Pat and Frank Lampard
Pat Lampard, 56, wife of footballing legend Frank Snr, and mother of Chelsea footballer Frank Jnr, talks exclusively about her hopes for her son. And no, she doesn’t understand the offside rule!
“For Frank Jnr, the be-all and end-all has always been football and to see him achieve his dream after years of hard work makes me so proud. It’s like when any family business is handed down, be it cars, a shop or football. With his dad playing for West Ham and England and then young Frank learning the trade, well, if I’m proud, you can imagine how his father feels about it.
Amazingly, as soon as he started crawling at six months, he began pushing a football around the lounge with his legs! At four, he joined Heath Park boys team near our Essex home and every Saturday his sisters Natalie, now 35, and Claire, now 31, and I would watch him while their dad played for West Ham. In those days, footballers’ wives didn’t go to matches and girls didn’t play football, it just wasn’t the done thing. But before their dad went off I’d say, ‘Come on, kids, all at the window. Let’s wave Dad off.’ It was our ritual for bringing luck.
Young Frank practised hard and talent scouts soon spotted him and invited him to train at top clubs, including Arsenal. But he chose West Ham and, at 11, he joined its youth academy, training after school. Even then he had a sensible head on him. His plan B was to become a lawyer. Frank loved school and took some GCSEs a year early.
The pride I feel as Frank’s mum that means more to me than any of the football success. Pride that he’s a decent human being. Often people come up to me at games and say, ‘We love Frank, he’s so normal, so down to earth,’ or ‘He’s so polite, he always gives people time and signs autographs.’
I’m also very proud that he has become an ambassador for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which offers support, advice and services for teenage cancer patients and their families.
I worry that I sound like a bragging mum sometimes, but when you hear someone else praising your children, that’s the ultimate compliment. As a mum, what more can you want?”
Frank Jnr, 27, says:
“My dad shaped the footballing side of me and Mum shaped me as a person. I’ve always been very close to her – we’ve only ever had one argument and that was over something stupid when I was 13.
We’re very similar in character and often know what the other is thinking or about to say. Scoring goals is the best feeling you can have. I always look up at the stand for my family straight afterwards, it means everything to me that they travel to every game.
Even before Luna was born I wanted to be able to take my baby on the pitch. Last year, when we won the league and all the players took their children on the pitch, Elen was pregnant. So winning the league again this year and being able to take Luna on felt amazing.”
Visit the teenagecancertrust.org for more details.
Totally Frank: The Autobiography of Frank Lampard (HarperCollins Sport) is out now.