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Lampard only has to avoid relegation in first year of three-year Chelsea contract — report

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Realistic expectations?

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Frank Lampard is coming home. He will be announced as the new Chelsea head coach as soon as any leftover minor details are ironed out, and as soon as all the pictures and interviews are done for the unveiling. It’s a three-year contract for Super Frank.

It shouldn’t be too long now.

And that’s very exciting.

And it’s also a bit scary.

The lifespan of a Chelsea manager in the Roman Era is not very long — 71 games, or a little over a season, on average, but significantly less if your name is not Jose Mourinho — and that’s before we consider Lampard’s own relative inexperience. There is a very real chance that Super Frank’s tenure will end in tears and disappointment, perhaps even anger. The only two managers in the Abramovich Era who weren’t actively sacked or dismissed were the two most disliked (Benitez, Sarri) and the most gentle caretaker (Hiddink, twice).

But that’s the harsh reality of the job, and not just at Chelsea! Most managers will change jobs every few years, at best, and that’s something we should all be cognizant of, including the principals involved. On a long enough timeline, the survival rate of every manager drops to zero. There’s a tiny chance Lampard leads the club into a decades-long dynasty. There’s a greater chance he doesn’t even see out the first season of the initial three.

The noises coming from Chelsea, by way of Matt Law in the Telegraph, seems to be aware of this dark cloud as well, briefing on yet another round of reassurances that Lampard “will be given time” after Abramovich supposedly personally assured Frank of “at least two years”. This is still not a guarantee of course (nothing is) and it’s not unconditional, but unless Lampard pulls a Mourinho Mk.II and starts flirting with the relegation zone, he should be fine for at least the first year.

These sorts of reassurances coming from the club are certainly new, but then again, so are the circumstances. There are massive changes happening in the team (Hazard gone; youth revolution!), behind the scenes (Petr Cech and the rest of the band), and in the football world around us (transfer ban; City being investigated; transfer market spiraling further out of control; etc), and that may require a new approach from Chelsea as well.

Frank Lampard is the man to lead that on the pitch.

For now.