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Frank TV and the Case of Too Much Badge Kissing


Guest Brian M

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Guest Brian M

A kiss is just a kiss, except if Lampard's talking about his wages

18:58pm 18th August 2007

There was a moment the other evening when it seemed that Frank Lampard had forgotten his script. The ball was in the back of the Reading net and the Chelsea player was reeling away in celebration. Then he stopped and remembered what celebrity footballers do on such occasions. He grabbed his shirt and kissed the club badge.

Now, I have long believed that this toe-curling ritual should constitute a yellow card offence.

It is football's equivalent of the Oscar acceptance speech, when the gushing star thanks Mom, Pop, God, America and the publicity people from Paramount.

Badgekissing demeans both the kisser and those who are, by patronising implication, kissed. In short, it gives insincerity a bad name.

Some will tell you that this tasteless flamboyance is explained by Lampard's reluctance to sign a new contract.

It is reported that Chelsea are currently paying him around ?115,000, that they have offered him ?130,000,and that he believes he is worth ?135,000.

These, remember, are his weekly wages, and should not be confused with lottery winnings.

He has repeatedly insisted that his failure to sign has absolutely nothing to do with money, yet there are those who continue to doubt him.

So he strives to demonstrate his loyalty by giving the badge a great, slurping smacker at every opportunity. And the more he does it, the less convincing he seems.

By now, one might have thought that his closest adviser would have had a word. But his agent is one Steve Kutner, a chap whose idea of subtle pressure was to turn up at some recent contract negotiations with a copy of 'Teach Yourself Spanish' under his arm.

If you were looking for intelligent instruction, then Senor Kutner might not be your man.

But I sense a solution is at hand. Lampard recently became the first footballer to launch his own dedicated mobile television channel. It is called Frank TV, and it features some compelling fly-on-the-wall footage of our hero wrapping Christmas presents, playing with his dogs and cooking brussels sprouts.

Incidentally, I wonder how a prospective customer might be received if he approached his supplier with a request to purchase ? nod, nod, wink,wink ? 'Frank TV'?

Anyway, the fact that Lampard apparently received a six-figure sum for his trouble was not his reason for undertaking this pioneering project.

No, he simply wanted to show that footballers are: 'average people at home with our families doing ordinary things'.

With this in mind, he conducted an indepth interview with his cousin, Jamie Redknapp.

Sadly, I haven't seen the result, but I don't doubt that it was a stimulating collision of minds, which might have made a 12-part series for BBC4 rather than a mobile phone clip for Frank TV.

Still, there will be further collisions, since Frankie and Jamie tend to interview each other on a regular basis.

And when the next interrogation is over and the principals sink back in their seats, intellectually spent, I like to think that Jamie will raise the sensitive topic.

"Frank".

"Yes, Jay?"

"Know that bit you do when you score a goal, grabbing the shirt and kissing the badge and all that?"

"Yes, Jay?"

"Well, people reckon you're having a laugh. Do us a favour, Frank, leave it out."

It could be the best thing that's happened to football since they abolished hacking. Jamie Redknapp, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/a ... ge_id=1951

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love the last article on the page

"P.S. A fascinating reaction from Sir Alex Ferguson to Cristiano Ronaldo's sending-off at Portsmouth.

"It's very difficult to be angry with Cristiano because some of the things that are happening in the game right now are not right," he said.

"My fear is the direction referees have taken and the way they suddenly seem more tolerant of physical contact."

Ronaldo, you may recall, was dismissed for a head-butt.

Thankfully, even tolerance has its limits."

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I still respect Lampard as a footballer, but I have just lost respect for him as a person. He wants more money and he wants to make it out of nothing. How is this Frank TV useful to anybody? It only sucks the money out of stupid average people who think that Lampard is someone special, who burst into tears and run to buy his shirts when they see Lampard stroking and feeding 6 cute puppies on the Frank TV.

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A far better piece of journalism

The man who always divides opinion in two

At the mercy of the England boo brigade and phone-in cynics, Frank Lampard hits back in typically full-blooded fashion

Martin Samuel, Chief football correspondent

It would be very easy for Frank Lampard to pull out of this week?s England international with Germany. He, too, has a broken toe. He displays it, protruding through the end of his sandals, purple and swollen like an angry chipolata. The tendon is ruptured and, by rights, needs reconstructive surgery, but the club are reluctant as the lay-off would then be measured in weeks, maybe months. He bends the toes on his left foot to show the problem and the fourth one (the one that had no roast beef, if you recall the nursery rhyme) does not move. If a tendon stays unconnected after several weeks, the condition becomes irreparable; in time, the swelling and discomfort will ease, but the lack of movement will be permanent.

?I?ll be stuck with it, yeah,? Lampard says. ?I don?t mind. The physio and the doctor have warned me that if I don?t rest, it will take three or four months to get better and I?ll have pain, and they said it would be better if I didn?t go with England. I thought about that. But, number one, I want to play for England, and number two, what is the point of resting it for a few days? It needs weeks and I won?t get that, so get on with it. That has always been my attitude. It comes from my dad [Frank Sr].

?When I was young, if I said to him: ?My leg hurts?, his response would always be: ?Get on with it.? I?ve gone through life with that voice in my head. ?Dad, I?ve broken my leg.? ?Get on with it.? It?s an old-fashioned attitude, I know, but we could do with more of it these days. That is how I would be if I had a boy. Toughen him up. You watch, I?ll end up with a fanny merchant, driving me mad, always rolling about on the floor.? He mentions the name of a teammate, and laughs.

The irony is that a section of England fans would be only too happy if Lampard ducked it on Wednesday. Voted England player of the year by supporters in 2004 and 2005, the withdrawal of public affection has been swift and spectacular. At Wembley last May, while the announcement of David Beckham?s recall was cheered to the rafters, Lampard was booed and excellent, unselfish performances against Brazil and Estonia have done little to consolidate opinion in his favour. He remains the most divisive player in English football, provoking a dichotomy of extremes: either first on the teamsheet or not in the squad. There seems no third way at all.

?Playing for England can be tough,? he muses. ?I?ve worked bloody hard to get here, so of course criticism hurts, but you can?t be weak enough to let it bother you. I could pull out of this game if I wanted. Say I?ve got a dodgy toe. But I will never hide. I can suffer getting booed. I?m not stupid. If we play crap, I don?t go around asking: ?Why are they booing us?? But putting myself in the position of the level-headed fan, it makes no sense to turn so quickly on one player. I take strength from the fact there have always been bad times with England and other players came through it.

?John Barnes got booed. John Barnes! Every player I?ve met who knew him says he was the best they ever played with. Alan Shearer had it before Euro 96, I remember. That is when you need big personalities. Maybe there will be a day when I say, ?No more, because I need to focus my energy on my club?, but not soon, and certainly not because of a few boos.?

This disparity has followed him since his days at Upton Park, where half the crowd wanted him elevated to the England team and the other half would not have had him in the West Ham team (although it is the latter half that has scarred his memory.) ?Look, everyone has a player that is not their favourite,? Lampard adds. ?but I don?t know why it is particularly me. Maybe when I retire people will say: ?He was a good player after all.? Maybe when the goals aren?t there.

?In the street, people are always really nice to me, but I am aware of the other side. Perhaps the ones I think are nice walk away and say to their mates: ?What a c***.? He?s getting it now, John Terry. Every day he shows me a letter about his new contract: ?F***ing 130 grand a week, I?m a builder, I hope you lose 10-0, you and your mate Lampard. . .? They say horrible things, some of them. I wonder why people are like it. Who takes the time to write a letter like that? I got one last year from a Spurs fan, he said I took a corner ? and I do remember it because I was getting slated by their lot ? and I looked at them and smiled and he said it was antiSemitic, the way I looked at them. Incredible. I felt like writing back and saying: ?I?m not antiSemitic ? if I was, I?m hardly likely to announce it in front of 30,000 at White Hart Lane, of all places.?

?Things have changed. There is this phone-in culture now which encourages people to say strong things and I?ve probably picked up some enemies on the way. I play at Chelsea, which is a club that it is fashionable to dislike. I left West Ham in a bad way. The ?Fat Frank? thing started at West Ham and now it is everywhere. I did the fat test the other day. Mine is 8 per cent, which puts me among the three lowest players at the club. Then I go away and it?s ?Fat Frank?.?

True story. Footballer of the Year dinner, Lancaster Gate, 2004. Lampard has been crowned the player of the season and has given, by overwhelming consent, the finest acceptance speech of any recipient in history, sincere and eloquent, for what must have been 20 minutes. Chelsea are champions ? ?we pissed the league that year,? he recalls, less eloquently, it must be said ? and his goals have put them there. It is, unquestionably, his night and he is milking it to the last drop, staying up late for a well-earned celebration. Walking through the now half-empty hall, still clutching his trophy, he passes a group of men talking. All offer congratulations. Among the number is the comedian Alan Davies, a top bloke, and then a sports columnist for The Times. On seeing him, Lampard stops. ?You,? he says, sounding not unlike a young Michael Caine, ?called me a fat, Cockney twat.? All attempts to explain the nature of comedy prove useless. A small, one-sided argument ensues, the element of surprise being all in these cases. Even on his night of triumph, Lampard would not let it lie. You?ve got to like a guy who cares that much.

?I remember it,? he says. ?If someone writes I played crap, I?m not going to go looking for them, but what he said was different. I remember reading it and thinking: ?F***ing Jonathan Creek, who does he f***ing think he is?? That?s how I am, and maybe it is a fault because I?d be better off keeping my nut down and keeping out of it. But I?ll say that to Alan Davies and then we?ll either get on or we won?t. A guy wrote that I spent more time shopping than training. I?ll react to that because I take pride in my training. I used to get very bitter about the treatment I received at West Ham, but I?m over that now. My first question after Chelsea games was: ?How did West Ham get on?? and not for the right reasons. It was a poxy feeling to have. It doesn?t help anyone. I love playing at West Ham now. I love the challenge. I?ve gone away, kicked on massively and now I can go back, hold my head up high and say: ?Bollocks.? ? Injuries and absenteeism in England?s midfield have postponed the decision, but when everybody is fit, Steve McClaren, the England head coach, has a tough call to make if he sees Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Owen Hargreaves competing for two places.

Against Andorra, when Lampard was left out because of injury according to McClaren, the grapevine buzzed with talk that he had been dropped and had reacted badly, demanding to leave the camp. He denies this, saying that Chelsea wanted him home for treatment, McClaren wished him to stay and the matter was resolved, manager to manager, by text. Even so, the suspicion remains that Gerrard?s international star is on the ascendant and McClaren may prefer Hargreaves as the workhorse; were that the case, what would Lampard do?

?I want to play and I believe I should play,? he says. ?But if I don?t get picked, I?m not going to act the superstar. I?ve heard all the crap about wanting to get a private plane home before Andorra, but it was Chelsea that wanted me back. I respect the manager has to make the decision and if it gets to the stage where I?m not playing, I might ask about it, but I won?t cause a problem.

?People say England players don?t care ? believe me, we care. We hate the fact that we look around the dressing-room and see all these great players ? Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Wayne Rooney and we?re not winning or playing as fluently as we? should. But with England there is always light at the end of the tunnel because if you win something, that is you for life ? part of history. That is what drives you on.?

It may never happen. But if it does, if this maligned England team does kick on massively, to coin a phrase, its most maligned player will have every right to go back to Wembley, take his seat in the Royal Box, hold his head up high and say . . .

Bollocks.

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'He too has a broken toe' - lest Stevie G lovers forget, both he and Frank have an injury that need not stop them playing for their country, if they don't want it to and to my knowledge this is the only time the point has been made by any journalist. Can't see them mentioning it on SSN either, but, naturally we'd never hear the last of it if Frank opted not to play - 'Lampard cries off while brave, patriotic, vice captain plays through pain barrier' etc, etc. icon_rolleyes.gif

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