Frank Lampard, One-on-One: "When an overweight woman in the chicken run shouted 'Fat Frank', that was when I realised it was getting ridiculous"

Frank Lampard

Sam Pilger sat down for a career reflective with the former West Ham, Chelsea and England midfield general in December 2013

What’s your favourite childhood memory of watching your dad Frank Snr play? Did you ever go and watch Uncle ‘Arry play much?
Gino S, via Facebook
It was watching one of his last ever games at Upton Park in 1985 when I was six, my Nan used to take me to the games. It was against the great Liverpool side of the time and I can remember watching Kenny Dalglish. But I never saw Harry play, he had left West Ham by then. He didn’t play as long as Dad, and he moved around a lot too.

When you get together as a family with your Dad, Harry and Jamie, is it all football talk? And what were kickabouts with that lot like as a kid?
Rob Pegley, Sydney, Australia
The four of us love talking about the game – the women of the family try to change the topic but it doesn’t work. When I was a kid the kickabouts in the back garden were amazing: there was my Dad and Harry, who had been pros and were managers, and then there was Jamie, who is older than me and was an established player at Liverpool. I used to idolise Jamie, and I knew how lucky I was to kick a ball with him. I used to see him as the pin-up boy of English football, he had made it, and I thought 'that's what I want too'.

Frank Lampard, Jamie Redknapp

Family matter: Lampard grew up playing against his cousin, Jamie Redknapp

You were seemingly very good at school, and I see you got an A* in Latin? Can you remember any of it?
Jamie Hart, London
I was pretty studious at school. I wasn’t the most naturally intelligent kid in the class, but I was fortunate to go to a very good school where they pushed you hard, and like most things I didn’t want to let anyone down, so I revised hard for my exams. I got that A* in Latin, but I can’t remember much of it now, just the common verbs. If I see a football club motto in Latin I can work it out, though.

You, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand… what was it about that West Ham academy that produced so many fantastic players?
Jake Daw, via Twitter
It is quite simple really: just hard work from the manager and the Academy. The way to bring through young homegrown English players is to give a lot of love and attention, if that doesn’t sound too soppy. But Harry [Redknapp] and my Dad put a lot of time in to it, as did the youth manager Tony Carr. Young players at 13 or 14 would be invited to train with the first team, they would go on the team coach to first-team games to mix with the senior players. Joe Cole had the chance to go to Manchester United, but chose West Ham because they had shown him that care and attention, and that was a selling point to other promising players.

I sat there really embarrassed that this fella was having a pop at me. Harry was a complete star, you should watch it on YouTube, he really puts the fella in his place!

I’ve seen that fantastic clip of your then-boss Harry Redknapp defending your inclusion in the West Ham team to an angry chap in a fans’ forum. What was going through your mind?
Bruce Rue, France
I was there, it all happened right in front of me. It’s now popped up again on YouTube (below). I was there as one of four players along with the manager and a big group of fans. [The fan] was a father of one of the boys who was a couple of years older than me, and his son wasn’t getting in the team, whereas I had just got in the team, so he had an axe to grind.

This particular bloke was saying I was in the team because of family reasons. I was a shy kid, and it was absolutely horrible. I was very nervous, and I sat there really embarrassed that this fella was having a pop at me. Harry was a complete star, you should watch it on YouTube, he really puts the fella in his place. It is great viewing now, but at the time it was horrible.

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