I was told I had to do a speech, to say a few thank yous and was lying
in bed a couple of nights ago till about 2.30 in the morning thinking
what I was going to say. I had it all planned out perfectly, fell
asleep - and then was woken up at 4am when my cars were being driven
off in the driveway! This award is massive, an achievement I hold very
highly. I watched JT [John Terry] pick up the PFA Award earlier this
year and was genuinely delighted for him.
This award is voted for by journalists, who can be your biggest critic
and get on your nerves sometimes, but they all know football and I am
very respectful of their thoughts, and very proud they have decided to
give me this award this year.
I look around the room and see so many players [pictures of previous
winners] on the wall. I notice there are not so many English players
in recent years. With John winning the PFA Award, and me this one,
with Jamie Carragher third in this award, as an Englishman it makes me
very proud that I have performed well enough to be voted for. It is a
great advert for English football.
We are really going to try our utmost to bring the World Cup home next
year. We promise that. I WILL GO back to my West Ham days, and I owe a
massive thank you to Harry Redknapp.
There were some difficult times for me as a player at West Ham. I
remember running on the touchline, and being told: 'Go and sit down
with your uncle and your dad [Redknapp and coach Frank Lampard
senior], because you're not good enough to get on the pitch.' I would
love all those people to be in this room tonight so I could answer
I'm sure Harry had people saying the same thing to him about me and I
really respect the fact that he stuck with me and that he played me
week in, week out. So I would like to say a massive thank you to him
and his wife Sandra, who is my aunt - I love her to bits.
Moving on to my Chelsea days, I'd like to say a big thank you to Ken
Bates and Suzannah [his wife]. I am very privileged that they have
decided to fly over specially for tonight [from Monte Carlo]. I know
Ken has the money, but he still had to make the effort!
Ken took a chance on me and paid what people thought was a lot of
money at the time [11m]. He had belief in me, as did Claudio Ranieri
and without that move, without him putting his money on the table and
doing that... I had another offer, to go to Leeds and no disrespect to
Leeds, but things might have gone slightly differently.
Claudio was the man, the manager, who made the decision. I met him
when I first went to Chelsea and he showed great belief in me, he
improved my game no end in the three years I played under him.
For this year I have to thank Roman Abramovich. I know what you're
thinking: thanks very much for that five-year deal I signed last year
and I'll be back knocking on the door in a couple of years.
You have to understand this man and it's not easy when you see it from
the outside. What the man does is he comes in the changing room, win
or lose, and shows the emotion that every fan shows and he really
means it - and to the players that means so much. We respond to that.
I would like to thank him for moving Chelsea on from the fantastic
club it was to a club that really is one of the best in Europe and is
hopefully going to be a force for future years.
Jos Mourinho? I cannot say enough about the man as a manager. He has
ultimate confidence in himself and the amazing thing is that he
manages to transmit that confidence to the players around him. He has
given me real belief. I hope to work for him for many years and to be
I would like to say a big thank you to the England manager. It is a
bit embarrassing when he [Sven-G?ran Eriksson] is sitting two seats
away from you to give him big praise. But my England career has taken
massive strides since he has been manager. You do need a manager to
show belief in you and he has done that for me.
A quick thank you to Steve Kuttner, my agent - and also a fantastic
mate. Not many people can say that about their agent. And to three of
my best mates here tonight, mates I have had since I was very young.
It is not easy to take three West Ham boys and turn them into Chelsea
boys - but I managed it. I think it has something to do with this: two
minutes after the game they're in the King's Road having a pint.
The main thank yous are to my family, who have lived everything with
me. First to my granddad, Poppa Bill as we used to call him. He died
earlier this year. He was a fantastic man and someone I looked up to.
I really would have liked him to have seen me here tonight. He would
have been really proud.
Also my Nanny Hilda, my dad's mum. She used to be at West Ham giving
out wine gums to everyone who sat around her - now she does it at
Chelsea. Unfortunately she still keeps calling the manager Joseph
Mourinho. She will never learn.
Then the most important people, starting with my dad. I'm sure I
wouldn't be here without him [cracks up amid laughter from audience].
I was going really well till then...
I would not be the player I am today without him, I would not have
improved without my dad. In the early years, he would have me over the
park training when everyone else was at home or playing with their
mates, I was jumping on the floor, getting up and running again,
sprinting - I will never forget that. I thank him for everything he
has done in my football life and for being a dad.
I would also like to thank my mother. The main thing about this award
is it's not just about being a player, but being honoured as a person.
She is a hundred per cent the reason why I am how I am and she is one
of the best, most fantastic ladies in the world.
My girlfriend Elen is here tonight, and we're expecting our first
baby, a little girl, in August. I'm chuffed to bits and cannot wait.
Elen is a big fan of Barcelona and that causes a problem when we watch
Spanish football on TV. She sees Ronaldinho take on five players, beat
the lot of them and score a great goal, and asks why I don't do that.
I tell her, 'We're different types of player.'
This is a personal award, but the main one I won this season was the
Premiership - and I could not have done that without the players
around me. Everyone has seen how strong we are this year and I would
like to say thanks to all of them - and also a massive thank you to
all the Chelsea fans. They took me to their hearts very, very quickly
and I have nothing but appreciation for them. They give me the
confidence to be the player I am today. They are a piece of my heart
now and I really mean that.
A lot of the reason I am here is because of my strength, my
determination and character. I would just like to talk about a girl
I went to her funeral today, she was 10 years old. She came to the
game against Charlton where we lifted the Premiership trophy. She had
a tumour on the brain - really she should have died the week before
that game. But she was so desperate to come and see that game, to
watch us play. The character and strength she showed made me put
everything in perspective.
I would like to dedicate this whole award to her, her family,
especially her mother, and I would like to say thanks to everyone
tonight. Thank you.