Everyone knows the history between West Ham United and Frank Lampard junior.

There’s been no love lost between West Ham fans and the Academy of Football graduate turned Chelsea legend over the years.

Hammers fans have taken a great deal of stick over their treatment of Lampard since his move to Stamford Bridge.

But the saga has been misunderstood and misconstrued over time.

While suggestions of nepotism when Lampard was an emerging talent were regrettable, Lampard was no saint in the bitter relationship.

Photo by Phil Cole Allsport

Lampard and West Ham, a rivalry misunderstood

The retired former England star was a massive West Ham fan as a kid, watching his dad, Frank Senior, carve out legend status at the club.

But the relationship between Lampard and the then Upton Park faithful turned sour when he was sold to London rivals Chelsea and claimed he was not liked by supporters.

Lampard went on to criticise the club and its fans on numerous occasions and received abuse from the terraces whenever the two clubs met.

The fact he would invariably kiss the Chelsea badge to antagonise them further when he inevitably scored against his old side did not help matters, nor did the proclamation that he is Chelsea’s biggest fan.

Photo by Darren Walsh Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Classy Lampard refuses to take the media bait over West Ham

They say time is a great healer.

And that seems to have been the case.

Hammers fans continued to taunt Lampard from the stands during their 1-0 win over the Blues on Saturday.

But to his credit Lampard resisted a cynical line of questioning before and after the London derby as the media baited him to try and get the Blues boss to take a pop at his old club.

 

Instead a classy Lampard refused to bite.

“I’ll just do my job, fans will be fans, we know where everyone’s loyalty lies and we know how passionate fans are,” Lampard said pre-match (Football London).

“It’s a London derby so we’ll expect it to be passionate on both sides and I’ll just do my job personally.

“I wouldn’t say it’s bittersweet in any way. It’s just a game for me, a game for us to try to win against a very difficult opponent. It’s a London derby, which adds a spice to it, which the players have to be aware of. That can change the temperature of the game. I’m not concerned about the emotions of it from my point of view. I came through the academy there a long time ago, I’ve been at Chelsea a long time as a player and now managing, so my focus is completely on us.

“What I expect them to bring? Passion and effort. They’re in a difficult place because of their recent run, and that can sometimes bring out the best in players. You look at people like Mark Noble and Declan Rice in their team, players with experience and young players who care for the club. They’ll want to react for a manager who’s a top manager, so I expect a reaction and we know they have individual quality in forward areas. I’m taking this game nowhere near lightly – we know it’s a tough match.”

Lampard was complimentary to West Ham after the game. And he did not – like so many managers – try to paint a different picture or insist Chelsea should have won.

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Martin comments show Lampard’s class

But Lampard’s classiest move was his praise for Hammers hero David Martin.

The goalkeeping son of West Ham legend Alvin – who was playing for the Hammers when Lampard was an emerging talent at West Ham – Martin’s calm display on his Premier League debut at the age of 33 was fairytale stuff.

And Lampard took time out to congratulate the pair.

“I’m sure Alvin is very proud,” Lampard said (The Sun).

“To come in like he did with all the talk, his son played a very good game and it was great. I was very happy for him. He has worked hard and got an opportunity to play for West Ham. To do as well as he did — we have to give credit.”

Perhaps it is time to call a truce.

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