My best teacher - Mr Bouckley by Frank Lampard

24th April 2015 at 01:00
A PE teacher helped a young footballer to take his first steps towards becoming one of England's greatest ever players

My very best teacher was Chris Bouckley, at Brentwood School in Essex. Funnily enough, he was my PE teacher. We had a special relationship because I was a sport-loving kid, but also because he helped me through a difficult time, when I was deciding whether or not to leave school after my GCSEs and take up a football career. He helped me through a lot of my school life.

Mr Bouckley is the only teacher I have kept in touch with. He has moved back to Oldham, where he was originally from, but he has written letters occasionally and followed my career. He's come to a couple of games over the years.

I was at Brentwood School from 11 through to 16. For a lot of that time I was playing football above my age group - at one stage I was a third year playing with sixth-formers - and Mr Bouckley was the one who picked me.

It wasn't like he was always Mr Nice Guy though: I remember being told off a few times if I was a bit naughty. One of those times was really my dad's fault [former West Ham player Frank Lampard senior]. Dad took me out of school to play a game for the West Ham youth team, because he thought that was more important. I was found out when my picture was in the local paper; Mr Bouckley told me off and he was quite right. The problem wasn't so much playing the game, it was the fact that I wasn't honest and sneaked off. Although Mr Bouckley should have told my dad off really, because I was following his orders.

But largely I was a very attentive pupil. Of course, I wasn't a goody two-shoes all the time, and Mr Bouckley would get me back in line if I was misbehaving.

What made him the best teacher was the personal touch, the encouragement along the way. I don't know if he did it particularly with me or generally with everyone. When I talk about my teachers I struggle to remember too many names, but because of Mr Bouckley's personal involvement over a period of time, he sticks with me.

Now I try to help with the young people training at Manchester City. I don't think the best way is to take a very hard line with children. You have to be disciplined at times, but you have to know the child you're working with. I think I always reacted well to a softer touch, especially when Mr Bouckley was quite personable with me. That is certainly something I've taken from him.

He showed confidence in me, putting me in the school football team, and he had to defend me a bit because sixth-form boys can be quite down on a third year. He protected me in that environment. When you're at school you look up to teachers - they're the font of all knowledge. But as I've grown older, I've realised that Mr Bouckley is also a very nice bloke: he's followed my career, and when I lost my mother he wrote a very compassionate letter. I never forget things like that.

Frank Lampard was talking to Helen Ward

Frank assessment

Frank Lampard

Born 20 June 1978, Romford, Essex

Education Brentwood School, Essex

Career One of England's most decorated football players, Lampard has 106 England caps and 29 goals. He is Chelsea's all-time top scorer with 211 goals. He has also written children's books

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