With a twist of his neck and a flash of his forehead, Frank Lampard finally scored his 200th goal for Chelsea in their 2-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday. The milestone has been a month in the making and it was no surprise that after it had been achieved the midfielder was awash with a sense of achievement.
"The goals' record is something I'm proud of because I didn't think I'd get anywhere near 200 when I signed [for Chelsea in 2001]," he said. "I didn't know where it would go at the time. So to get there was special for me."
Lampard is now just two goals away from becoming Chelsea's joint all-time record scorer, with a visit to Southampton in 11 days' time representing his next chance to add to his tally for Rafa Benítez's men. Should the 34-year-old hit a brace he will at last catch up with a man the world should know more about.
Bobby Tambling (right) is to Chelsea what Bobby Charlton is to Manchester United, Ian Rush to Liverpool, Dixie Dean to Everton, Thierry Henry to Arsenal and Jimmy Greaves to Tottenham. Yet it is fair to say he matches none of them in profile or prestige. Stamford Bridge veterans and anyone else who saw Tambling play for Chelsea during an 11-year spell up to 1970 may disagree with that assessment, but the truth remains that until Lampard began to home in on his record, relatively few people had heard of the man who scored 202 goals in 370 appearances for the club.
Tambling joined Chelsea from Havant Town aged 15 and made his first-team debut two years later, scoring the winner in a 3-2 victory over West Ham in February 1959. It was an eye-catching introduction, particularly as Tambling was operating out wide and did not get to play in attack until Greaves left Chelsea for Milan in 1961.
The youngster from Sussex had big boots to fill but took to the task with gusto, scoring 22 goals during the 1961-62 season and another 37 the following campaign, when he was captain of a team that achieved instant promotion back to the First Division.
The goals continued to flow for Tambling during a heady era for Chelsea in which they became one of the most attractive teams in the country under the management of Tommy Docherty. He scored five in a 6-2 win against Aston Villa during the 1966-67 season as well as a consolation strike in the 1967 FA Cup final defeat to Tottenham. But for all his goals Tambling won only one trophy with Chelsea, the 1965 League Cup, and he eventually left the club in 1970 to join Crystal Palace.
A slip down the Stamford Bridge pecking order led to Tambling's departure, but he could well have left Chelsea for very different reasons. "For some while I have been interested in the Jehovah's Witnesses movement through my wife, Kath," revealed Tambling in September 1969. "In the last month or so it has taken me more deeply."
The striker stuck with football, however, and following a three-year spell at Palace he moved to Ireland, playing for Cork Celtic, Waterford, Shamrock Rovers and Cork Alberts before retiring in 1979. He went on to manage Cork City and lives in the area to this day.
It is a case of gone and rather forgotten as far as Tambling's time at Chelsea is concerned. There is a suite at Stamford Bridge named after him but his contribution is not one that reverberates in the manner of other legendary strikers. In a poll conducted by Chelsea's official magazine last year to find the Blues' 100 greatest players, Tambling came only 13th, three places behind Greaves and eight behind Peter Osgood.
Contributing to a blog entitled "Searching for Bobby Tambling", Ken Shellito, a former team-mate of the player, explained why he felt Chelsea's one-time captain is not regarded as highly among the Stamford Bridge faithful as Osgood and Greaves. "Bob was a player's player while people like Ossie and Jimmy were individualists," said Shellito. "They were great players and they got the headlines. But Bob was not a glory man. He just enjoyed his football and got a lot of goals."
His tally of 202 is a contribution that Lampard, for one, appreciates. The veteran midfielder's drive to appear on the scoresheet has not diminished, as he explained. "When you're older you're a bit tired so you can sit back and relax," he said. "I enjoy seeing how things develop and the good thing about arriving late in the box with the players we've got, you believe they're going to put it where you want it."
Lampard will almost certainly match Tambling's record, and probably overtake it, before his scheduled departure from Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. It has been a chase which has done both men good and now aged 71 and suffering from failing health, Tambling can take some comfort from having now got some of the wider recognition he deserves.
"He's a great man who has always been very supportive of me," said Lampard. "If there was ever a man I'd love to be level with, it's Bobby."