Frank Lampard has spoken of a tough period when he was a player for the club and how former boss Harry Redknapp helped him through it.
As a player who came through the famed Academy of Football in east London, Lampard made his first appearance in the new year in 1996 – following in the footsteps of his Dad, Frank Senior. The midfielder worked his way into the team and went on to represent our Hammers for 5 years, amassing a total of 148 appearances in the claret & blue.
Unfortunately though, things turned sour in his relationship with the club and he subsequently made a move across London to rivals Chelsea, where he went on to becoming a club legend for the Blues, even becoming their all-time top scorer.
Having now retired as a player, Lampard has gone on to take up managerial posts at Derby County, Everton and Chelsea. He has now spoken of a time that was highly emotional for him in his past when at West Ham, when speaking to his former Chelsea teammate Jon Obi Mikel on the Obi One Podcast.
Lampard reflected on a fan-forum night where he was cristicised for him role in the side, by the uncle of his former West Ham teammate Scott Canham – a player Lampard replaced in the side.
Following the outburst, Redknapp, who is also Lampards uncle, leapt to his defence of Frank – an incident Lampard remembers well.
“At the time I was sort of embarrassed, devastated, I was a young kid,” said the former Hammers midfielder.
“This fella was an ignorant fella, he didn’t want to give me a chance, he was the uncle of Scott Canham. Nothing against Scott Canham, maybe something against his uncle, he wanted to have a pop at me in public which I thought was weak.
“At that point I didn’t take it in, I was sat there like I was the only man in the room, it was so nerve-racking for me.
“Harry’s words were amazing, incredible. But I was driving home in tears, this random man trying to put me in my place.
“I’m just trying to make it as a player, trying to get my foot in the first team, I was a West Ham fan.
“My period there was a bit like that, a lot of people wanted to question why I played, why my dad was the coach, my uncle’s the manager.
“I get that, ‘maybe he’s getting a leg up’, but it wasn’t true and I had to prove it not to be true. It definitely toughened me up, I’m thankful for it now, I became very tough for it.”