Howard Webb finally decided to hang his whistle as a referee on Wednesday, last week, and has been appointed technical director of the official referees’ association. Webb’s retirement news saw social media have a fun filled day with the news, photo shopping him in a Man. Utd jersey and stating him as an Old Trafford legend and what have you. Webb retires after officiating well over 500 football games and that World Cup final we managed not to dose off while watching, personally as a Chelsea fan, I vividly recall Webb giving Man.Utd 2 penalties in almost quick successions while we were 3-0 up against the Red Devils, Wayne Rooney claimed a brace against us from the spot before Javier Hernandez added his usual icing on the cake against us to complete a comeback, 3-3, one of my angriest days as a fan, but it’s nothing compared to some guy called Tom Overbo on a wet night at Stamford Bridge against Barcelona.
Under Howard Webb we managed to win 18 times, draw 12 and lose 9 games in all competitions, having said that here are some memorable games we played while one of England’s finest –in all sincerity- officiated.
Man.City 1-0 Chelsea (2004)
‘The Special One’ had just taken charge of the Roman Empire and we were on the rise in English football, other teams terrorized as we were still unbeaten until one afternoon at Man.City’s old home, City of Manchester stadium. City, ‘parked the bus’ -ironic now- against a very attacking Chelsea team, taking the lead via future friend, Nicolas Anelka, who was fouled outside the box by Paulo Ferreira, Webb pointed to spot and Anelka ended our run from 16 yards.
Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal (2005)
Our first win under Webb as the official after four games, however it was on neutral ground as we played Arsenal at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Future Blue, Cesc Fabregas scored a consolation goal after Didier Drogba scored a brace –the first of any- against Arsenal, enough to seal the win.
Wigan Athletic 0-1 Chelsea (2005)
Paul Jewel’s Wigan side had just been promoted to the Premier League and their first game was against us, the Champions at the time. Everyone thought we would absolutely maul the new comers but boy were they wrong, the Lactics put up a brilliant performance coming close to beating us, before Hernan Crespo struck from way out to win 1-0 in injury time, Jose offered words of comfort to Jewel.
Middlesbrough 2-1 Chelsea (2006)
We had just bought Andriy Shevchenko, for a British record fee and were eager for his first goal of the season, his first league goal came in the 16th minute to the joy of the fans, but Emmanuel Pogatetz’s equalizer in the 80th minute and Mark Viduka’s winner in injury time, cut the joy short for the Chelsea faithful’s.
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (2007)
Theo Walcott scored us as early as the 12th minute in the League Cup final before Didier Drogba scored yet another brace against the North London outfit to comeback from behind and win us our first trophy of the season. However the game would be remembered for a brawl between the two sides in the 90th minute, Howard Webb sent off John Obi Mikel and Arsenal’s Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor also after the incident.
Man.Utd 3-0 Chelsea (2009)
One that every Chelsea fan would have forgotten, like almost every match under Luiz Felipe Scolari, Man.Utd’s Vidic, Rooney and Berbatorv all scored to give United a well-deserved 3 points at Old Trafford, it really could have been more.
Everton 1-2 Chelsea (2009)
No more under Scolari but rejuvenated by Russia’s manager -at the time- Guus Hiddink, the Blues were about to save a season of early uncharacteristic performance with some silverware. Louis Saha scored the fastest FA Cup goal with just 25 seconds on the clock but Chelsea recovered with Didier Drogba’s header and Frank Lampard’s strike from about 25 yards, controversy in the game as Malouda’s effort which replay showed was over the goal line, was disallowed.
Man.City 2-1 Chelsea (2009)
Now under Italian boss, Carlo Ancelotti, top of the league and leading the pack, we would face a City side who were still in the transition of being a high profiled English side and making Europe’s elite competition was still their priority at the time. Adebayor scored an own goal to give us the lead early in the game, before he equalized at the other after Micah Richards seemed to have handled the ball to assist the Togolese. Man.City with the final roar as Carlos Tevez scored the winner against us, like he usually does.
Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea (2010)
With 2 games to go, a win against the Merseyside Reds would put us on top of Man.Utd and most importantly, within touching distance of the title. Who else to give us a gift to open the scoring but Steven Gerrard, a back pass from the Liverpool skipper found Drogba one on one with Reina, the rest is history, before Frank Lampard added to the deficit from Nicolas Anelka’s cross, the result left us with one more game to claim the title, a win at Wigan on the final day would be enough.
Chelsea 3-3 Man.Utd (2012)
Now under the regime of Portuguese boss, AVB, we were having quite the mediocre season, but a world class performance against Man.Utd who was well in title contention. Johnny Evans’ own goal opened the scoring for us, Juan Mata with a superb volley and David Luiz’s header put us 3-0 up against the defending champions. However, it started to go wrong for us, two -well debatable- penalties called by Webb, saw Wayne Rooney score a brace before Javier Hernandez headed well from Ryan Gigg’s cross to complete the comeback 5 minutes from time.
Chelsea 6-1 QPR (2012)
Now under RDM after AVB was relieved of his duties, we had just had an unbelievable night against FC Barcelona in the Champions League Semis, Fernando Torres scored the equalizer against the Catalan giants at the Nou Camp and couldn’t seem to stop as he scored a hattrick against bitter rivals, QPR, to round off an incredible week and score line.
Man.Utd 2-2 Chelsea (2013)
Now under Benitez, we were facing Man.Utd in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup with the hope of winning English silverware as we were way out of the title challenge. In the first half it was going horribly wrong for us, Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney with the goals as the Red Devils led 2-0 before the break but after the break the introduction of Eden Hazard changed the game, the Belgian wizard scored a brilliant curler against David De Gea before Oscar set up fellow Brazilian, Ramires to equalize and book a replay.
Chelsea 2-1 Man.City (2013)
Now back at the helm of Jose Mourinho, the now ‘Happy One’ would use a ‘Big Horse, Little Horse’ analogy after a spectacular win against City on a fine evening. Andre Schürrle put us ahead after a brilliant assist by Fernando Torres, before Sergio Agüero equalized beating Petr Cech at the near post, drama in injury time as miscommunication between Nastasic and Joe Hart would see Fernando Torres with the whole goal at his mercy as the Spaniard showed no mercy sending Chelsea fans and players on the field and bench into ecstasy, Mourinho would engage in celebrating with his son somewhere in the stands.