Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Frank Has to Decide Whether to Follow His Principles or the Cash

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Frank Has to Decide Whether to Follow His Principles or the Cash

Article excerpt


IN THE midst of this spectacular sporting summer, with Euro 2008 andWimbledon behind us and the Olympics still to come, a brief hiatus offering thechance to catch the breath is no bad thing.

What is a bad thing, however, is that the only breathtaking aspect of theunending saga about Frank Lampard's Chelsea future, or lack of it, is thequeeny selfregard of its central character.

No one can be shocked by the story itself. It has been a very, very slow motionreplay of many others during the Premier League's Klondike era, when thecharade of a player swearing undying fealty to his club one minute, and thenext instructing his agent to blackmail the board with threats of departureunless outlandish requests are met, has become so wearyingly familiar.

This is why Pascal Chimbonda is such a hero to anyone who finds the hypocrisymore nauseating than the avarice. At least the Spurs full-back had the candour,when a transfer to Newcastle was mooted, to state that his only loyalty was tothe highest bidder.

Frank, meanwhile, has contrived to remain the most relentless badge-kisser inthe game throughout a contractual dispute so ancient that historians insist itbegan the day Dad's Army's Private Godfrey bought his first tube of Clearasil.

Now there are those who will view Chelsea's current offer of [pounds sterling]140,000 per weekfor four years, albeit less than the [pounds sterling]150,000 a week for five years he prefers,as rather lavish for one already turned 30. Frank disagrees. Much like hiscolleague Ashley Cole before him, indeed, he is driven to frothing indignationat what he regards as a grotesque show of disrespect.

But if he, like Cristiano Ronaldo, regards himself as a Spartacus figure inSepp Blatter's deranged world of contractual slavery, waging just and noble warfor liberation, others will see it as a toddler tantrum worthy of Tesco on theday the nursery school outing coincides with a dearth of sweeties in aislenine. …

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