Lampard and Tambling – Two of a kind record breakers!
Frank Lampard should go on to beat Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 first team goals for Chelsea. Should Chelsea rethink their policy on veteran players, then perhaps he will line-up again next season. But like Didier Drogba a year earlier, Lampard looks like he will go out with a bang.
Drogba’s departure, stroking the ball past the Bayern Munich keeper to win the Champions League, could not have been more dramatic. But I think that Chelsea’s decision may not have been a bad one. Drogba does not look like a player still at his peak and his lack-lustre displays in the African Cup of Nations seemed to confirm this. By contrast, Lampard has the body language of a man out to make a point. Chelsea would do well to reconsider their stance on a player who could come back to haunt them if he does leave Stamford Bridge.
Lampard has been a model player for most of his career. He’s not like many footballers, largely because he’s reasonably well educated. He was fortunate that his parents sent him to Brentwood School, where he achieved 11 GCSEs including an A-star in Latin. How many players can claim that?
He has served Chelsea well and there won’t be any shortage of takers if he leaves the club. There are rumours that Manchester United would not mind adding him to their squad and that would be the worst possible outcome for Chelsea.
In many ways, the man Lampard should overtake in the goalscoring stakes, Bobby Tambling, was every bit as popular as “Lamps” is today. He was a stalwart, playing 370 games and scoring 202 times. Sadly, he won precious little in his career, the 1965 Football League Cup tankard – in the competition’s nascent years – and three England caps are the main pieces of objet d’art on Tambling’s mantelpiece.
But Tambling was a much-loved figure, an honest broker who always gave 100%. Chelsea managers like Tommy Docherty and Dave Sexton didn’t have to worry about Tambling the way they did about Peter Osgood, Terry Venables and Alan Hudson. He was steady, reliable and, at times, prolific. Because he didn’t feature in the Blues 1970 FA Cup and 1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup, his contribution has largely been forgotten.
I recall Tambling netting his 200th goal against Coventry City on March 10, 1969 in front of fewer than 18,000 people. He said something about that day which I found quite touching: “Just remember that while we were making your afternoon, you were also making ours.” That reflected a humble man who, despite doing great things for Chelsea, also recognized the part played by the fans. A decent man.
And that’s the way people will probably remember Frank Lampard when he does walk out of Stamford Bridge for the last time. There are few players in the modern game to compare with Chelsea’s record goalscorer-elect.