2015 isn't shaping up to be strange-- it already is.
First came Lampard's loan extension that turned out to be a contract extension.
Next, he struck another winner for the club that's owned him all along.
Just hours later, his former Chelsea conceded five goals to Tottenham Hotspur, tumbling into a first-place tie with Manchester's sky blues in the Barclays Premier League. (Chelsea had outscored Tottenham a combined 7-0 over their last two league meetings.)
All this New Year's Day mania came less than twenty-four hours after the Third Rail Supporters' Club's blunt condemnation of the Etihad Empire's decision to extend Frank Lampard in Manchester went global. One of the Third Rail's contentions is that a precedent of swiping players from New York for Manchester's benefit is damaging to NYCFC, its fans, and MLS, and belies the bulk of the new team's promotions and marketing.
NYCFC fans, however, aren't the only ones lamenting Lampard's extended stay in the Premier League. We learned on Thursday that they have an odd ally in their anxious opposition to City Football Group's actions: Lampard's old manager at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho.
As the Special One told BT Sport after Chelsea's Thursday flameout at White Hart Lane:
They can bring any player from New York FC [sic]. They can bring anyone and no one's going to stop them. So if they find other good players in the New York team, they can bring [them] to Man City.
Mourinho has effectively summarized a cardinal fear held by countless soccer fans in New York, which we highlighted two weeks ago. Additionally, he suggests an even more uncomfortable question: is there even such a thing as an "authentic" New York City player? MLS's contract rules, in which the players are signed to the league itself as opposed to their individual clubs, suggest that there must be. But Frank Lampard, New York City fans realized, was never a New York City player after all.
Mourinho came to that same realization with similar dismay, and essentially advocated for NYCFC's fans in doing so.
Strangest year ever.