Unpopular former West Ham star Frank Lampard backs Olympic Stadium move but has a word of warning

Lampard

He may be unpopular among Hammers fans, but ex-West Ham midfielder and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard is backing his first club's move to the Olympic Stadium.

The Hammers are leaving their famous Boleyn Ground home of 112 years at the end of the season and will take up residence in the 54,000 seater Olympic Stadium down the road in Stratford.

Lampard was a massive West Ham fan as a kid, watching his dad, Frank Senior, carve out legend status at the club.

He went on to become a player at his boyhood club but has endured a fractious relationship since leaving in 2001, often criticising West Ham's fans and being abused from the terraces in equal measure.

'It suits West Ham'

But he had some kinder words for his old club when appearing as a guest on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, giving his backing to the Olympic Stadium move - which ironically threatens to help West Ham close the gap on the likes of Chelsea.

"I think it's a good thing," Lampard told Sky Sports' MNF.

"I think the stadium was sitting there, what are you going to do with it?

"For West Ham it's local in the area to them, it's a very West Ham fanbase area."

Word of warning

The New York City midfielder did have a word of caution for the club, though, saying they could lose the famous Upton Park atmosphere.

"It just remains to be seen whether it suits them as a team and as a club," he added.

"Moving to a new stadium sounds great, we all know the atmosphere at Upton Park, at times, will help the team massively with how close quarters it is.

"Whether they lose a bit of something there and suffer with that I don't know, that remains to be seen.

"But for me something had to be done with the stadium and it suits West Ham there."

An olive branch?

The Lampard-West Ham story could have been so different.

The Romford-born former England midfield star graduated from the self-styled Academy of Football under his legendary dad and uncle Harry Redknapp, who were the management team at the time.

Lampard scored 24 goals in 148 games for the Hammers and cemented his place as a key player.

But the relationship between Lampard and the Upton Park faithful turned sour when he was sold to London rivals Chelsea and claimed he was not liked by supporters.

Lampard went on to criticise the club and its fans on numerous occasions and received abuse from the terraces whenever the two clubs met.

The fact he would invariably kiss the Chelsea badge to antagonise them further when he inevitably scored against his old side did not help matters.

But could this be an olive branch from a more mature Lampard, who may well be eyeing a career in the media when his playing days come to an end?

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