This past summer turned into a bit of a high school reunion — but way cooler! — at Chelsea Football Club, but not everyone ended up attending. Some, like Didier Drogba, had bigger things in mind. Others had their own reasons, I’m sure. Space was limited, too. But the one person who was most conspicuously absent was Captain, Leader, Legend, John Terry.
Lampard and Terry were always seen as a double act during their playing days, a Blues Brothers if you will, and the narrative expected that to continue after Lampard was announced as the new head coach at Chelsea.
But by then, the two Chelsea legends were already on separate paths. Lampard had a year of working at Derby County under his belt, and Terry had nearly as long in working as an assistant to Dean Smith, who had taken over the Aston Villa head coaching job in the previous October. With Terry Premier League-bound after Villa beat Derby in the playoff final, and Lampard happy with his coaching team at Derby (comprised mainly of ex-Chelsea coaches), there was no apparently no reason to rock the boat in either situation.
“I can’t guess the future. I don’t know [but] it was never an option that was spoken about. I think John was very settled at Aston Villa.
”When I took the Derby job, he was already on his own path then and they obviously got promoted in the summer. John was very comfortable there and working away. I had my team that I worked with here.
”I think everyone has their own route. It’s not that I’m surprised, it’s just a path he’s chosen. It’s working well alongside Dean at a very good club that he already had a link with from his final year playing there. I think it was a very normal thing for him to choose to do and I’m sure he’ll have a very long and successful career in coaching, management, in whatever way he wants to take it. We all have to start in our different ways and he’s starting well.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Goal
And that makes sense, although it’s a bit surprising that it wasn’t even considered. The likes of Drogba, A.Cole, J.Cole, Makélélé, Čech, etc. were all at least offered coaching positions (at various levels of the organization, including Academy, first-team, or in more administrative roles) even if they didn’t all (immediately) accept it. Though there was one report in the summer, which claimed that JT’s relationship with Abramovich (and thus Chelsea) “had deteriorated” towards the end, so perhaps that (also) had something to do with it...
Either way, it’s nice to see both Lampard and Terry succeeding already in their post-playing careers. It’ll be even nicer to see Chelsea beat Aston Villa today of course.