
Equality – no player or supporter should be discriminated against by host country for any reason

It has been started by the same people who got away ticket prices down to £30 in the premier league and they have successfully taken this to Football Supporters Europe who have the ear of UEFA.
I hear people complaining about these type of things all the time and saying “but what can you do?”. These guys are trying to do something about it so why not give them a bit of support online.
Graham Kirk, Sunny Manchester


Local heroes
This is completely random but I thought it’d be an interesting thing to do. Go to, click ‘menu’ then ‘all stadiums’ then ‘my nearest grounds’. Enter your address and select ‘only show current English 92’ then see which one is closest to you and if it’s the club you support. For example, my nearest club is Wigan (10 miles away), followed very closely by Everton, but my club Liverpool is half a mile further out. Mail in your results and we’ll see if anyone actually supports the club they’re closest to.
Lucy, LFC (maybe I should say Wigan)