The Roman Abramovich era at Chelsea has now seen nine managers fired, and with Jose Mourinho getting the axe twice, so it’s ten dismissals in total. Frank Lampard became the latest in this long line, as the club announced his termination about three hours ago.
While it’s easy to argue that me might have been treated unfairly, and he deserved more time, don’t cry too hard for him. He’ll get a very nice and quite lucrative payout. Chelsea have already lined up their replacement, Thomas Tuchel, according to multiple reports.
Chelsea Football Club has today parted company with Head Coach Frank Lampard.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 25, 2021
Lampard knew upon taking this gig that his boss has a very itchy trigger finger for manager sackings. This trait is as synonymous with Abramovich as his fleet of superyachts. As much as one might knock this approach, it does and has worked. While the Russian oligarch has owned the club, managers come and go on average once every 14 months, until the Lampard era began.
He lasted longer than average, even though he now discarded after just one and a half season. He was probably given more leeway than most, simply because of who he is.
The Abramovich statement reads:
“This was a very difficult decision for the Club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the Club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as Head Coach and wish him every success in the future.
“He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
Lampard remains among those within the highest pantheon of Chelsea club legends. He’s the all-time leading scorer, and he’s decorated as anybody when it comes to having won domestic and European honors. He did a fine job last season, leading the Blues to the FA Cup final and a top four finish, despite entering the season in full rebuilding mode.
This season however, was a 180 shift in the opposite direction. While Chelsea entered last season with very low expectations, they entered this one with sky high anticipation.
Stamford Bridge, fresh off their transfer ban, splashed the cash unlike anyone else in the world, and were expected to parlay all those new acquisitions into a Premier League title charge.
Instead they’re squarely midtable, as Lampard hasn’t been able to optimize all his high priced talent. He hasn’t been able to figure out the right lineup combination and squad rotation either. No doubt the beginning of the end was when he started calling out his players for their lack of effort, beginning with the shock loss to Arsenal.
While he wasn’t wrong in doing so, and the end of the day, it’s his job to get the squad motivated, so if they’re half-assing it, then it’s on him.
Tuchel is expected to sign within hours, according to multiple journalists in Europe. He was reportedly starting to get lined up as a potential eventual Lampard replacement once Chelsea got blown out by Manchester City. He was experience managing some of the biggest personalities in the game, taking clubs to European finals and winning domestic trophies.
Thomas Tuchel is set to become the new Chelsea manager, confirmed. Frank Lampard will be officially sacked today – Tuchel has accepted the #CFC job and is expected to sign in the coming hours. ?
RB Lepzig won’t let Nagelsmann go now + Allegri is considering other options/clubs. https://t.co/KODPcJAFF5
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 25, 2021
In other words, he is exactly what Abramovich is looking for and no doubt his agent was the first to receive a call from Marina Granovskaia, when the time came to replace Lampard.
According to various reports, the loss at Leicester City was the final straw, but Lampard still got another match in after that, the win over Luton Town in the FA Cup this past weekend. Tuchel has experience managing Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Augsburg and Mainz.
He won Ligue 1 twice and took PSG further than they have ever gone in the UEFA Champions League, finishing runner-up in the tournament last season.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.