While Wigan had jaws dropping around the British Isles (and Mancini looking worriedly at the exit door), another footballing achievement was, well…achieved.
Between the years 1959 and 1970, and in a mere 370 appearances, Chelsea striker Bobby Tambling scored a mammoth 202 goals.
The record went unthreatened until Kerry Dixon made it to 193 in 1992, but he stopped there. Didier Drogba’s age caught up with him before he could surpass 157. But one East Londoner just didn’t know when to stop stuffing one in the onion bag, and on Saturday one Frank Lampard matched the record, and then broke it, notching up a delightful 203.
While Tambling racked his tally up in a much shorter time, Lampard’s record shines because of his location in central midfield. And I’m not talking van Rafael van der Vaart midfield here; the one where you play like a slow striker and don’t even know what your half of the field looks like. I’m talking someone who is there to intercept passes, set up counter attacks, add bodies to attack, and most prominently: bag dem goals. And there are few CM’s that are so incisive in attack.
Lamps didn’t just throw himself in the goal like monkey chasing a rabbit, and he would rarely sit on the edge waiting to reignite failed attacks like Paul Scholes (although I would never criticise the Scholesy). No Frank would be there, on the end of that cross every time. On his weak foot? In the net. On his head? In the net. Generally near him in the six yard box? You guessed it, you’re one-nil down.
‘For god’s sake’ you mutter like a 60 year old, ‘he was unmarked’. Yeah there’s a trend to that isn’t there? He seems to always lose his marker or be in front of the defender?
And it’s all because Lampard has the timing of a Swiss rail network – bang on the money.
With the timing of Gary Lineker delivering the punchline in a Walker’s commercial, Lamps would ghost into the box and finish with the certainty of Ruud van Nistelrooy. He has a cracker from distance when he fancied too, and has people paying millions for the collector’s item that was a missed penalty.
He is a squeaky clean profession, who maybe was never at his best for England, but gives his all for Chelsea and was at the heart of every bit of success at that club for the past twelve years. Let’s have a gander at some of his finest goals and celebrate Super Frankie Lamps, all time Chelsea top scorer:
Champions League Quarter Final vs Bayern Munich, 2005
Champions League Group Stage vs Barcelona, 2006
FA Cup Final vs Everton, 2009 (Winning Goal)
Premier League vs Hull, 2008
Premier League vs Aston Villa, 2013
The record matching and breaking goals. The first is a leader’s goal, pulling the Blues into the game with a confident strike. The second, for me, is the textbook Lampard goal. From playing an intelligent ball out wide to carefully drifting in for the kill, his movement and timing are 10/10. An example to every central midfielder and many strikers.
Hey look, I did the whole article without mentioning Gerrard…