Date: 22nd October 2019 at 9:25pm
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Bobby Tambling is most widely known for being Chelsea’s record goal scorer for over 40 years; scoring 202 goals in only 370 games before being famously bettered by Frank Lampard in 2013. But Bobby means so much more to Chelsea supporters of a certain vintage than that.

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A highly sought-after schoolboy footballer who played for England schoolboys, Bobby was signed by Chelsea head scout Jimmy Thompson and manager Ted Drake as a fifteen-year-old in 1957.

He scored the winner on his debut, aged seventeen in 1959, in a 3-2 win against West Ham United.  With the departure to AC Milan of Chelsea’s iconic goal machine Jimmy Greaves two years later, Bobby became Chelsea’s main striker and was their leading goal scorer for five seasons in the 1960s.

After Chelsea’s relegation to the Second Division, Tommy Docherty made him Captain in 1962 and he became the youngest captain to lead a team to promotion. With the addition of players such as Terry Venables and Peter Bonetti, Chelsea immediately returned to the First Division and began challenging for honours.

In the 1965 Football League Cup Final, Bobby scored the first goal in the first leg, a 3–2 defeat of Leicester City, as Chelsea won their first trophy since the 1955 League title.

Tambling scored five goals in a 6–2 away win at Aston Villa on 17 September 1966 which remains the record for the highest number of goals scored for Chelsea in a league game.

He was also the first player to score for Chelsea in an FA Cup Final in 1967 but sadly Chelsea lost 2–1 to a Tottenham Hotspur side containing former Chelsea players Greaves and Venables.

Although Chelsea went close in the league and the cups, further trophies sadly eluded Bobby, most poignantly when he was not selected for the 1970 FA Cup final, a season where he was only started 7 games before being moved on to Crystal Palace.

Never the less, Bobby Tambling remains a Chelsea legend for his personal contributions to Chelsea in a career of 370 games, 202 goals from 1958-1970.

He is a very approachable figure around Stamford Bridge on a match day and Martin King and Stamford Chidge were privileged to interview him in one of the Chelsea hotels before a match.

We talked to Bobby about playing and learning from the great Jimmy Greaves; the differences in approach between Tommy Docherty and Dave Sexton; the game at Villa Park where he scored 5 goals; the pain of defeat against Spurs in the 1967 FA Cup Final and missing out in the 1970 final as well as following the careers of Kerry Dixon and Frank Lampard wondering which one might break his goal scoring record.

Bobby Tambling’s love for Chelsea and the supporters who cheered his name week in week out is palpable as you will find out listening to this interview…

Season League FA Cup Europe Other Total
1958/59 1 0 0 0 0 1
1959/60 1 0 0 0 0 1
1960/61 9 0 3 0 0 12
1961/62 20 2 0 0 0 22
1962/63 35 2 0 0 0 37
1963/64 18 2 0 0 0 20
1964/65 15 4 6 0 0 25
1965/66 16 5 0 2 0 23
1966/67 21 6 1 0 0 28
1967/68 12 3 0 0 0 15
1968/69 17 1 0 1 0 19

Total          165            25                10                 3            0        203 


Season League FA Cup Europe Other Total
1958/59 1(0) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 1(0)
1959/60 4(0) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 4(0)
1960/61 24(0) 1(0) 3(0) 0(0) 0(0) 28(0)
1961/62 34(0) 1(0) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 35(0)
1962/63 40(0) 4(0) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 44(0)
1963/64 35(0) 2(0) 1(0) 0(0) 0(0) 38(0)
1964/65 33(0) 5(0) 7(0) 0(0) 0(0) 45(0)
1965/66 26(0) 6(0) 0(0) 10(0) 0(0) 42(0)
1966/67 36(0) 7(0) 3(0) 0(0) 0(0) 46(0)
1967/68 24(0) 5(0) 1(0) 0(0) 0(0) 30(0)
1968/69 38(2) 5(0) 3(0) 4(0) 0(0) 50(2)
1969/70 7(2) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 0(0) 7(2)

Total        302(4)   36(0)        18(0)            14(0)     0(0)   370(4)