A week ago today in the first leg against Steaua Bucharest, Frank Lampard made another of his many marks on Chelsea history.
Some records or milestones reached by players are met with appreciation and admiration at the time but some truly endure, and the all-time lists for appearance makers and goalscorers are the most prominent and well-known in any club’s individual statistics.
In Romania Lampard played his 593rd Chelsea game, taking him ahead of John Hollins as our third highest appearance maker. Already second when it comes to the club’s goalscorers, only Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti are now above him in total of games played.
With Harris on 795 games and Bonetti on 729, those two legends are a long way ahead but Lampard must have looked in recent years at Hollins’s 592 (played in two spells between 1963-75 and 1983-84) and thought it within his range.
‘Yeah, I did,’ he confirms, speaking to the official Chelsea website.
‘I am really pleased to have gone third. I didn’t come here until I was 22 so I have managed to play regularly for a long time and to be up there with the likes of Chopper Harris and Peter Bonetti is a very proud moment. I never thought when I signed that I would play that many games.
‘Chopper particularly is miles ahead and in the modern day with the squads we have it is different, and it will be very hard for anyone to catch him.’
Hollins (pictured below), with 64 goals for Chelsea, was not a midfield goalscorer in the Lampard mould but his passing and ability to get around the pitch and keep going for 90 minutes, game after game, do bear comparison. Given that Bonetti was a goalkeeper and Harris a defender in the days when defenders mostly stayed back, it is unlikely anyone has run as many miles in a Chelsea shirt as the two midfielders.
‘I know John Hollins quite well and I’ve met him out at lunch down the King’s Road, he is very nice man,’ says Lampard. ‘I grew up aware of him and know he was a player with plenty of energy, which you need in midfield.’
Lampard’s 594th Chelsea game came at Old Trafford on Sunday with his next appearance, if selected, the hosting of Steaua tonight when as we did exactly a year ago against Napoli, we will be looking to overturn a deficit from the away leg.
‘Steaua are a good team,’ he reports. ‘They are technically good on the ball which most European teams are once you get to this stage of a competition, and it will be a tough game, as simple as that. It was a very difficult pitch out there and our pitch will be better.
‘The fact we didn’t score an away goal is going to make it a difficult night, it will be on a bit of knife edge, but we have to believe we have the character and ability to turn it around.’