‘It’s very straight, very cut-and-dried and that’s how I try to give it back’: Frank Lampard admits he hasn’t had a ‘close, close relationship’ with Roman Abramovich as Chelsea manager as he relives his ‘quite surreal’ first meeting with the club’s owner
- Frank Lampard has detailed his relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich
- Chelsea boss admits it has not been as close as when he was a player
- He says he does not ‘beat around the bush’ when reporting back on games
The Russian owner has been a distant figure at Stamford Bridge in recent years after he withdrew his application for a new visa in the UK in 2018 amid a Government crackdown on wealthy overseas investors.
Frank Lampard has opened up on his relationship with Roman Abramovich as Chelsea boss
Lampard had a different relationship with Abramovich during his playing days at Chelsea
Lampard tells The Athletic that Abramovich was ‘very visible at the training ground in the early years’, but that it was director Marina Granovskaia who he held talks with on his return as manager last year, not the owner.
‘When I came back to the club, no; it was Marina (Granovskaia, the director), who contacted Derby and then myself to make that happen’, he said.
‘I saw Roman on pre-season last year and it was big smiles and not cuddles but welcomes and handshakes.’
Lampard still reports back to Abramovich after games and insists he is honest in his feedback, even after a poor performance or result.
‘From then, I haven’t had a close, close relationship with him, albeit I report back my thoughts on games, on where I see us and where I see us moving forward consistently through Marina and I’m very happy with that.
Lampard and the Chelsea owner celebrate lifting their first Premier League title in 2005
Lampard says he was contacted by Marina Granovskaia to take the top job in 2019
‘I would say the relationship is close without being practically close day-to-day or week-to-week. I feel the support from afar, but it’s very straight, very cut-and-dried and that’s how I try to give it back.
‘If I’m commenting on how we’re playing or performing, I don’t beat around the bush. Whether good or bad, I think that’s the right policy with a man of that level.’
It is 17 years since Abramovich bought the club from Ken Bates, and Lampard admits it was ‘quite surreal’ when he first arrived at the training ground after flying in from his helicopter.
But he says he knew he meant business from day one: ‘The first thing he said, through a translator, was, “Well, we need to improve the training ground”. And straight away, you think, “OK, standards are instantly going to go through the roof”.’
Within two years Chelsea had their first piece of silverware in the new era, the Carling Cup, and then lifted their first league title in 50 years under Jose Mourinho.
Lampard admits it was ‘quite surreal’ when he first met Abramovich as owner in 2003