Ex-Blues star Pat Nevin is hoping to see a club legend thrive at Stamford Bridge, but admits famous names do not always prosper in high-profile posts
Frank Lampard has seen Gary Neville and Jose Mourinho offered up as warnings of how icon status is no guarantee of success in management, with a Chelsea legend back at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have confirmed the appointment of a club legend as successor to Maurizio Sarri.
A loyal fan base in west London has welcomed the return of a former favourite, but questions have been asked of Lampard’s lack of experience after just one season as a manager at Derby.
Former Blues star Pat Nevin is hoping to see the new man at the helm given time, but is aware that a tough job is being taken on by a relative novice and past achievements will count for little.
He told BBC Sport: “First and foremost, when has there been a worse time to take over as manager of Chelsea?
“There may well be plenty of money at the club but that isn’t going to help Frank in the short term if he cannot spend it. The two-window transfer ban is still being contested, but if Chelsea lose that fight then the coming season brings a whole host of problems to contend with.
“Any boss would be worried after losing the irreplaceable Eden Hazard, who has left for Real Madrid. There could also be a gap to fill in midfield, with hints that Jorginho – a playmaker I like – may leave. Yes, they have signed Mateo Kovacic permanently from Real Madrid, but even a player with the engine of N’Golo Kante might struggle to fill the holes that remain.
“Also, Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek both suffered serious long-term Achilles injuries which may take as much as a season to fully recover from. A hugely experienced manager would find these difficulties hard to overcome, never mind a newbie.
“Given all those challenges surely Frank, with his history, doesn’t have to be successful right away?”
Nevin added on the challenges Lampard faces: “Is it disrespectful to question whether Frank is making the right decision by taking this job so early in his managerial career?
“If things go wrong at the start it can destroy your chances going forward. Just look at the stick Gary Neville took after his stint at Valencia went belly up. Sir Alex Ferguson was sacked from his first job at St Mirren – although he did bounce back quite well!
“You have to be good, but you also have to have good timing in management. Frank had the best timing I have ever seen in a footballer when it came to arriving in the box, but the timing of his arrival as Chelsea manager could have been better, even if it is through no fault of his own.
“Football is littered with the names of club legends who went back to manage at their spiritual homes. When it doesn’t work out the dirty deed has to be done and for a while at least the legend is tarnished. I never want it to happen to Frank because I like and respect so much of what he has done and also the man he has turned out to be.
“Had he taken this job four or five years down the line, his chances of success would have been much better, but he knows there is no certainty the chance would come around again.
“Yes Chelsea have a habit of making that role available pretty regularly, but Frank would have had to continue being a success elsewhere, and sometimes it is not in your control to keep that success rolling on continuously. Club finances, ownership changes and something as simple as a bunch of injuries can lead to a fairly short-term bad spell and you know what that means in this industry.
“Mourinho was the most legendary manager the club has ever had and he was sacked, twice!”