Opinion: Frank Lampard is far from perfect, but it’s the best appointment Everton have made in years

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Frank Lampard was appointed as Everton manager in January of this year, and he is a brave man for even considering joining this football club.

When Lampard was appointed, Everton were on a run of winning just one game in 14. Rafa Benitez was struggling to get the best out of any key Everton players, and the confidence of the group was through the floor.

Stubbornness to change when things were going wrong, offloading two of Everton’s key creators, and the lack of passion shown towards a football club backed by a fan base as loyal as those who flood Goodison Park in their thousands, are just a few reasons the Spanish manager was not the right fit.

However, this isn’t an article slandering the previous Everton manager, but a piece highlighting why Lampard was an excellent appointment, and a risky one at that.

Lampard came to Everton with no experience of battling at the foot of the table, as a player, or as a manager. The former Chelsea man is used to winning titles, playing and managing in Europe, and the task he took on at Everton couldn’t be further away from that.

The Everton manager hasn’t got everything right tactically, no fan at Goodison Park would argue that, but the connection he has developed with the club and its supporters is admirable. The evidence is clear to see – thousands of fans flocking to the streets of Liverpool, smoke bombs aloft, flags waving, as the Everton supporters welcome the coach arriving at the ground in recent weeks.

Videos from inside the bus show how much the players have appreciated the passion shown by the Everton fans. Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray, in particular, were pictured struggling to contain their excitement as the coach struggles to squeeze down Goodison road.

The Everton fans even gathered at the training ground in immense numbers, as The Toffees headed to Watford in the middle of the day. Had Lampard not taken to the club immediately, shown his appreciation to the supporters, and displayed his passion on the sideline, the supporters may not have come together to try and drag the club through this torrid season.

When Benitez was appointed, Everton fans felt a total disconnection from the club. Appointing a former Liverpool manager, who has previously criticised the club, showed signs that the ownership didn’t care about how the supporters felt. Mass protests took place to attempt to convince the board to steer clear of Benitez, but they didn’t listen.

In Lampard’s first few weeks, he attempted to implement a possession-based style, but it was clear from early on it wasn’t going to work with the current crop of players at the club. The players lacked confidence and the personnel wasn’t suited to playing in this way.

Rather than being stubborn and sticking to his philosophy, Lampard and his coaching staff decided to change their ways. Sit deep, absorb pressure, and hit teams on the counter. Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle, and Crystal Palace were all defeated by Everton by just one goal, and it was the fight and passion from the players and fans that dragged them through to the final whistle.

There’s no doubt he’s got things wrong at times, and he will be the first to admit that. He’s a young, inexperienced coach, but with those behind him in his coaching staff, he’s on the path to becoming an excellent manager.

Lampard has understood from day one that the fans are so important to Everton Football Club. It’s their life, plain and simple, and the former England midfielder has fallen in love with the club.

Everton fans don’t deserve to be in a relegation battle, and it’s undoubtedly been one of their worst seasons in the Premier League. But, what they can take from it, is they now feel they have their club back. There are still massive issues behind the scenes, but with a manager in place who wants what’s best for the club, rather than just being happy to pick up a nice wage, there’s no doubt in my mind Lampard will be demanding change and hopefully, for Everton fans, the near future is full of positivity and success.

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