Tag Archives: blog

Tribute to Frank Lampard

On the retirement of, for many, Chelsea’s greatest player, David Johnstone, Chelsea Supporters Trust board member and cfcuk fanzine impresario, has penned the following heart felt words that reflect the thoughts of many:

During my years supporting Chelsea, I’ve had many favourite players but, with no disrespect intended to any other who has worn the shirt for my club, Frank Lampard is my all-time favourite and, in my opinion at least, the greatest player the club has ever had.

I’ve known Frank Lampard since 2001 when he joined Chelsea FC from West Ham Utd. He’s always struck me a really nice guy with no illusions of grandeur although he had every right to hold some. Through Frank, I also met his father Frank and mother Pat and there is no doubt that ‘young’ Frank kept his sense of reality and his feet on the ground because of their influence.

His generosity toward the Chelsea supporters has known no bounds and, despite his always busy schedule, whilst at the club, he always tried to find time for those who wanted an autograph, a photo with him or just a few words.

His contribution to Chelsea has been immense. He won every honour that the domestic English game could offer and, of course, was team captain on what some describe as Chelsea’s greatest night when, due to the fact that John Terry was suspended, he lifted the European Cup in Munich.

That night, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to the celebratory party at the team’s hotel by Frank, one of the best moments I’ve experienced in all the years I’ve supported the club. I told him that and his reply was, “I wish I could take every Chelsea supporter for a drink!” He spoke from the heart and it was something I know he meant.

He also captained Chelsea to victory in the Europa League final (this time because john Terry was injured), the winners medals going in his trophy cabinet along with the 3 Premiership/Premier League, 4 FA Cup and 2 League Cup he’d already accumulated. As well as the 106 senior caps he won during his international career during which he scored 29 goals for England, in 2005 he was voted FWA Footballer of the Year and was runner-up in both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or. As well as many other individual honours he was awarded during his time at Stamford Bridge, in 2010 he received the FWA Tribute Award.

However, as far as the Chelsea supporters are concerned, it was the club honours and the 211 goals he scored whilst playing for the Blues that really count. He played a record 164 times consecutively in top flight matches for Chelsea, a run that came to an end due to a bout of flu with, coincidentally, the first game he missed being the Blues’ visit to the Etihad to play Manchester City. It was little wonder that he was voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year on no less than three occasions.
Lampard was a player that always gave 100% when playing for Chelsea and his rapport with those following the club made him a firm favourite. His parents once told me how proud they were when, after one of his first few Chelsea matches at Stamford Bridge, they walked away from the ground and down the Fulham Rd alongside supporters who were singing “Super Frank Lampard”.

Although he once said he didn’t want to play for another English side, the circumstances changed. Up until his retirement, Lampard was a professional footballer. It’s what he did for a living. Professionals don’t have a ‘one-club only’ clause like supporters. He’d told me plenty of times that he wanted to end his playing career at Stamford Bridge and, when it became clear that he and the club were poles apart as far as his Stamford Bridge future was concerned and his contract wasn’t renewed, he was broken hearted.

It was a great pity for Frank and the Chelsea supporters that both José Mourinho and the club allowed him to leave. Even though he left in 2014, I feel he still could have done a job for the team now although, in truth, if he was still with Chelsea, he would probably be a bit part player.

Nevertheless, his influence and experience would have been priceless and assets that current manager Antonio Conte would have used to their fullest extent. He was a role model for many of the young and up-and-coming players at Chelsea, his attitude and work ethic both on the pitch and at the training ground an example to all.

Although he’s often spoken about his desire to one day manage Chelsea, in a way, I hope he never realises that ambition. Although a part of me would like to see him become the ‘gaffer’, I’d always fear that any spell in charge would end in the ignominy of him being sacked. It’s a fear that I have expressed to him personally and something I have also said to two other of my Chelsea heroes in John Terry and Joe Cole.
However, in losing Lampard, the club let slip a player who was not only a credit to Chelsea Football Club, the England national team but also to football in general.

If it were down to me, I’d offer him a job for life at Chelsea, either as a coach or in an ambassadorial role, something he was made for and something in which he’d be simply fantastic. Anyway and to my mind, even leaving the football aside, Frank Lampard is simply just a fantastic human being.

Super Frank Lampard – Chelsea’s greatest!

Here is a link to Henry Winter’s piece in the Times with excerpts from DJ’s excellent tribute. A paywall applies.

Return to Brompton Cemetery – 6 August 2016

On a blisteringly hot and sunny Saturday in August, we returned for our third visit to Brompton Cemetery to continue the great clear up work from previous visits.

Unfortunately, weeds and bramble have a nasty habit of growing back, so our first job was to remove the regrowth from the grave of Alfred Frederick Janes, landlord of the Rising Sun pub (now the Butcher’s Hook) where the decisive meeting to form Chelsea Football Club took place.

Our next stop was the final resting place of John Henry Maltby, a founding director of the club, present at that famous meeting in the Rising Sun. This was the first time the group have worked on this grave so there was plenty to do.  As with the Janes grave, a pathway has been created to the location so that visitors can access it quite easily.

Brompton6.8.16-5 (Large)Brompton6.8.16-3 (Large)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our third port of call was the monument dedicated to the Mears family, very much a part of Chelsea’s history.  Here we cleared away alayer of red (don’t ask!) stones from inside a kerbed area, which allowed us to replace them with the first batch of blue shaded stone chippings. We plan to return to extend this decorative feature.

Brompton6.8.16 (Large)Brompton6.8.16-2 (Large)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally we dropped by at the final resting place of William Claude Kirby, who was Chelsea’s first Chairman, a position he held for 30 years. His headstone contains the fabulous inscription “The game is greater than the player”, wise words indeed!

Brompton6.8.16-14 (Large)Brompton6.8.16-12 (Large)

With grateful thanks to all who came along to help out; Lucy, Dan, Steve, Francis, Adrian, Debs, a special mention to Tim who provided home made sausage rolls and banana bread and to Cliff who has worked tirelessly to make the project the success it is, working with the Friends of Brompton Cemetery and club historian Rick Glanvill.

Don’t worry if you missed out this time, we will be returning on Saturday 3 September 2016, meeting at the Fulham Road gates at 11am.

You can download Rick’s informative guide to the Chelsea graves here:  Final Whistle: The Chelsea Football Club Trail at Brompton Cemetery

Brompton6.8.16-8 (Large)

 

Brompton Cemetery Clear Up Project – 26 March 2016

A neighbour of Stamford Bridge, Brompton Cemetery is the final resting place of many significant people who have a lasting connection with Chelsea Football Club, most notably the Mears family, Henry Augustus (Gus) Mears having founded our club on 10 March 1905. The meeting where the decision to set up the club was made took place in an upstairs room at the Rising Sun pub (currently the Butcher’s Hook) located opposite The Bridge. The wealthy landlord of the Rising Sun was Alfred Frederick Janes who, along with other members of his family, is also buried at Brompton Cemetery. It was this grave that the clear up team paid particular attention to, the site having been neglected for many years and obscured by a mass of overgrowth.

IMG_0621 (Large) IMG_0630 (Large) IMG_0624 (Large)

The clear up event was organised by Trust board member Cliff Auger along with club historian and Trust member Rick Glanvill and The Friends of Brompton Cemetery, with Chelsea FC providing the gardening tools. Rick was instrumental in seeking the required family permissions to allow the group to work on the grave, and he has also produced a leaflet charting the Chelsea related history of the cemetery, called Final Whistle: The Chelsea Football Club Trail at Brompton Cemetery.

A healthy turnout of 11 willing volunteers helped out on a grey Easter Saturday, including David Beauchamp of the Friends of Brompton Cemetery and Chris Mears, a descendent of the club’s founders.

After paying our respects at the Mears family plot, we moved on to the site of the Janes’s family grave and set about hacking our way through the thick overgrowth of ivy and bramble to the point where the surrounding area was sufficiently cleared to allow the splendid looking grave to be accessed and seen clearly once again. Sustained part way through with hot cross buns baked by Trust Chairman Tim Rolls and a few amusing stories from Chris Mears, the whole team felt they had made great progress before calling it a day, retiring to, where else, the Butcher’s Hook for some much needed refreshment following our thirsty work! But not before paying our respects at the grave of former Chelsea manager Bobby Campbell who sadly passed away last November.

IMG_0617 (Large) IMG_0632 (Large) IMG_0607 (Large)

It was a great start to the project and we plan to make it a regular event, the next visit due to take place after the end of this season.  If you would like to get involved please contact us at enquiries@chelseasupporterstrust.com.

With grateful thanks to our members and friends who came along and helped out; Cliff Auger, David Beauchamp, Debs Coady, Diane Edwards, Steve Hadlow, Paula Harding, Neil Jones (joining us all the way from the West Midlands), Chris Mears, Celia Mindelsohn, Tim Rolls, and Dan Usher.

IMG_0639 (Large)IMG_9128