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Do You Remember When… Tebily Starred Against Chelsea?

He wasn’t the most technically brilliant of players but there was something about Olivier Tebily that appealed. Whether it was him tackling a player in his socks against Millwall, the off the line clearance at Stamford Bridge or just the site of a moving brick wall taking out players, Tebs was a cult hero. They say that every dog has his day and on April 1, 2006, Tebily had his.

2005/6 was a rough season for us Bluenoses. With a team heralded by David Gold as “the best ever”, there was only one direction we were ever going to go and that was down. 2006 had started promisingly with Blues humping fellow strugglers Portsmouth 5-0 at home in a match that seemed to confirm that they would be the ones to fall through the trap door rather than us. However, it was a false dawn and the next eight league games had yielded one win and a total of five points from a possible twenty-four, punctuated with a 7-0 humiliation to Liverpool in the cup.

Jose Mourinho had said that Chelsea were going to wrap the title up by April 9 and one of the last remaining obstacles in the way was Birmingham City. The way we were playing it looked like there would only be one winner and it wasn’t going to be us.

I don’t know if he’d had three shredded wheat on that morning, or had been fired up by some tune or other in the changing room but Tebs was like a man possessed against Chelsea. Slotted into a right-back role, the Ivorian decided he was going to make it his own for the day and set about marauding up and down the flank, beasting any Chelsea player that came his way.

In the first half, Blues could have been three up. Heskey spurned a chance created by a half-cleared Damien Johnson cross which had all come from a Tebily run before glancing a header wide from a Pennant free kick that he should have buried. I can only imagine this enraged Tebs, as on his next run he unleashed what can only be described as a forty yard thunderbolt – with his wrong (left) foot – which Cech just tipped over. I will admit I was gobsmacked – it was an absolute beast of a shot, hit so sweetly and it took a top save from a world-class keeper to keep it out. Who kidnapped Tebs and replaced him with this imposter?

Robben had a chance which Maik Taylor blocked before Heskey again failed to score when presented with a chance 12 yards out as the game neared half time. After the abject humiliation of the Liverpool game the sight of Blues leaving the field not only goalless against the mighty Chelsea but unlucky to be so – well, it was something to applaud and from my vantage point on the Kop most others did.

The second half was more about the defensive side of the game – Chelsea had two ruled out for offside and the back four were called into action time and time again as the Pensioners tried to unlock the door. However, Blues held firm and managed to shut out Chelsea (much to Mourinho’s displeasure as he was convinced Asier del Horno’s ruled out effort should have stood) and won a precious point in the race for survival. Despite winning their next game against Bolton Blues couldn’t stay up, and were mathematically relegated in the penultimate game of the season after drawing 0-0 with Newcastle United at St Andrews.

However, in a season of mostly dross I’ll forever remember Tebs and his left foot cracker that marked the day he was the star.


12 Responses to “Do You Remember When… Tebily Starred Against Chelsea?”

  • RichardW says:

    I admit all the shortcomings that you cite in Tebily’s game but I always felt he was underused, particularly in that relegation season when some backbone would not have come amiss. Come to think of it we could use his approach now. Let’s hope Diop is cast in the same mould.

  • quokkasskip says:

    Loved Tebily. He just loved the game and wore his heart on his selve. Definately need a few more like him now. We all dream of a team of Tebillys!!!!

  • bcfcjayv says:

    Tebily is the type of player every team should have. his spirit and desire got him through the games thats why the fans took to him. Players like tebily will always be held in high regard down the blues, a player who gives his all no matter what, just like the sock incident. players like tebily, alou cisse better by miles than your bentleys

  • Cliff says:

    Funny now people love Tebs, yet I remember so many people moaning about him as he was not good enough etc.
    Personally having been at Millwall play-off game I will always remember Teb’s for that tackle! A legend for me, gave it all for his team and tried his best regardless of sometimes not having enough.

  • Mike Allen says:

    Tebily is one of my all time favourite Blues players, I loved him when he was with us. Despite being a bit limited, he always gave his all to the cause and you can’t ask for more than that. He was one of those guys that always got your heart in your mouth whenever he got the ball, as you never knew if he was gonna waltz through the opposition team or pass it straight th the opposing centre forward!

  • Blue in Spain says:

    That was the season we had Nicky Butt on loan, what a waste of money he was, never looked interested!

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Sadly another target of the boo boys.

    I liked him too

  • pierre says:

    does anybody know where he is know?

  • RichardM says:

    I remember the Celtic fans named him “bomb scare” becuase of the potential damage his defensive errors could cause – but agree he was a whole-hearted player who never gave less than 100%. Millwall away was my favourite too, he lost a boot in one tackle that enraged him so much he chased back after the Millwall player and tackled him cleanly with only one boot on to win the ball back – amazing, never seen it before or since!

  • Rich says:

    He was immense against Chelsea; I remember that game suprisingly vividly. He had Arjen Robben, Joe Cole and Damien Duff in his pocket at different points.

    I had to look this up on Soccerbase to confirm I was right – but when we played Villa a few weeks later (and lost 3-1, with Chris Sutton scoring his one and only and all three Villa goals being slightly contentious, including Milan Baros nearly decapitating Mat Sadler), Tebs got a pretty awful smash in the head. Can’t remember if it was a clash of heads or getting a ball walloped at him, but I remember him completely missing a header shortly after and generally looking completely zonked.

  • stokie blue says:

    What are you guys on! Tebily was one of the worst players I’ve seen grace the St. Andrews pitch, if not any football pitch…

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