Frank Lampard stays at Manchester City for the rest of the season
Manchester City confirmed they have extended Frank Lampard's contract up to the end of the season. The short-term contract expired on New Year's Eve and Lampard was due to officially become a New York Red Bull player on January 1, but both clubs agreed about the deal. Of course, there were no problems about that, as both Manchester City and MLS side New York have the same owner - Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan. The question is did Lampard made a mistake. He is a step away to lose iconic status at Stamford Bridge and he is risking a lot with New York fans.
Lampard signed to MLS side New York City during the summer and then was loaned to Manchester City. Early in this season, in the fifth round, he faced his former club. Lampard was given a great reception by Chelsea's fans when he entered the match, as so as by Manchester City fans. Most probably he never expected to score against his old club, but life is sometime strange. It is clear the goal against Chelsea is not between the favorites. When he entered the match Chelsea were leading 1:0 and Manchester City played with 10 players. However, Lampard managed to score in the 85th minute with his volley. He didn't celebrate the goal and was overwhelmed by emotions with that tough situation. Lampard said after the match:
"It's a really difficult one. I'd be unprofessional if I didn't come on and do my job, so I was trying to get into the box and it was a great ball back from Milly. It's a tough one for me. I had 13 amazing years with the Chelsea fans, so I am mixed with it. I am obviously pleased the team I play for got a draw. I am a little lost for words. I didn't expect to come on and score like that. I came on and the Chelsea fans were singing, and that's emotional. Then I am playing for this club, who have taken me in brilliantly as well, so I am really stuck in the middle here."
But the question is how the Blues' fans will react now? Lampard will not become an enemy, but I am sure they don't like his decision to stay and help Manchester City in the battle for the first place. Not to mention that Chelsea and Manchester City could face in the Champions League.
The fact that Lampard will miss the start of New York's inaugural MLS campaign have provoked an angry backlash against both the player and Manchester City from football fans in the United States. New York City FC fans' group Third Rail said that the fans feels betrayed.
"On behalf of the Third Rail, we would like to publicly denounce City Football Group's and Frank Lampard’s decision. Many fans, including our members, decided to support the team, committed to season tickets, and bought merchandise under the impression that Frank Lampard would be playing for New York City Football Club, not Manchester City. Many of those fans are rightly outraged by this decision, and we support any course of action they take to voice their discontent over this decision. We reject out of hand any suggestion that NYCFC is in any way secondary to Manchester City FC, regardless of the source, and are disappointed that City Football Group would give such an appearance."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has questioned the signing of Frank Lampard in August and said it is a way to get around the fair play. Now Grant Wahl, a respected American football expert, described the situation as a "debacle". He said:
"New York City FC having Lampard from day one in year one was a measuring stick of how seriously Manchester City owners took MLS and NYC fans. Answer: They don't. The only thing New York City could do now to save face with fans over the Lampard debacle is to make an equivalent signing to start the season."
Chelsea fans will be asking themselves why the club chose to let him go in the first place. They were not expecting to see Lampard in other Premier league side. It will be interesting to see their reaction on 31 January, when Manchester City are visiting Stamford Bridge.