Former Hammer Frank Lampard says he will always be grateful to West Ham as the Everton boss shows some long overdue class.
Everyone knows the history between West Ham and Lampard junior.
Although fans of Everton may have bigger things to worry about than the reception Lampard receives on his return to east London as manager of the relegation-threatened Toffees on Sunday.
The match is massive for both West Ham and Everton for very different reasons.
For West Ham it is about keeping pace in the race for the top six while Everton need every point they can get to try and avoid being relegated to the Championship.
West Ham fans know the story well but Everton fans, from a distance, may have been misinformed by the media coverage of the Lampard-West Ham situation down the years.
There has been no love lost between West Ham fans and the Academy graduate turned Chelsea legend since he left his boyhood club.
Frank Lampard junior and West Ham, a bitter divorce misunderstood
Hammers fans have taken a great deal of stick over their treatment of Lampard since he left them for Chelsea many moons ago.
But the saga has been misunderstood and misconstrued over time.
While suggestions of nepotism when Lampard was an emerging talent were regrettable, he was no saint in the bitter relationship that ensued.
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 his frequent proclamation that he had become Chelsea’s biggest fan.
Time is a great healer but so are the right words
They say time is a great healer. But words can help too.
And Lampard showed some long overdue class as he paid his respects to West Ham ahead of his return to the club with Everton.
Speaking ahead of the game Lampard says he will always be grateful to West Ham and talked fondly about growing up as a Hammers fan.
Lampard also paid tribute to the job ex Everton boss Moyes has done at his former club.
“It’s a big challenge because we all know what a great team David Moyes has built there,” Lampard said in his pre-match press conference.
“Really strong team physically, very well organised team, lots of threats, difficult to break down and that absolutely shows in their league position, so it’s a tough match.
“Yea (it’s always special going back to West Ham), I came through at West Ham as a young lad and grew up as a West Ham fan.
“It feels like a very long time ago but it never falls short on me that the people that influenced my career in terms of people like Harry Redknapp and Tony Carr, the youth team manager there (at the time) was a huge influence on me. Some people behind the scenes (also influenced me), some really good people there at the club.
“In those terms it’s an area where I grew up basically. For that (reason) there’s a lot to it (coming back to West Ham) for me. But also most importantly is what we get on the day.”