Planet Sport assesses if Frank Lampard is the worst former Chelsea player turned manager ever

Planet Sport assesses if Frank Lampard is the worst former Chelsea player turned manager ever

The former Chelsea legend is just one in a long line of former Blues who have turned their hands to management, with spells at Derby and the Blues preceding his time at Goodison.

Brought in to replace Rafa Benitez, Lampard has delivered six defeats in eight and a loss to Burnley on Wednesday evening will bring a first ever top-flight relegation sharply into focus for the Toffees.

But has it all been doom and gloom for former Chelsea players turned managers? Planet Sport looks at some of Lampard’s contemporaries to see where he ranks.

The Good

Didier Deschamps, France, World Cup

Didier Deschamps

Deschamps only played for Chelsea for a season – 1999/2000 – winning an FA Cup winner’s medal. He retired after a similarly brief stint at Valencia and went straight into management with Monaco.

Deschamps proved hugely successful, building a team which included Patrice Evra, Fernando Morientes and Rafael Marquez and winning the Coupe de la Ligue in 2003. A year later they knocked Chelsea out in the Champions League semi-final thanks to Morientes’ goals in each leg.

Deschamps’ next job was markedly different, but arguably no less successful. Parachuted into Juventus in the wake of Fabio Capello’s resignation and the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal, he led the relegated Bianconeri back to Serie A at the first time of asking. Following clashes with the club’s management, he resigned the evening Juve were promoted.

Deschamps moved on to Marseille where he continued his remarkable Coupe de la Ligue success, winning the trophy in each of his three seasons at the club. In 2012, Deschamps left after being offered the job of France coach.

Blessed with an unparalleled depth of talent, Deschamps led France to the Euro 2016 final on home soil and then went on to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Steve Clarke

Steve Clarke, Scotland

Certainly the most underrated former Chelsea player on this list, Clarke has enjoyed a successful managerial career in the wake of his 11-year Chelsea stay.

Initially a serial assistant at Newcastle to Ruud Gullit, Chelsea to Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant, West Ham to Gianfranco Zola, and Liverpool to Roy Hodgson, Clarke’s first managerial role came at West Bromwich Albion.

In Clarke’s first season, the Baggies set club records for wins (14) and points (48) in a Premier League season. West Brom ended the season in style with a dramatic 5-5 draw with Manchester United, in what was Sir Alex Ferguson’s final match as manager. The draw left West Brom in eighth, their best finish since 1981. However, Clarke was sacked the following season, with the Baggies in 16th.

An underwhelming stint at Reading led to Clarke taking charge of his boyhood club, Kilmarnock, in 2017. Drawing 1-1 with Rangers and Celtic in his first week in charge was a sign of things to come as he led Kilmarnock to fifth place, setting a new club record points tally.

The following season was even more impressive as Killie qualified for Europe after finishing in third place and boasting a win rate of 50.6%.

That summer Clarke was offered the job of Scotland coach. A dramatic penalty shootout win over Serbia qualified Scotland for Euro 2020, where they drew 0-0 with England at Wembley in a match where the Scots enjoyed the better of proceedings.

However, they failed to qualify for the knockout stages and are again in a play-off for the 2022 World Cup, with Wales awaiting the winners of their outstanding tie with Ukraine.

Roberto Di Matteo Chelsea FA Cup win

Roberto Di Matteo

Di Matteo sneaks into the good category thanks to his brief spell in charge at Stamford Bridge. Before moving to Chelsea as Andre Villas-Boas’ assistant, he had largely unsuccessful spells at MK Dons and West Brom.

Following AVB’s sacking in March 2012, Di Matteo was handed the reins on an interim basis and fashioned a remarkable turnaround in the club’s fortunes. Placing renewed responsibility on the club’s ‘old guard’ of Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Coleand Didier Drogba he led Chelsea to an improbable Champions League and FA Cup double.

It saw him appointed on a permanent basis in the summer but he was only to last until November, making way after a 3-0 defeat to Juventus effectively eliminated them from the Champions League.

Di Matteo’s subsequent spells in charge of Schalke and Aston Villa were disappointments, especially the latter, where he recorded just one win in five months.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink insists Burton have not achieved anything yet

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

When he’s not enjoying a front-row seat for Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher’s latest spat, Hasselbaink is taking charge at Burton Albion where he has enjoyed two successful stints.

In the first, coming off the back of a year in charge of Belgian Second Division club Royal Antwerp, Hasselbaink led the club to promotion to League One for the first time in their history. He left Burton for Queens Park Rangers in December 2015 with the Brewers top of League One and having boasted a 61.1% win rate under the Dutchman.

QPR – and later Northampton Town – were not successful ventures for Hasselbaink, who recorded win rate percentages in the 20s at each club.

However, after a two-and-a-half-year break from management, Hasselbaink rejoined Burton in January 2021 with the side bottom of the League One. Despite the Brewers being six points adrift of safety, Hasselbaink led them to safety, winning 13 of their last 25 matches to finish ten points clear of danger.

The so-so

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes

The former Wales coach is the epitome of a so-so manager.

His first managerial role saw him lay the foundation for Wales’ subsequent rise up the FIFA rankings and earned him the Blackburn Rovers job.

His star still appeared in the ascendancy at Ewood Park, with Sparky leading the then-Premier League side to three successive top-ten finishes.

A record compensation deal took him to Manchester City where even pre-Abu Dhabi money, a 46.8% win rate was not enough for him to stay longer than 18 months. An 11-month spell at Fulham was followed by an ill-fated stay at QPR which ended with the sack after the Hoops picked up just four points from their opening 12 Premier League fixtures.

Nevertheless, Hughes continued to find gainful employment with 200 games racked up at Stoke before his sacking and 27 at Southampton before the axe fell.

The jobs then dried up and after a four-year stint without a role, Hughes re-emerged in League Two as Bradford City manager.

“It is maybe a little bit of a surprise that I have come in,” he admitted.

Ruud Gullit, LA Galaxy

Ruud Gullit

Like Di Matteo, Gullit’s only successful managerial role was at Stamford Bridge, where he was player-manager and led the club to the 1996/97 FA Cup – Chelsea’s first major trophy for 26 years. After a falling out with owner Ken Bates, Gullit was sacked in 1998.

A notorious spell at Newcastle followed, with Gullit reaching the 1999 FA Cup final in his first season in charge and then contriving to fall out with Alan Shearer and captain Rob Lee. He resigned five games into the following season.

Unremarkable stints in charge of Feyenoord, LA Galaxy and Russian club Terek Grozny (now Akhmat Grozny) followed, with the last of those roles coming in June 2011.

The Bad

Gus Poyet, Sunderland

Gus Poyet

Poyet has one incredible high to his managerial career – the improbable Sunderland resurrection at the end of the 2013/14 season – and a lot of mediocre spells and frankly bizarre job choices.

Brighton, AEK Athens, Real Betis, Shanghai Shenhua, Bordeaux, Universidad Catolica, and now Greece can all say he was their manager. But all he has to show for his 13 years in management is a League One title with the Seagulls and the Supercopa de Chile. And for the latter he only took charge of the final.

Gianfranco Zola

Voted Chelsea’s best ever player in a fan poll in 2003, Zola was never able to replicate his on-field success while on the sidelines.

Gianfranco Zola, Chelsea

Decent at West Ham and almost successful at Watford (a Championship play-off final put paid to that), Zola also had disastrous spells in charge of Cagliari and Birmingham. The latter lasted just four months and saw him claim just two wins from 24.

Dennis Wise, Leeds United

Dennis Wise

The former Chelsea captain had an odd managerial career. Starting out at Millwall as player-manager, he led them to the FA Cup final in 2004 – the first team from outside the top flight to reach the showpiece since Sunderland in 1992.

After a brief caretaker role at Southampton, Wise joined Swindon Town with the aforementioned Poyet as his assistant. He left for Leeds United after just five months.

At Leeds, Wise, being a Chelsea legend, was on the back foot from the start. It didn’t help that in his first season in charge the Whites were relegated to League One for the first time in their history.

Nevertheless, Wise was retained for the 2007/08 season and had guided Leeds to third in League One before walking out on the club for an executive director role at Newcastle.

He is currently general manager at Italian Serie B side Como 1907.

Everton manager Frank Lampard applauds during the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton.

Frank Lampard

Lampard started his managerial journey at Derby County where he built a promotion-chasing side that mixed experience – Richard Keogh, Tom Huddlestone and Ashley Cole – with loan talents – Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Harry Wilson – and homegrown stars – Jayden Bogle and Mason Bennett.

They lost in the play-off final to an Aston Villa side that included John McGinn, Jack Grealish, Tyrone Mings and Tammy Abraham, but many felt that with the quality at his disposal, promotion should have been secured automatically.

Despite under-achieving at Pride Park, Lampard was given his dream job at Chelsea with the club operating under a transfer ban. Bringing in a number of homegrown talents, Lampard’s first season was a success as he qualified for the Champions League and reached the final of the FA Cup.

The cash was splashed in the summer of 2020 but Lampard struggled to blend the old and the new and was sacked in January 2021.

His removal was seen by some as harsh but the arrival of Thomas Tuchel showed the potential the team had. Not only did Tuchel lift the Blues from ninth to fourth, he also landed the Champions League following victory over Manchester City.

Lampard then missed out on a number of high-profile roles before being appointed manager of Everton in January 2022.

Four points clear of the relegation zone when he was appointed, the Toffees now sit just three points clear of the drop zone going into Wednesday night’s clash with fellow strugglers Burnley.

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