Friday, August 21, 2009

Greatest Ever~~

English Angle: Will Frank Lampard Become Chelsea's Greatest Ever Player?

Considering his continuous climb up Chelsea's goal-scoring ladder,'s Alan Dawson ponders the achievement and talent of Blues hero Frank when compared to the club's past greats.

21 Aug 2009 14:40:53

Barcelona here we come! Chelsea captain Frank Lampard ensures his side head into the Champions League semi-finals
Frank Lampard

Defining the term 'great' has often been attempted in London's Chelsea-friendly juice-joints of late, as conversation turns to Frank Lampard's rise up the goal-scoring ladder. The Mensa-qualified midfielder looks unlikely to halt his imperious form in front of goal, as glovesmen up and down the country still struggle to think up ways to deny the 31-year-old a route into the net they guard.

An unwitting goal celebration by Manchester United, and Rio Ferdinand in particular, could have borne the only way to halt Lampard in his tracks. In December 2006, a rare John O'Shea goal prompted Rio to lead celebrations by assembling the United squadron to their knees, when he then mimic-aimed a rocket launcher, took sight, and fired away.

It was later revealed that the act was an "in-joke" within the England camp, as Chelsea stars Lampard and captain John Terry introduced the SOCOM 3: US Navy Seals video game to the United pack while on Three Lions duty. Sir Alex Ferguson's men were intimating that they were gunning down the Blues in both the video game, and also in the Premier League (they were six points ahead at the time and had scored 35 goals in 16 games).

Attack is often the best form of defence, so a gargantuan weapon of mass destruction, therefore, is perhaps the only way to prevent Lampard from prowling.

The Biggest

'Great' is such a nondescript word that it could be confused to mean a number of things... the biggest, the best, the most entertaining, the most successful, the most effective; perhaps all of these rolled into one. There can be little doubting that the biggest player to have ever represented the west London club is none other than William 'Fatty' Foulke.

The heavy-set goalkeeper was once described as having the "agility of a cat but with the playfulness of a kitten", despite his frame weighing more than 22 stone (140kgs/ 308lbs). This statement also contradicts another story of his. Prior to his Chelsea days, when a decision in an FA Cup game went against his Southampton side, he began to chase down the referee after the game - naked.

Other fine goal-guardians have come and gone, Peter Bonetti will fondly be remembered by all those in-and-around SW6, for he was a Ted Drake signing - by the request of Bonetti's mother. He went on to, as a youngster, help the Blues to the FA Youth Cup, prior to a guiding the club back into the top flight twice, as well as blocking enough shots to help Chelsea claim the 1971 Cup Winners Cup - the Blues' first continental triumph.

Even Petr Cech, a 'keeper who accumulated a plethora of clean sheets in his opening few seasons prior to his form-threatening head injury, can lay claim to being one of Chelsea's best No.1s, as too can Carlo Cudicini for his form at the start of the millennium.

Goalkeepers, though, despite the number on their backs, are rarely hailed as the cream of the crop.

Magic Zola | A Premier League great

The Most Entertaining

The English love a chap. Especially one as affable as pint-sized forward Gianfranco Zola. The fact that he was an incredible baller helped his cause, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest foreign imports to play on English turf. In 2003 he was even voted the greatest player to have represented Chelsea... it was official. He learned from Diego Maradona at Napoli and ended up passing on his wisdom, knowledge, and experience to the Chelsea boys rising through the ranks, most notably Frank Lampard.

He could strike the ball with pace and power, as well as with a delicate finesse. He had great feet, was highly-skilled, could thread a defence-splitting pass on the floor or over the top, and was an all-round nuisance in the final third. The diminutive Italian knew how to strike a deadball with such power and curve that many a goalkeeper were left flapping, rooted to the spot, watching as the football burst through the top corner and bear-hugged the net. He was as lethal outside the area as he was inside the box, and his predatory instincts prevailed right through to his twilight years, when he could still be found audaciously back-heeling the ball by near-posts.

He was not the club's most prolific striker, though, neither was he even close to the club's top goalscoring charts, where only one midfielder graces the top ten.

Name (position)
Bobby Tambling (striker)
Kerry Dixon (striker)
Roy Bentley (striker)
Peter Osgood (striker)
Jimmy Greaves (striker)
5 (T)
Frank Lampard (midfielder)
George Mills (striker)
George Hilsdon (striker)
Didier Drogba (striker)
Barry Bridges (striker)

Deadly | Greavsie was a great for club & country

Jimmy Greaves' strike rate was incredible. He was an inside forward who could boast a tremendous capacity to take on defenders, beat them, and send a ball into goal. He scored on his debut for the club, amassed a ton by the time he was 21, but spent only four years at Stamford Bridge.

Other strikers in Blue have been just as handy. Take for example one of the first idols of the club, George Hilsdon, who featured for six years (1906-1912). The apt moniker of the 'Gatling Gun' was assigned to him due to his uncanny ability to fire in relentless goals. If Greaves' goal-scoring debut was impressive, then the Bow-born converted forward enjoyed a perfect debut, sneaking five past Glossop North End.

Then there is Peter Osgood, Bobby Tambling and more recently Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnson, all of whom consistently wowed home crowds with their phenomenal ability.

Silver-Laden | J.T is Chelsea's most decorated cap'n

The Most Successful

John Terry is the club's most decorated captain, having led the team to back-to-back Premier League titles, as well as icing that achievement with a hat-trick of FA Cups (two as skipper), and a pair of League Cups. His never-say-die spirit, his willingness to get his block knocked off by Abou Diaby, his leadership credentials, his ability to inspire and his aerial dominance have all been integral to the club's recent success. Lampard, too, has claimed nearly as many pots as Terry while donning Blue.

The manner in which he conducted himself the season after the penalty heartache in Moscow was commendable, and he remains hungry for the one trophy that has still eluded the club, and indeed London as a whole: the Champions League.

You will rarely, if ever, find Terry wearing gloves or long-sleeves... even if he's competing in hail. His father warned him off such a decision as a youngster, and it is something the tough-tackler remains true to this day.

Speaking of lionhearted Englishmen, no list of club greats would be complete without the epitome of the hardman, Ron 'Chopper' Harris. Even his nickname scares his own nightmares. He racked up an incredible amount of appearances for the club, displaying good loyalty in 19 years worth of service, and the way he played through certain injuries certainly bears comparisons to Terry.

Totally Frank | The only way is up for Lamps

The Most Effective

Without even penning a paragraph dedicated to Lampard, he has cropped up a number of times. The way he has adjusted to a number of different positions shows his versatility as he is an incredible attacker, currently deployed 'in the hole', but proved last season to be, in the words of Guus Hiddink, the "complete box to box midfielder", and it is hard to argue against the Dutchman's assertion.

Like David Beckham, he has overcome cat-calling and personal abuse to up his game even further and turn the jeers into cheers, as his under-rated tracking back, his tackling, his break-up play, his goal-scoring record that even a forward would be happy with, together with the way he cuts defences open with accurate-and-pacey trivela-type passes struck over distance, has helped dilute the thoughts of even his most ardent doubter.

He can already be referred to as 'one of the club's greats', but with many years ahead of him, there is every chance that he can surpass Osgood and Roy Bentley's prolificness this season, and if he maintains the consistency achieved from the past five or six seasons over the next few years, then he will be sandwiched between the head and shoulders of the goal-scoring charts.

Without question the club's most effective midfielder (although Claude Makelele deserves praise for his anchoring role), a living legend... still in his playing days, he shunned Inter's advances to remain at the Bridge. The decision could quite easily see him become the club's best, the most influential in front of goal from midfield, the greatest...

Alan Dawson,

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