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Todd Boehly may miss Chelsea’s ‘walk of shame’ this Sunday

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly – Todd Boehly may miss Chelsea’s ‘walk of shame’ this Sunday – PA/Bradley Collyer

Todd Boehly could miss Chelsea’s ‘walk of shame’ at the end of the club’s worst-ever Premier League season on Sunday.

Chelsea host Newcastle United in their final game already guaranteed to finish with their lowest Premier League points total and Boehly, who is the club’s chairman and co-controlling owner, may not be at Stamford Bridge to personally witness any ‘lap of appreciation’.

Bohely’s co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali is scheduled to be in attendance, despite missing Wednesday’s defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford through illness, for what could be an uncomfortable moment at the end of what has been a chaotic first season in charge.

As is the tradition at all Premier League clubs, Chelsea players normally re-enter the pitch after the final whistle of their last home game of the season to thank fans for their support and embark on a lap of appreciation, which will be more akin to a walk of shame this year.

Tottenham players were last week booed on their own walk of shame after losing at home to Brentford in front of chairman Daniel Levy and fed-up Chelsea supporters could give their players a similar reception.

It remains to be seen whether any frustration is aimed at the owners, but Boehly, who has been a regular attendee at Stamford Bridge this season, was confronted by fans above his box during the home defeat by Brighton.

Todd Boehly, chairman of Chelsea, speaks to fans during the Premier League match with Brighton - Todd Boehly may miss Chelsea’s ‘walk of shame’  this Sunday - Getty Images/Alex Davidson

Todd Boehly, chairman of Chelsea, speaks to fans during the Premier League match with Brighton – Todd Boehly may miss Chelsea’s ‘walk of shame’ this Sunday – Getty Images/Alex Davidson

It was after the Brighton game that Boehly entered the home dressing-room and labeled Chelsea’s season as “embarrassing” while addressing startled players.

Should Boehly stick to his original plans and miss Sunday’s game, then it is not believed to be related to the potential for any fan backlash over his and Clearlake Capital’s first season of ownership.

There would also be no correlation between Boehly’s absence and a report this week claiming he has scaled back his involvement in Chelsea. The plan, since the appointment of sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, and with Chris Jurasek coming in as chief executive, has always been for Boehly and Eghbali to gradually hand over more responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Blues.

It is understood that Boehly has been in the United States on other business this week, although the billionaire is able to change his plans and get on a plane at late notice should he wish to, which leaves open the possibility of him making a late dash to the Newcastle game.

The walk of shame could act as a farewell for Mason Mount, whose Chelsea future is in increasing doubt amid interest from Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Lampard: This is not goodbye

Sunday also acts as Frank Lampard’s final game in caretaker charge of Chelsea and the club’s former midfielder is among the very few who can be confident of receiving a warm reception from supporters who stay behind.

Despite the fact that he will hand over responsibility to incoming permanent head coach Mauricio Pochettino, Lampard has insisted that Chelsea’s final game of the season will not mark his own goodbye to the club.

“I don’t want this to sound corny, but I don’t feel like it’s a goodbye,” said Lampard. “I appreciate it will be the end of my time back, but normally when you leave a club you don’t have a hurrah as a manager. You are in one day out the next and that’s fine.

“This is the corny part. I will never feel like I am saying goodbye to the fans because of my career as a player and as a coach for the first time around, and this period. I live close enough to the stadium and I will be back at Chelsea many times, and when you take on a managerial career it doesn’t mean you will be at a club you had 13 years at as a player forever.

“I’m quite calm about it and not too nostalgic about it, but, certainly, I do appreciate the fans’ support. More than anything, I would love to give them a performance to take away for the summer and feel a bit more positive about for sure.”

In terms of the challenge ahead for Pochettino at Chelsea, Lampard said: “I think it is a fantastic job because it is the Chelsea job and when I took it the first time, I probably got it because a lot of top managers didn’t t want it then, I know that for a fact.

“But I enjoyed the process and I enjoyed coming in, and I wish the new manager well. I do not know [about the future]it’s his problem I guess.”

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