Dave Webb was instantly installed as Porterfield’s three-month caretaker replacement on 15 February 1993. A unifying figure after turmoil at the tail of Ian Porterfield’s regime, FA Cup-winning defender Webb returned to the Bridge as a self-professed ‘Red Adair’ – the swaggering Texan famous for putting out oil well fires.
It was a mark of his homely approach and immersion in the commercial world beyond football that he was not averse to selling his players bicycles or bedding after training. While tasked with rebuilding morale, avoiding relegation at all cost was his primary responsibility. Nothing could have helped his early days more than the 1-0 win – the first in 14 attempts – at home to George Graham’s Arsenal. Webb was also required to carry out a reassessment of each squad member, and he alighted on some who had been missing out under previous bosses: the revival in fortunes of Erland Johnsen and Steve Clarke at the Bridge owed much to his brief cameo, and he was not happy about the departure of Graeme Le Saux.
Eleventh when he took over, eleventh when he left in May, Chelsea were nevertheless in better shape for Webb’s time at the wheel.