Today Liverpool said goodbye to a club legend, sending Steven Gerrard off to America with rather a lot of fanfare and a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, another iconic Premier League midfielder is preparing to move across the Atlantic, and it's safe to say that Frank Lampard is far more popular around these parts than is Gerrard. When he left Chelsea to spend a very strange season on loan with title rivals [lol! - editor] Manchester City, there was no such party. Does he have any regrets about not being able to say goodbye properly?
Step forward the Mail, who asked that very question in their extensive interview with the man himself.
I left slightly out of the back door at the end of last season. I'd have preferred to go out the front door. It would have been a nice moment. It's probably a selfish thing. I wanted to do it at the end of my last game but that's not how football works. You can't pick and choose everything to be perfect.
It would have been nice, wouldn't it? Certainly, Liverpool's celebration of Gerrard's career smashed through the boundaries of good taste and ended up encroaching on 'bombastic dictator' territory, but Lampard snuck out of Stamford Bridge with barely a whisper at the end of last season, and you have to assume that Chelsea knew that they were unlikely to be bringing him back for another season. Any sort of farewell would probably have been better than what he got.
But what of his decision to pop up at the Etihad? We've got that answer too:
I had a good few days stewing over it when the opportunity came up. I wondered if it would change my thing at Chelsea. I didn't see that it would and I hope it hasn't. It certainly hasn't changed how I think about them as a club. I had 13 years there and tried my bloody hardest.
That you did, Frank. I don't think the defection changed anything, although if he'd kept up the early threat and kept handing City points perhaps it might have been a different story for some. Lampard's legacy as a Blue seems safe enough, and it's nice to hear from him one last time before he disappears off into the land of Here Be Dragons.