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Episode 21 – Bobby Tambling on Scoring Goals, Playing against George Best and never giving up!

June 12, 2017

It’s not every day I get to interview a guest that would be considered a legend in Football circles. And if you have an interest in football, you’ll love this episode. Even if you don’t, you’ll still love hearing Bobby talk about his life story.

Bobby’s career included scoring goals. In the FA cup final and for England at Wembley. He narrowly missed out on the England team for the 1966 world cup and also played against George Best during his career. Bobby scored 202 goals for Chelsea and was their record goal scorer until just a few years ago when Frank Lampard broke it.

We talk about Bobby’s early days playing football in school. Literally playing with jumpers for goal posts in the local park. His talent was there from a young age and was playing at an under 15 level at the age of 10. He played as a left winger and as a centre forward in the early days. While playing for Hampshire, he got noticed by scouts and started to play for England schoolboy under 15s. This was a big break. Soon after, Chelsea came calling.

Bobby talks about signing for Chelsea at 15. Moving to London and dealing with home sickness at that early age. He talks about making progress in the team and settling in with the ‘cockney’ team members that made life fun. He describes the feelings he went through playing and scoring on his debut v West Ham United in front of 45000 people.

Bobby was made club captain in 1962 by manager Tommy Docherty after Chelsea’s relegation to the Second Division.  It was never a role Bobby loved but with Docherty adding new players Terry Venables and Peter Bonetti Chelsea made an immediate return to the top flight with Tambling as their top scorer as he was in their first season back in the top division.

In 1965 he was a member of the team which won the 1965 Football League Cup Final. Played over two legs, Tambling scored the first goal in the first leg, a 3-2 defeat of Leicester City. Tambling was also a member of the Chelsea side which lost the 1967 FA Cup Final. Although he scored for Chelsea his 85th-minute goal was little more than a consolation

Some of the fascinating topics covered are football scouting, George Best as the best player Bobby played against, team mates at Chelsea, challenges he faced, life after football, dealing with a new life in Ireland, advice, and stories from his career.

We talk about the team bond with the Chelsea side in the 60’s when Bobby was scoring goals with great regularity. The spirit was very strong with great players in the team like Ron ‘Chopper’ Harriss, Peter Bonnetti and Terry Venables to name just three. Bobby also talks about the close connection he and the players had with the fans in these days. Much more than the today.

We talk about his England playing days. Bobby just missed out on the final 22 squad for the 1966 world cup getting to the final 28 before being cut at the final hurdle. He reflects on this, talking about sharing a room with Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore in the build up to this. It’s a game of fine margins. He respected Alf Ramsey’s decision which you couldn’t really argue with as he guided the England team to the world cup.

Bobby talks about moving to Ireland, on advice of his former Chelsea teammate Paddy Mulligan, he first signed for Cork Celtic. Bobby played for a few sides in Ireland the later part of his career. He played for Waterford and a short spell with Shamrock Rovers. In more recent times Tambling continues to live in Crosshaven where he also manages the local Munster Senior League side. He very happily explains that he’s had as much fun coaching and managing the underage teams in Crosshaven as he’s had in any management role.

In 2004, Tambling had a suite named after him at Stamford Bridge, in honour of his status at Chelsea. He was recently named in the club’s greatest ever XI, selected to mark the club’s centenary.

Bob ends up with the best piece of Advice he’s been given. Something that sticks out from a young age. He also says the key to his success as a player was never giving up. Great tip to live by. We recorded this in April, when Chelsea were closing in an the league and just before the FA Cup semi final which they won.

I have to say Bobby was a total gentleman during the 90+ minutes we were talking. It’s so clear to hear he’s a very genuine and warm character. He was happy to give up his time to talk about his great career and story.



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