Back in the game

Frank Lampard SrFrank Lampard Sr

Soccer legend Frank Lampard Sr is the new landlord of a much-loved Wanstead pub, which many residents were beginning to fear had closed for good. Millicent Brown speaks to the former West Ham star.

The Nightingale pub – which has been a landmark of the Wanstead community for hundreds of years – served its last drinks under the previous landlord back in September 2017, when he announced he was shutting it down, citing ill health.

However, former West Ham and England football star Frank Lampard Sr, whose football career spanned more than 20 years, suddenly stepped in to buy and fully renovate the venue, renaming the pub Nightingale on the Green. And in doing so, he has managed to keep its old traditional pub character, which was always so popular.

Nightingale on the Green enjoyed a spectacular opening night on 17 July, when regulars returned in their masses to enjoy its updated décor, indulge in the new meals and meet up with their friends once again.

Household name Frank – who was born in nearby East Ham and is the father of football's Frank Lampard Jr, who has just taken over managing Derby County – was signed on as a West Ham youth player in 1964 before joining their adult team three years later. He then remained with West Ham until 1985 before a short spell at Southend, and played for England from 1971 to 1980. He wore the number 3 on his shirt. After finishing playing, he assisted his brother-in-law Harry Redknapp in management at West Ham.

But luckily for the many Wanstead residents who had feared The Nightingale's closure last September would be the last time it would ever open its doors, he has now stepped into the pub game.

Tucked away in the backstreets of Wanstead, the iconic venue on Nightingale Lane had always been a popular local fixture, well known for its cosy and friendly atmosphere, where people could while away hours with their friends whatever the weather. And the fact that it boasts tables and benches overlooking Nightingale Green has been a great advantage during this summer's amazing heatwave.

Frank told me: "I am simply thrilled to have the chance to open Nightingale on the Green, which is enabling me to become such an integral part of the local community. This really is like coming home for me. I have spent most of my life in east London and have always loved coming to Wanstead whenever I had the opportunity. When I heard the old Nightingale was up for grabs, I knew it was an opportunity I simply could not miss. I am currently loving being here, getting to know all my regulars and my staff and we will do all we can to make Nightingale on the Green a place where people can really enjoy their time out."

Nightingale on the Green is located at 51 Nightingale Lane, Wanstead. For more information, call 020 8530 4683 or visit nightingaleonthegreen.co.uk


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