Bobby Tambling: Frank Lampard, the Unforeseen Chelsea Legend

CEO Tam DT
"I thought we had a typical West Ham poser in our midfield. Boy, has he proved me wrong." The words of Bobby Tambling, Chelsea's former all-time leading scorer, as he reflects on Frank Lampard's illustrious...

Bobby Tambling, right, turns a shot goalwards

"I thought we had a typical West Ham poser in our midfield. Boy, has he proved me wrong."

The words of Bobby Tambling, Chelsea's former all-time leading scorer, as he reflects on Frank Lampard's illustrious career. Lampard surpassed Tambling's record of 202 goals, a feat that Tambling never anticipated. In an interview with BBC Sport, Tambling admits, "When I first saw Frank in the blue shirt of Chelsea, he was a very different player to what he is today."

Throughout the interview, Tambling's admiration for Lampard is evident. He describes Lampard as not only a fantastic player but also a gentleman off the field. Tambling marvels at Lampard's ability to play in midfield like a striker, a quality that led him to join the exclusive "200 club" and eventually surpass Tambling's record. "His anticipation makes him special," Tambling explains. "Frank will always anticipate the goalkeeper's movements, positioning himself a yard or two ahead of everyone else. He is probably the best player Chelsea have ever had."

Frank Lampard and Bobby Tambling

Tambling reminisces about the humble beginnings of his own career, where he earned a mere £10 per week (£8 in the off-season). He recalls traveling to matches by train and tube, mingling with fans before and after games. Despite the modest conditions, Tambling and his Chelsea teammates played for the love of the game. "We were doing what we loved doing, and then on top of that, getting paid," he says with pride.

While Lampard's earnings today have reached new heights, with a contract extension worth around £120,000 per week, Tambling is genuinely pleased for him. Losing his record to a player of Lampard's caliber and character was something Tambling had come to terms with long before it happened. As Lampard's pursuit of the record intensified, Tambling found himself in a quiet room in a pub in Ireland, surrounded by friends. Despite the significance of the moment, the atmosphere was subdued out of respect for Tambling.

Tambling and Lampard have developed a close friendship over the years. They share more than just their love for football; they also share an appreciation for Irish women, who have become good friends to both of them. Even during Tambling's recent illness, Lampard remained in contact, offering support and friendship.

Bobby Tambling

As our conversation continues, Tambling's emotions come to the surface. He recalls the emotional moment when he took center stage at Stamford Bridge during half-time at a recent Chelsea match. "It was very emotional," he says. "The applause seemed to go on forever, and it meant so much to me. The warmth from the crowd was overwhelming."

Now residing in the picturesque fishing village of Crosshaven in the Republic of Ireland, Tambling leads a quiet life. However, his love for the game and his beloved club, Chelsea, remains as strong as ever. He recalls his early days at Stamford Bridge, walking through the gates and feeling the magnitude of the club. Tambling's passion for the game is infectious, evident in the way he talks about the awe-struck faces of young lads he brought from Ireland to experience the magic of Chelsea firsthand.

In the end, Tambling's text message from Lampard's fiancee, Christine Bleakley, captures the essence of his legacy perfectly: "Bobby is still a legend - always will be." And few would argue with that sentiment.

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