Frank Lampard, Manchester City, and the reaction from Chelsea supporters 4

When Frank Lampard agreed his move to New York City FC, it was almost inevitable that he would to fill the time between now and the franchise’s first season in MLS with a bridging loan.  US fans will be suspicious of another ageing arriving on their shores and collecting big wages, so therefore it’s important for the player to sustain his fitness over the coming months and enter the final phase of his career as an active rather than retiring footballer.

So, from that perspective, his proposed six-month contract with Manchester City - the US team’s parent club - is entirely logical.

The default response of fans is to revert to hate once a player leaves their club, and that’s particularly true amongst younger supporters and especially so when the transfer is domestic - which this Lampard deal effectively is.

Hopefully, in this instance that narrow-minded tribalism won’t be a factor and Frank Lampard won’t receive any kind of blow-back.  In an ideal world he would not have joined a championship rival, but he’s still entitled to play at the highest level still available to him - he has unquestionably earned himself that privilege and also more than a little latitude with Chelsea’s supporters.

He might not be a relevant part of the City first-team, but there are obvious benefits both parties nonetheless: City get some very accomplished and experienced - albeit physically-declining - midfield cover, whilst Lampard is able to remain in an extremely competitive squad environment and take advantage of the outstanding coaching and conditioning infrastructure which exists at the club.

Could he have found himself a club offering more pitch-time?  Absolutely, but there’s a balance between being a regular first-team player in an attritional league and simply maintaining sharpness and - being thirty-six years old and having limited mileage left on his clock - Lampard probably wants to tread that balance carefully.

He would like, I imagine, to be involved in a passive way and in a manner that allows him to start life in New York fit but fresh.

Most Chelsea fans will already understand that, but the foolish, emotionally-incontinent minority should remember that this part of Frank Lampard’s career is really about practicality more than anything else.

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