For those who watched Chelsea during the 1960s, in the vast majority of the games there would be Peter Bonetti in goal and Bobby Tambling as part of the attack. Both were outstanding in their respective roles of keeping the ball out of the Blues net and putting it in the net at the other end, but they also knew each other incredibly well off the pitch too.
Speaking to the official Chelsea website after the sad news of Bonetti’s passing yesterday, Tambling explains why.‘We were room-mates at Chelsea for about nine or 10 years when we went away and to share a room with Peter was so easy, he was such pleasurable company.‘We were like brothers and he was not only a brilliant and great goalkeeper, he was a gentleman as well. He would help anybody out if there was a problem and he would not doing anything to hurt anyone.‘We just got on and it was always a good laugh when we met. It is sad to think I won’t see him again.‘The last couple of times I saw Peter was at dinners at Chelsea. They always put us on the same table next to each other. Unfortunately we lost Ken Shellito from that team recently too. We were all good mates as a team and it is like losing one of your family.‘You could not ask for a better spirit in a club than we had back then. Peter was Chelsea through and through. There were seven or eight of us who had come through the groundstaff together and were like a family.
‘What Frank Lampard is doing at Chelsea now I imagine is getting the same sort of spirit because all these lads have come up through the youth team, they have come up the hard way to get where they are now at the moment and their bond will be absolutely superb.’Thinking back to Bonetti’s performances wearing his green Chelsea goalkeeper’s shirt, Tambling says he used to be astounded by some of the balls his team-mate came and claimed.‘I always used to say he had elastic arms because when he went to catch crosses, his arms to seemed to be able to reach further than you thought they could. He just plucked the ball out the air like picking an apple out of a tree.‘He was so safe and he was unfortunate that he had Gordon Banks in the England no.1 spot and he was hard to move out of that.‘Peter gave us so much hope that we could do big things as he was such a brilliant goalkeeper.’