From the Archives
Happy Birthday to former West Ham and England midfielder Frank Lampard Junior, who turns 41 today.
Frank Lampard Junior was born in Romford to West Ham left-back Frank Senior and Pat on the 20th June 1978, a month after the Hammers’ relegation from the top flight. He joined West Ham’s Academy in 1994, spent a spell on loan with Swansea in 1995 and won the South East Counties League in 1996, making the FA Youth Cup Final in the same year, although the Irons lost to Liverpool.
Lampard made his Hammers debut at the age of 17 on 31st January 1996 as a substitute in a 3-2 home win over Coventry; he made one further sub appearance in 1995/96 and made 16 appearances in 1996/97, although his season was ended by a broken leg suffered at Aston Villa in March 1997.
Lampard was a key figure in the Hammers’ ever-improving team in 1997/98, scoring his first goal for the club a minute after stepping off the bench on the opening day of the season, the winner in a 2-1 victory at Barnsley. Lampard made 42 appearances as the Hammers finished eighth, scoring nine goals, including a hat-trick in the League Cup fourth round against Walsall, who had future Hammer Jimmy Walker in goal. Lampard also scored the opener in a 3-1 defeat at Leeds’ Elland Road, replicating his dad’s jig round the corner flag at the same ground in the 1980 FA Cup semi-final by way of celebration. He made his debut for England Under-21s during this campaign, going on to captain the side.
Lampard made 41 appearances as the Hammers finished fifth in 1998/99, scoring six goals. Becoming renowned for spectacular strikes from distance, he notched long range strikes in home victories over Leicester and Middlesbrough, and also scored a penalty at Anfield’s Kop End in a 2-2 draw against Liverpool.
Arguably Lampard’s best season in claret and blue was the 1999/2000 campaign, scoring 14 goals from midfield in 49 matches. He started the season in style, scoring four goals by the end of August – three in the InterToto Cup against Jokerit, Heerenveen and Metz, as well as the winner in a 1-0 home triumph against Tottenham. He also scored in the UEFA Cup against Osijek and bagged winners in Upton Park goalfests against Sheffield Wednesday (4-3) in November 1999 and Bradford in February 2000 (5-4). Lampard also made his full England debut under Kevin Keegan in October 1999, starting and playing 76 minutes in a 2-1 win over Belgium at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light – his cousin, Jamie Redknapp, scored the winning goal.
Lampard’s final campaign in east London, 2000/01, saw him bag nine goals in 37 games. He scored his only brace for the club in a 2-1 win at Bradford in February 2001 and signed off as a Hammer with three goals in his final four games. His last goal for the Irons was a penalty in a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on 16th April 2001, with his final match for the club being a 2-0 home defeat to Leeds on 21st April 2001 – the visitors had 22-year-old Lampard’s youth team colleague Rio Ferdinand in their ranks. Lampard made his second and final England appearance while with the Hammers in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first match in charge, as a half-time substitute in a 3-0 win over Spain at Villa Park in February 2001.
A few weeks later, Lampard’s father and uncle (Frank Senior and Harry Redknapp respectively) both left the club. Feeling that his position as a player at the club was untenable, Lampard sought a move and rejected Aston Villa to sign for Chelsea for £11m in the summer of 2001 – he had scored 38 goals in 187 appearances for West Ham United. My video below shows 37 of these 38 goals. This video has proved to be one of my most popular, with in excess of 25,000 views since it was posted in October 2018.
Lampard went on to become Chelsea’s highest goalscorer of all-time, scoring 211 goals in 648 appearances. He won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, two Community Shields, one Champions League and one Europa League during his time in west London. He won 106 caps for England, scoring 29 goals for his country. He represented the Three Lions at the 2004 European Championships, and the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He missed the 2012 Euros through a thigh injury.
Lampard spent a season with Manchester City before ending his career at New York City FC in the United States. Lampard, 41 today, is currently manager of Championship side Derby.