'Like the Wild West' - everything Frank Lampard said on Everton FFP, Moshiri, Kenwright and Barrett-Baxendale

Everton manager Frank Lampard. Picture:  LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty ImagesEverton manager Frank Lampard. Picture:  LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images
Everton manager Frank Lampard. Picture: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images
Frank Lampard was sacked as Everton manager a year ago, having previously guided the club to Premier League survival.

Frank Lampard has given an in-depth verdict on his time as Everton manager.

The former Chelsea midfielder spent one year in the Goodison Park hot seat. Succeeding Rafa Benitez in January 2022, Lampard successfully guided the Toffees to Premier League survival that season. But he was axed the following January as Everton languished in 19th place and two points adrift of safety.

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During his time as boss, Lampard had to deal with a fracture between the fans and the club's owner Farhad Moshiri, late chairman Bill Kenwright and former CEO Denise Barrett Baxendale. Everton have since been hit by a 10-point deduction for being guilty of breaching Premier League profit and sustainability rules in 2021-22, while they have been charged for an alleged breach in 2022-23.

Speaking to The Overlap Stick to Football podcast, here's every word Lampard said.

You've had difficult challenges at Chelsea and Everton. Have you had those moments where you've looked at the mirror and thought it's getting on top a little bit?

At Everton, it felt like that a bit at the end. It was searching for results, that's always your job coaching, trying to pick the right team, keeping the squad happy. But Everton at the end, there were a lot of issues in and around it. You try not to get too waylaid by them because you can't affect them too much but we all know there was an issue with the fans and board. I was on the phone a lot in the evening trying to connect with the owner, chairman, CEO then try to go in and do the day job. I definitely found it intense at the end period.

Those phone calls, were they with the ownership and the problems they've had related to what's happening now or to the fact he couldn't go to games and the disagreement with the fans. With the FFP thing going on, that was all happening when you were there so what were those phone calls about?

I think a bit of everything. Some was definitely about the fans and the board and I felt for the board. It's not easy to say that when you're there, you have to put on a media face as a coach. You don't want to go against your fans, you don't want you go against your board - you go against your board and that can be fatal for your job.

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At the same time, I had a lot of feelings for the chairman, who has obviously passed away, Bill Kenwright. He was a great support to me, really opinionated, loves the club, Mr Everton. You end up very sensitive that this man can't come to games. You can have an opinion but this man has given his life to the club.

Denise my CEO was incredible trying to really put in a football plan. But at the same time, come January we're struggling for results after the World Cup and one of the problems I found at Everton was we were trying to work a football plan. Kevin Thelwell came in as director of football, Denise was like football plan [and] recruitment], what are we working towards? We're working towards it, the minute January comes and it's like the Wild West.

Agents and everyone, what's it going to be, who can we bring in. We were struggling to spend money anyway because of the FFP situation. I desperately wanted to bring in players and even after I left, it was another week, Sean came in and couldn't make any moves anyway.

There was a lot of tension at the club and there was a build-up through that. It would have been a build-up from a few years. I felt from the minute I came in until I left, it was almost like we're in a bit of a crisis but there's going to be another crisis. We managed it when we stayed up that year and built confidence and feeling but the second season was challenging.

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Where was Moshiri in all of this?

More remote in terms of not being present, which is fine, I worked with [Roman] Abramovich for years in the Premier League (at Chelse) and you don't have to be present, we won a lot of things. More on the phone conversations.

The joined-up nature of the club, which should have been a reason for... it wasn't (joined up) and you could then see why it in five years, they'd spent a lot of money, recruitment hadn't been joined up. That came to roost a bit now and we're seeing the aftermath.

People were asking Bill Kenwright and Denise when they couldn't go to the game why they hadn't resigned. Was the feeling that they needed to be there to almost keep Moshiri in check and if he was left to his own devices, things could get worse?

I think there would have been a bit of that. There was definitely a different strategy to the owner to the chairman's ideas, to what Denise's was. I think some of it would have been their own determination to see it through. The chairman was a strong man, a tough man. He was very caring with me, I went to his memorial recently and the amount of people who spoke, I liked it how they were speaking because I sensed it and it can challenge you a lot.

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Denise was working everything to get the stadium over the line, which is going to change the club hopefully and working with us. They were working their own way in a direction on the ground, Denise particularly for me at the training ground always trying to work forward and solve problems. We got a few players over the line in the previous window which Denise was trying to do everything and communicating with the Premier League because we were on a tight line.

I think they were just doing their job and understand why it would have hurt them deep down being Evertonians not being able to go to games. Had mistakes been made by different people? Of course they had but there was a genuine good nature to them to try to keep the club in the league and the club moving forward.

How was it for you then? The FFP thing has just dropped, Everton have been docked 10 points and charged again. What was it like for you in terms of you're looking for players - did at any stage the Premier League say you can't buy this player, you've only got so much to spend?

There were a lot of details. When Richarlison left, we all knew it was happening because it had to happen. There was a bit of wiggle room to bring in some players. My view at the back end of the season was that we'd stayed up, thw squad needed a lot of work and it wasn't just the idea of bringing players in but getting players to move on.

Some of them were at an age of their career where they'd signed long contracts and were not going to go anywhere. The practical nature of football is sometimes you were then a bit hamstrung. Intentions were great but the reality is we were never going to do it.

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The Everton supporters are fighting for the club in terms of the points deductions and fighting the Premier League. Were the discussions with the Premier League amicable, you were working together or they were stopping you?

I was never really privy to them. I would only get feedback. I think they were amicable to a point but there were clear lines of what we could do at that stage

Is it frustrating as a manager that's you've got all this stuff going on but really you just want to coach your team?

You've got to be wary of that because there's not much you can do. In terms of recruitment, the modern manager is not the old-school managing going up and down the country looking at players to bring in. You have to leave that to recruitment and the idea of the club.

I don't want to sound like I'm making a big smokescreen of what that back-end period was like. My main job was to coach the team. I'm a coach and when I work, I want to be setting up game-plans on who we've got next week, how's that going to work. It was a tough time and sometimes you go: 'Next week it's Brighton, then it's Man City, how are we going to work around that?

The big part of my priority at that point was coaching the team, it always is, but then dealing with those other bits is something you've got to handle. I don't want to sound like a baby or make excuses because the real reason you lose the job is you don't get results in that period. Regardless of the 2-3 hours you have on the phone, you've got to find a way of prioritising coaching.

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What is the strategy of Moshiri at the club?

I'm not exactly sure about that and I'm not saying that loosely. I came into it about 4-5 years before I got in; there had been high-level managers who had been there before I came in. You could see with the squad, there wasn't a strategy and that happens at football clubs.

We were having conversations about how to coach the club and I had ideas but we were going to have to recruit a bit for that because I can't make this team what I want now. That's probably why at the end of my time, we stayed up we went to a back five, we very compact, engaged the fans, got up the pitch, Anthony Gordon was flying, got some pace in the team and we stayed up. It was great for me, the idea of having experience in a tough moment but in terms of a club idea, no.

Again, I don't to sound like this is a negative on Moshiri or the big decision-makers over the years because I'm sure they did it to make Everton a fantastic club. I worked into Man City at the back end of my career and you could see this place was going to go places because there's a vision. Obviously, at Everton, it hadn't had that.

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