Sunday, August 3, 2014

When football fans fall in love...........

Yes I know, Frank Lampard left Chelsea on good terms and after many years of incredible service.

Yes I know I had plenty of forewarning he was leaving to join another club and he said goodbye in the most wonderful of ways praising the fans to the highest.

But I didn't know he was going to Manchester City.

And again, yes I know it's only on a few months loan and then he'll be off to his real destination in New York for a fistful of dollars.

But there's a nagging doubt that has now appeared. If he's scored ten goals by Christmas, for a few dollars (ok pounds.....) more could Abu Dhabi extend his 'loan' to City and before I know it he's a fully fledged City player?

OK, the second part hasn't happened yet and probably won't but terrible thoughts pop into your head when a legend from your club joins a rival team, even if he is now 36 and has surely earned the right for one last big payday.

And of course he has earned that right, but only of course in circumstances of my choosing.

Manchester City are not even a historical rival of Chelsea. Before the money came along, they were both clubs with histories marked with brief glories, relegations and long periods of mediocrity. Chelsea always had a swagger but both were only really united in their hatred of well, United.

Both clubs have of course morphed dramatically with new ownership and new rivalries have been formed.

Chelsea's traditional rivals, Spurs and West Ham have been supplemented by new hostilities with Liverpool (think Champions League and Benitez and Mourinho) and an increasing one with United due to now common footballing targets.

So why should I care that Super Frank is joining City?

Well of course it's because I don't see much else other than the domestic league that my club plays in as really worth caring about. Sure the ultimate prize is the Champions League but if Lampard had joined Bayern or Real or AC Milan, I'd have wished him well.

'Look at our boy off to rubber stamp his career with one last swansong at one of the great clubs of Europe, says everything about him and us'. Job done.

Off to join Arsenal or Liverpool however? I'd have gone bonkers.

And the New York Red Bulls?

For the average Premiership fan who cares little for 'soccer' across the pond it's like something you read in the Hollywood gossip magazines (they belong to my wife, honest.....).

It is nothing more than a passing fancy, something to titillate and amuse over your morning coffee. We care little for the USA's obvious progress at the World Cup, we are far too parochial and self important for that.

If he'd gone to Melbourne I'd have cheered, here would be another shot in the arm for the A League, linking up with David Villa and bringing an already promising product closer to the boil. Three cheers for Lamps doing his bit for global football.

But joining City?

This is of course highly petty and all a bit silly. This is far from Luis Figo defecting from Barca to arch rivals Real at the peak of his career, a defection so heinous it still resonates loudly in Catalonia.

Lampard is mainly past it, City aren't even a proper rival in the truest sense, if we've 'got no history' then surely they're even worse!? But there is the rub.

Figo's defection was a simple one, you burned your no7 shirt, ripped the poster from your sons' bedroom wall and if you got really bent out of shape about it, turned up at the Nou Camp and threw a pig's head at the bloke. Simple stuff, he was dead to you.

But what do I do about Super Frank?

Many Chelsea fans have taken to Twitter and Facebook to vent their ire, calling him a traitor, wheeling out all the expected clichés and names.

Supporters from all clubs would do the same even if in this case it's a huge overreaction. We are human after all and we are hurt by these infidelities.

Fabregas has been castigated by Arsenal fans despite Wenger not wanting him back, the detail and facts matter little in these cases.

Except I can't do that with Frank. To do so would be to besmirch a memory that is too important to me.

I will simply blot out his indiscretion like so many of his fans and Nike did with Tiger Woods, it simply didn't happen, move on. They are after all similar marital indiscretions, best swept under the carpet.

So Frank, do I wish you well at City?

I'm not sure really, I certainly don't wish you any injury and I hope you are a roaring success at New York.

But I honestly can't say I want it to work out well in Manchester and I desperately hope you find a convenient thigh strain before we play you at the Etihad in September.

People just don't realise how tough it is being a football fan sometimes especially once you've found true love............ No Nonsense.