The Old Guard, Should we let them go?


If we go back in time, the prospect of Frank Lampard and John Terry not starting was quite unthinkable (apart from injury demands of course). But taking a look at our tremendous 2012/2013 season, we can see that John Terry has made 18(3) appearances this season, while Lampard has made 28(8). Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba were always the first names to appear on the team-sheets, the backbone of the team. Petr Cech of course will remain our n.1 GK for the next 2 or 3 seasons at least, as he’s 30 years old, which is quite young for a GK (having Courtois is making things a bit complicated for both of them anyway), while Drogba has left and Ashley Cole is still one of the best, if not the best left-back in the world. Ash has renewed his contract back in December, while we’re still in the Lampard saga since the beginning of the season and will possibly get involved in a John Terry saga next season. In my opinion, the presence of the old guard, for a team in transition, is a must.

1) Looking back at the Napoli games last season.

AVB wanted to change the team, bring in the new talents while decreasing the dependence on the old guard. And look at what happened. I remember the team-sheet that day when we played Napoli at Naples, it was like this: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bosingwa, Ramires, Meireles, Malouda, Sturridge,Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Cole, Essien, Lampard, Torres, Mikel, Kalou. The team that AVB picked that day lacked both, experience and guidance. There was no leader on the pitch, as JT also wasn’t playing. We were all over the place, no organisation whatsoever. We lost 3-1, the defense was in shambles and we were outplayed throughout the whole game. Then came our beloved RDM, and picked a team (Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Essien, Lampard; Sturridge,Drogba, Mata) that has lots of experience and confidence to overturn that deficit. I don’t blame AVB for trying to change the team and introduce some new formations and players and I’m not defending those who refused to ‘commit to his ideas’, but he just picked the wrong team, time and competition. You can’t try such a risky formation in a CL game. AVB wanted to prove to the whole world that he was the one who’s controlling things not the players, nor Roman. Yes the manager was a bit inexperienced back then, but to be fair, the old guard should have never disrespected him that way. Anyway. And the irony was that it was them who won us the second leg, with Drogba, Lampard and Terry all scoring. And of course Ivanovic. I brought up that point as an evidence of the importance of the experienced players in crucial games, which was totally evident in that game. They got the job done.

2) The Giggs and Scholes situation.

Whenever I go into that conversation with anybody, they just tell me “Come on, look at Giggs and Scholes, you should treat your legends better than that! ” And maybe Gerrard, Zanetti (39) or Becks (38) too. Giggs is 39, Scholes 38, Gerrard is a bit younger, 32 and we have Lamps, 34 and el capitano, JT, 32.
Ryan Giggs, in fact, doesn’t feature a lot (15(10) apps in all competitions). But when he does, he adds that experienced touch of his to the game. I believe that his role off the pitch is even greater, in guiding the younger players. When he played in the second leg vs Real Madrid, he has clearly shown that he hasn’t lost it. He was classy on the ball and dovetailed excellently with Rafael to keep Ronaldo contained. Also when he featured in Chelsea’s last game vs Manchester United at OT, he made that sublime pass to RVP, which was out of this world! While I was watching the Real Madrid champions league game, I thought about Lampard and Terry and whether they would accept that position or not. Lampard is a player who likes to play all the time, and gets bothered when he’s benched. Terry, of course doesn’t like to get benched, but he seems to be willing to accept that role more than Frank. If he doesn’t play, his second best thing to do is to be there for the lads and support them, that’s what made him the leader he is. They can perfectly become like both Giggs and Scholes, although some fans prefer to see them leave on a high, just like Didier did. In my opinion, that Giggs role would suit Terry more than Lampard, as Lamps doesn’t have the same leader characteristics as JT. So if they’re not playing, they’re helping the rest of the team by just being there.

3) Their value and importance.

Lampard is the best professional Chelsea have had in more than a decade, the definitive version of a role model for all our younger talents (Hazard, Mata, Oscar and so on). Lampard broke the record today and became Chelsea’s all-time goal scorer with 203 goals to his name. And no, he’s not a striker, he’s a midfielder. Why let him leave and let another club benefit from his professionalism, while he still delivers ? (Lampard has 14 goals this season, 5 assists and a passing success of 81%. While Terry has 5 goals and a passing success of 87%). JT, whatever misgivings people have about him, he’s the squad’s leader and without him, our defense looks vulnerable and nowhere near organised. His loyalty for this club is unquestionable, that’s why we have always stood by him no matter what. They may not be our best performers lately, but whenever they’re on the pitch, we tend to look a bit more confident and less shaky in midfield and definitely at the back. Our squad is filled with young promising talents, but let them play without a leader and it’ll all turn into one hell of a chaotic display (i.e: Brazil’s squad, when they played Italy and Russia recently, you look at the jaw-dropping talents they have, and you’re like: what a waste! There’s no leader to guide them, specially when they surrendered the 2-0 lead over Italy). Our team needs time to gel and form a proper squad, the old guard will be helpful in cementing that. The spirit that we have, the old guard’s spirit that made us what we are now will just go if we let them leave one after the other. They should stay to try to transmit that kind of spirit to the younger players. I’m not saying that the younger lads are not passionate about the club, in fact they show a lot of passion ( Specially Juan Mata and David Luiz, which I believe the latter will be the next Chelsea captain). It’s normal that they won’t get to play a lot, but their role off the pitch will always be more important to help the younger lads to become like them.
Before the Champions league final, I read this on the “Very few teams in the world can match Chelsea in the desire and determination departments”. This is exactly what the old guard provides us, and that’s what we need them to transmit to the younger players around.

In the end I want to say that Roman must change his mind and keep both players at the club, because they are the backbone of the team, on and off the pitch. I believe both will accept a pay-cut if that’s the only way they could stay, they ain’t poor I believe and the club has given them so much throughout their entire careers. Their value is immense, and if we let them go, the clubs will be queuing round the block to sign them ( a bit of a Harry Redknapp quote here haha).

Any comments or questions? Feel free to post them below.

  1. Okolo nathaniel says

    Anyone would find it hard arguing with this well written article,fabulous

    1. malakhassouna says

      Thanks a million, I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Ken says

    I think lamp and jt should be on a rolling contract, they should be used sparingly

    1. malakhassouna says

      Well that would not be a bad option, as both imo would agree.

  3. Hemat says

    Amazing article.. Very well written , , actually , I don’t know a lot about football, but what u ve written gave me a comprehensive idea about the club, players and other issues!, I like the style so much … Analytical and categorized… Plz Chelsae don’t give up ur oldies.. Old is gold…

    1. malakhassouna says

      Well I’m glad that my article helped, and maybe one day you’ll be more interested in the beautiful game :D. Thank you.

  4. Neri says

    Frank Lampard have scored 22 goals so far dis season. Not the 14 goals u mentioned.

    1. malakhassouna says

      Our top scorer this season is Torres with 20 goals. Lampard has 15 goals because I didn’t include the ones that he scored today.,,11668_23277,00.html

  5. romanus akpudile says

    i agree with you chelsea360..Roman should give lampard more years..john terry let him retire in chelsea colour…n leav bentiz 2 build his team with chelsea..jose nt long term chelsea..jose is nt a coach we need right now my reasons goes like this, jose cnt stay for long but bentiz will

    1. malakhassouna says

      In my opinion, Benitez has done a good job but he can’t stay for longer than this. The fans now are calmer, you can’t hear them sing Rafa out a lot because they know that he’s out the next week. But if he stays longer than this, the toxic atmosphere we had at the bridge will be back again. Mourinho can build things up for 3 or 4 years, and then we take it fresh from there.

  6. Vaibhav Kumble says

    A very well written article. Nothing I can disagree with.. If we let them leave now, it will be our loss and another team’s gain. Drogba situation was different because he was adamant on a 2yr contract. I sont think that will be a problem with JT and Lamps. Terry m not worried abt a bit. But lamps has this habit of showing displeasure when he is not playing regularly. I hope that changes. If Mourinho comes I think these things will be taken care of in the right manner.

    1. malakhassouna says

      Ashley Cole accepted the one year contract, so i think JT and Lamps won’t say no. Even if there’s a pay-cut, they’ll accept it. I agree, Lamps like to play all the time, that’s why the ‘Giggs role’ will be more suitable to JT. And tbh, I think Lamps will stay. But we have to wait till summer.

  7. Abi says

    as a chelsea fan i am inspired by your writing….. kepp up the good work 🙂

    1. malakhassouna says

      Thanks a lot, I’m happy that you liked it. 😀

  8. Talib Sayyed says

    Fabulous writing…keep it up!

    1. malakhassouna says

      Thank you! 😀

  9. Shiloh says

    Its hard to take in but its also the blunt truth, Jose doesn’t develope young talented players. But his the one that can make Chelsea serious tittle contenders, and probably end or reduce the teams level of inconsistency.

    1. malakhassouna says

      Well Jose’s a package, we know how good he can make us with the players that we have so we have to accept his defects. In Real Madrid, he chose Varane (19) over Pepe, so maybe if he finds someone who’s worth it in his point of view, he’ll use them.

  10. arthur osadebe says

    Honestly, since the disappaering of some of this that got BLUE blood running in their vein, in the likes our king and lion, Drog, Ballack, Essen, Recardo, iron malouda, apart from the present lions lik Jt, Lamps, Cech and Cole. No doubt the present young blues team is an assemble of great talent. But they lack the true BLUE blood in them. Look at the Napoli game ‘2nd leg’, barca. The likes of Oscar, Harzad. Our blood is BLUE, our blood is hard, keeping one old guard in every department of our team is important, in the Gk-cech, DF-Jt, MF- lamps, FC- they would keep our king, drog. This would help

    1. malakhassouna says

      I agree with you, definitely. And that’s what I was trying to say. We have to keep them, so they’ll transmit that spirit to the younger lads.

  11. Akinola says

    Awesome article there,they should and they must stay,as for Jose if he is given the chance i think he will take us to the nest level.KTBFFH

    1. malakhassouna says

      Thank you! 🙂
      And definitely Mourinho will be given a chance, we’ll take the PL by storm next season if/when he comes back

  12. vaakmeisster says

    To me, it all depends on the old guard. If they are willing to accept roles as squad players for the club they love, then they can stay. If not, it may be time for them to go. After yesterday, I would go if I was Lampard. He has achieved everything. He should go like Drogba when the ovation is loudest. Nice article by the way

    1. malakhassouna says

      Well, I believe that Terry will accept that role easily. He hasn’t featured much this season, but he’s still here for the lads to help them. Lampard likes to play all the time, but yesterday he said that he’d like to emulate Giggs, so maybe he can accept that position.
      And yes, some people would like to see them go on a high, so we’ll have to wait and see what will happen this summer.
      Thank you, glad you liked it 🙂

  13. Anonymous says

    miss Essien

  14. johnad says

    why still keeping them when there re several replacement for them? We got cahill for (terry) which Terry is the one disturbing him, He ( Cahill) is great player, WE ve got KDB for (Lampard) why putting these great players on the bench when the Old Guard are old?

  15. johnad says

    How many old guard do we had 2004 when we tormented all great teams? So the Old guard should gives room to Young ones, KDB is great replacement for LAMPARD, the spirit of chelsea will always be in any players who wears the BLUE shirts

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