Chris Goreham: Why City fans must recognise 'Frank Lampard Day'

Frank Lampard savours his first Chelsea win at Norwich City Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Lt

Frank Lampard savours his first Chelsea win at Norwich City Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It’s a busy time of year.  

First the clocks go back and then it’s Halloween, followed closely by Bonfire Night.  

Next November we must remember, remember to celebrate Frank Lampard Day in Norfolk.  

Those 24 hours that the England great spent as Norwich City manager deserve to be marked. 

Some national media outlets were reporting last Thursday afternoon that Lampard had definitely agreed to take over at Carrow Road. By Friday he had apparently changed his mind and was definitely not going to be the next man in charge.  

Any boss who can manage the Canaries in the Premier League and leave with an unbeaten record deserves great credit.  

Farewell Frank, it was fun while it lasted. The Lampard Era wasn’t even long enough to outlast a Children in Need drumathon. BBC Weatherman Owain Wyn Evans spent more time behind his drum kit than Frank did in the Norwich City hot seat. 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard reacts after the final whistle during the Premier League match at Stam

A win against Barnsley could set up a fifth-round tie against Frank Lampard's Chelsea, providing they beat Luton Town. - Credit: PA

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Forget Fantasy Football this was Phantom Football. Lampard, it turns out, was never really on the verge of being appointed.  

A Premier League managerial vacancy is a rich source of material for everyone during an international break. With England preparing for low wattage matches against Albania and San Marino, Wes Hoolahan levels of journalistic creativity were needed to fill the holes left by a lack of top flight action. 

Would Lampard have kept Norwich City in The Premier League? We’ll never know.  

Many had already doubted his Carrow Road credentials which is an efficient use of time. Whenever a new manager is appointed, if you take against them straight away, you’ll always be proved right eventually. They all leave in the end and it’s either because they are losing games, which makes them unpopular, or because they are too successful and get poached by another club, which also makes them unpopular. 

The timing of Daniel Farke’s sacking appears to have spared him the usual fate of the departing manager. The story of Farke being dismissed in the dressing room at Brentford has conjured up images of him emerging from his post-match shower, still wrapped in a towel, to find Stuart Webber repossessing his club tracksuit. It might have felt cruel, coming in the moments after a victory, but it has helped Farke leave with more sympathy and good will than most of his predecessors. 

He’ll always be a Carrow Road hero for the two Championship titles and the manner in which they were achieved. However, the Premier League defeats by Watford, Chelsea and Leeds in particular this season didn’t suggest a revival was on the cards. 

Appointing a new head coach is always a gamble. No-one can be certain that any of Dean Smith, Lampard or Kjetil Knutsen would definitely be able to inspire Premier League survival this season. I dare say that all three of them ought to be capable of better than two points from 20 Premier Leagues games which was Farke’s record when the decision had been taken to reluctantly relieve him of his duties. 

Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is reportedly interesting Norwich City

Former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is reportedly interesting Norwich City - Credit: PA

Despite that awful run, Farke kept the qualities and the personality that meant everyone still really wanted him to succeed. There was sympathy for his plight rather than the anger that previous City bosses have faced in the doomed final days of their reigns. 

Smith appears to have the same air about him. As rumours of his impending appointment gathered pace I received a number of emails from colleagues in the Midlands who had interviewed him at Walsall and more recently Aston Villa. It’s the first time I have ever been sent such warm references for a new Norwich City manager without asking for them. 

Daniel Farke often talked about how the odds were stacked against him in The Premier League. For the Canaries to succeed at this level, and by succeed, I mean stay up, it’s going to need everyone to be pulling in the same direction. If Smith can engage with fans and players in the way he did at Villa we should see a united Carrow Road over the next, crucial, few months. 

That will count for an awful lot. All being well Dean Smith will have his feet firmly under the desk next time we celebrate ‘Frank Lampard Day’. 


Going greener... 

The recent Cop26 Conference has caused us all to consider the environmental impact of everything we do. 

It meant I recently got the chance to interview Dale Vince, the owner of League Two’s Forest Green Rovers. 

He’s made his name and fortune as a green energy industrialist. His company, Ecotricity, was responsible for the construction of those big wind turbines next to the A47 at Swaffham. 

That isn’t his only link to the county. Vince spent part of his childhood in Great Yarmouth and the first professional football match he attended was at Carrow Road. He told me that he had been taken by the milkman who delivered to his family when he was about 10 years old. He’s clearly one of the more forgiving ‘milkies’ out there because he still attends the odd Forest Green game now. 

What he makes of the catering is not clear. The club’s home ground is fully vegan and has been so since 2015. 

It got me thinking about what might have been. If Dale Vince had stayed in Norfolk would he have tried to take over Norwich City? What sort of a reaction would he have got if he’d tried to make the Canaries more green rather than yellow? 

Perhaps, with Cop26 so fresh in the mind, it’s worth asking the Premier League if we can have a few extra points in return for reducing Carrow Road’s carbon footprint.  

Brace yourself though, it would mean no more meat pies, burgers or sausage rolls in the kiosks at half-time. Many supporters that I know would struggle to give those up.  

I must admit that the half-time cuppa I rely on to soothe my commentary voice wouldn’t be the same without a bit of cow’s milk in. I’ve tried all the substitutes but can’t find anything that works as well for me.