Frank Lampard has recalled being given the finger by a young West Ham fan while sat on the bench at Upton Park – before meeting him in a bank a week later.
Lampard, 42, started his professional career with the Hammers, scoring 39 goals in 187 games for the club after emerging from their youth setup in 1995.
The eventual Chelsea legend was regularly subjected to criticism by West Ham fans, nonetheless, who argued he was only earning a place in their side because dad Frank Sr was assistant manager.
And while speaking on The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes, Lampard recalled a hilarious story about stumbling across one of his biggest tormentors.
Hughes first told the former Hammers star: “I love the story that you tell about that period [at West Ham]. You described a young 14 year old lad that used to abuse you on the bench, and then you went into a bank and his mum told you she was a big West Ham fan. And then you met her outside the ground and it was the 14 year old lad that had abused you regularly.”
Lampard then explained: “That was classic of that period because I remember going in the bank all the time and the woman didn’t really divulge much to me.
“And then this one time she did and she said, ‘I’m going to bring my boy, he’s mad on West Ham’ – and I expected this young sort of really nice kid coming in with a West Ham shirt on and I’d sign his top or something.
“It turned out to be this kid that sat just behind the dugout and absolutely ruined me.
“It had literally been the week before, he ruined me, swore at me, finger went up, everything. And so it was like — I suppose like the more you experience that thing — a lot of that stuff I think can feel worse when you hear it from a distance.
“I remember my sisters used to come to games and say things to me that they’d heard and that really hurt me.
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“And then maybe when you actually see it face up, and then you realise the fact that this is just a 14 year old kid, and it’s just a mum who works in a bank who’d been really nice all the time, and this is the pantomime that is football, you kind of actually manage to distinguish what’s important and what’s not.
“And I suppose those little experiences — and it’s not just me, I don’t want to sound like I’m sort of crying here too much about it – because I think as I’ve said, not just football but in life, everyone has these little knocks that you must get over.”
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