Lampard hails 'special club' Everton after Toffees sacking
Frank Lampard has thanked Everton fans and hailed a "special club with a huge heart" after his sacking earlier this week.
Lampard was dismissed on Monday following a 2-0 defeat at West Ham, which left Everton in 19th place and level on points with Southampton below them.
Chelsea's record goalscorer Lampard joined Everton in January of last year, replacing Rafael Benitez – an unpopular and divisive figure with the Toffees' fanbase.
Lampard formed a connection with Everton's fanbase but could not avoid a relegation scrap. However, a run of three wins from Everton's final six games of the season ensured their survival, with a 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park guaranteeing their long run in the top tier continued.
The sale of talisman Richarlison in June, and the continued injury issues of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, hindered Everton this season. They have won just three times in the league, and Lampard paid the price, becoming the sixth manager to be dismissed by Farhad Moshiri since he invested in the club in 2016.
On Thursday, Lampard posted a goodbye message on his official Instagram account, with the statement also shared by the League Managers Association (LMA).
"Coming into Everton last year I knew we were in a tough moment and I will always be proud of the incredible work and support from everyone involved to keep the team in the Premier League last season," Lampard wrote.
"Thanks to everybody that played their part as the whole club came together. I will never forget the incredible night against Palace that we shared.
"I want to thank all Evertonians for the welcome that you gave to myself, my staff, and my family. It truly is a special club with a huge heart, and an incredible history.
"I'm disappointed that we couldn't achieve more together and wish all the players and everyone at Everton FC the very best for the future."
Lampard, who spent just under a year in charge, won only nine of his 38 Premier League matches, meaning his win percentage (23.7) is better than only that of Mike Walker (19.4) when it comes to Everton managers to have overseen at least 10 games in the competition. He won a further three cup matches.
It has been a whirlwind week at Everton. Following Lampard's dismissal, they had expected to announce the signing of Arnaut Danjuma on loan from Villarreal.
Yet Danjuma failed to complete the formalities of the transfer and instead joined Tottenham.
Owner Moshiri has denied reports that the club is up for sale, though acknowledged he is looking for investment. MSP Sports Capital, an investment firm with stakes in several European teams as well as Formula One's McLaren Racing, are reportedly interested.
Meanwhile, Everton's search for Lampard's replacement is gathering pace. Former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa flew into London on Thursday for talks with the club's hierarchy and is said to be Moshiri's first choice.
Ex-Burnley boss Sean Dyche is reportedly a reserve candidate, while Ralph Hasenhuttl, West Brom's Carlos Corberan and Davide Ancelotti, assistant to his father Carlo at Real Madrid, have also been linked.
Stats Perform understands that academy graduate Anthony Gordon has not attended training this week, with Newcastle United reportedly hoping to sign the winger.