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It’s not so often that we get to see a former player quickly rise up to the top in terms of managerial appointment – but that’s the story of Frank Lampard who’s the manager of Chelsea FC just after one year of club management.
Former West Ham, Spurs and Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has revealed how he helped Lampard get his first job at Derby County. It wasn’t a straight swoop for his first job as Derby chief Mel Morris wasn’t keen on Lampard at first.
Lampard’s uncle, Harry Redknapp also revealed that the Chelsea legend had initially been offered the job to manage Ipswich Town, but Lampard rejected it because they had no transfer budget.
Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports the story: “I got him the job at Ipswich with Marcus Evans. I phoned Marcus Evans I said, ‘listen you need a manager, Frank Lampard’s your man.’
“He met him, loved him, offered him the job. Frank said ‘Harry, they’ve got no budget, it’s difficult there, I can’t bring any players in, what can I do?’
“I said, ‘it’s a great club Ipswich, Frank, but you’re going to need a bit of help, you haven’t got a magic wand.’
“Suddenly the Derby job become available and I rung Mel Morris. I said, ‘Mel, you’re looking for a manager?’ He said, ‘yeah I’m going to go for an experienced manager.’
“I said, ‘Mel, you keep getting managers and getting rid of them, you’ve not been very clever at picking managers, take Frank Lampard.’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘He’s got no experience.’
“I said: ‘Well there’s been a lot of great managers that have gone straight from playing. You’ve got people like Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard. Listen, he knows the game, the kid’s a great professional, he understands football, he’ll be fantastic for you, he’ll bring so much to Derby County Football Club.
“He said, ‘maybe as assistant I might be interested in talking to him.’
“I said, ‘no he wants to be a manager, Mel, meet him.’
“I made a meeting for them the next day, I rung Frank. They had a meeting at 7 o’clock, he rung me at half-past-eight. He said: ‘Oh my God Harry, he’s blown me away, I’ve given him the job.’
“That was it, I had no doubts he’d be a success. He’s a clever, bright lad, his work ethic is incredible, he knows the game, he’s been brought up with the game he’ll be amazing.”
Lampard did an amazing job in his first season as he led Derby to a playoff place, only to lose in the final to Aston Villa.
The following season, after the departure of Maurizio Sarri, the Chelsea board decided to give Lampard the job, and he has done okay in his first season for the Blues.