Thugs spoil Frank Lampard's 200 Chelsea goal landmark by throwing coins
Frank Lampard's landmark 200th goal for Chelsea was marred by controversy after West Ham United fans showered him with coins during the celebration. Lampard scored in the 19th minute to set Chelsea on their way to a 2-0 victory over his former club and it provoked a furious response from the West Ham fans behind the goal.
The Hammers supporters had already targeted the Chelsea substitute John Terry, who was warming up provocatively towards the old Shed End and had passed on a number of coins to stewards. When Lampard opened the scoring with a header he immediately sought out his team-mate on the touchline. The resulting tumult enraged the away fans, who let go a hail of minted missiles.
Neither Lampard nor the team managers made much of the incident, preferring to focus on the achievement, which leaves him only two behind Chelsea's record scorer Bobby Tambling. Of his day, Lampard said: "It is one of my best. Obviously, winning the Champions League and championships are the best, but personally getting 200 goals for the club, I never thought I would touch that so I am pleased to get it.
"Everyone keeps talking about the goalscoring record, I would rather people kept quiet. The important thing is trying to score goals to win games. We are in good form and everyone is at it. There is a good feeling around the place and we need to carry it on until the end of the season."
Ironically, the incident could result in a fine for Chelsea, should the FA chose to act on the referee's report. There were no evictions or arrests made but the police are investigating the incident and West Ham said that any fans identified faced a ban from Upton Park. The fourth official, Howard Webb, instructed the Chelsea players to warm-up at the other end to avoid a repeat.
Chelsea's interim coach, Rafael Benitez, said: "When you score 200 goals, you don't think about where you go. You celebrate. Afterwards, he realised it would be better to be in another part (of the ground). I don't think he was hit (by a missile). Howard Webb said it would be better if the players warmed up the other way. It was his decision."
Benitez hailed Lampard as a fantastic player: "This is a great achievement. You can see him working hard in training all the time. We have a lot of games to play, so hopefully he will score more. I will give credit to the rest of the team, too. When you play others like Rami, they allow him to get forward."
Eden Hazard, who gave arguably his finest display in a Chelsea shirt, added a second five minutes after the break. Chelsea might have hit a dozen and not been flattered, a fact which was acknowledged by the West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce. "Frank Lampard is the ghost in the box that nobody seems to see. Massive credit to him for 200 goals in his career. A quality ball and a quality finish. Sometimes you can't defend the quality they've got."
Belfast Telegraph Digital