Peter Leslie Osgood (February 20, 1947 - March 1, 2006) was an
English footballer in the 1960s and 1970s.
Born in Windsor, Osgood was signed by Chelsea as a junior and made his
debut as a 17 year-old in the League Cup, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win
against Workington AFC on December 16, 1964. The buzz surrounding the tall,
skilful teenager's goalscoring for the club's reserves - 30 goals in 20
games going into that month - was already immense and it was only a matter
of time before he became a regular first-teamer.
Following an end-of-season tour of Australia during which Osgood scored
12 times in eight games, the centre-forward's next senior match was the
September 22, 1965 4-1 victory over AS Roma in the Inter-City Fairs Cup (a
violent encounter dubbed "the Battle of the Bridge"). A run in the league
followed, bringing seven goals, including one involving a 60-yard run past a
trail of Burnley players.
The teenager was soon hailed as a possible late call-up for Alf Ramsey's
1966 World Cup squad, having been included in the original 40-man squad
announced in April 1966, but he was not included in the final 22. He was
taken to the hearts of the Chelsea faithful, who nicknamed him "the Wizard
A broken leg suffered in a challenge by Blackpool's Emlyn Hughes in the
League Cup on October 6, 1966 seriously curtailed his progress, and he
missed Chelsea's first-ever Wembley FA Cup final on May 20, 1967. Without
him the Blues lost to Tottenham Hotspur 1-2.
It was a major disappointment for this big-stage player yet 'Ossie'
returned from the injury an equally graceful - if tougher - player. His
vision and physical presence were recognised by new manager Dave Sexton
playing him often as a midfielder, but it is as a goalscoring centre-forward
that he is best remembered.
In total, Osgood made 380 appearances for The Blues, scoring 150
goals. He was one of only nine players to score in every round of the FA Cup
(and, to date, the last to do so), helping Chelsea to victory in a replayed
final against Leeds United in 1970. He scored Chelsea's equaliser in the
second game at Old Trafford with a diving header from Charlie Cooke's
chipped pass twelve minutes from full time; his side eventually won 2-1.
In 1971, Osgood was part of the Chelsea team which lifted the European
Cup Winners' Cup, defeating Real Madrid 2-1 in Athens, where he scored
Chelsea's second, decisive, goal. In 1972, he scored for Chelsea in a major
cup final for the third consecutive year - this time the League Cup - though
they lost 1-2 to Stoke City. Chelsea declined as a major force thereafter,
but Osgood continued to score regularly; his volley from outside the area
against Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter-final was voted goal of the season in
Southampton, Norwich and return to Chelsea
Following a series of disagreements with manager Dave Sexton over his
lifestyle (during which supporters picketed Stamford Bridge to demand he
stay) Osgood, along with several of his team-mates, was dropped from the
squad and placed on the transfer list. He was sold to Southampton in March
1974 for a club-record ú275,000. During his time on the south coast, he won
the FA Cup again in 1976 after a famous 1-0 victory over Manchester United.
He left Southampton in November 1977, shortly before the club were promoted.
He scored 36 goals in 157 games for the Saints. Towards the end of his
career, he also had a brief loan spell at Norwich City.
Osgood returned to Chelsea in December 1978 following a disappointing
stint in the United States with the Philadelphia Fury, where he scored only
1 goal in 23 matches for a team which also included Alan Ball and Johnny
Giles. On his return to Stamford Bridge, the club were in deep decline and
facing a relegation battle. He again scored on his debut to put his team
ahead, though Chelsea still lost 7-2 to Middlesbrough. He stayed with the
club for the rest of the season before retiring in December 1979.
In spite of his talent and goalscoring prowess, Osgood's England career
was surprisingly limited, with England manager Alf Ramsey apparently
disapproving of his playboy lifestyle. As a result, he only won four
international caps, without scoring. Osgood made his England debut in
February 1970 in a 3-1 win over Belgium. He was a member of the 1970 World
Cup squad, making two appearances against Czechoslovakia and Romania as a
After football Osgood's life never lacked incident. For a time in the
early 1980s he ran a pub in Windsor, the Union Inn, with his old strike
partner Ian Hutchinson but it was an ill-starred venture. As one of its
favourite sons he was dismayed to be banned from Stamford Bridge, along with
many of his 1970s colleagues, by chairman Ken Bates for perceived criticism
of the club in the 1990s. In 2003 he was grateful to the Abramovich regime
for his rehabilitation, and returned to his role as a hospitality host on
Osgood was commonly called "Ossie" and also earned the nickname "The
King of Stamford Bridge" due to his exceptional skills as a player as
well as his personality and status. Osgood was known as a charming and
confident man, and on the pitch he had the slight touch of arrogance found
in great football players. Few things summarise his status as well as a
T-shirt worn by Raquel Welch, one of the greatest movie stars of the era.
The T-shirt simply said "I scored with Osgood". To this day, Peter Osgood's
status in the London club is unrivalled.
His autobiography 'Ossie - King of Stamford Bridge' written with Martin
Knight and Martin King was released in 2003 and in 2004 Osgood appeared in a
cameo role in the British film The Football Factory.
Prior to his death on March 1, 2006 following a heart attack at a family
funeral, he was involved in football related media work and was well known
on the after dinner speaker circuit. Three weeks before his death he had
enjoyed a standing ovation when presented to the Stamford Bridge crowd at
half-time of a match.
At Chelsea's first home game after Osgood's death, against local rivals
Tottenham, there were many tributes as well as a minute's applause. Many of
his former team-mates were in attendance and the matchday programme ran a
tribute to him. The atmosphere was one of joyous remembrance, and in keeping
with this theme Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners after a closely contested match,
thanks to an excellent last minute goal by William Gallas.
In a memorial service on Sunday, October 1, 2006, Peter Osgood's ashes
were laid to rest under the penalty spot at the Shed end of Stamford Bridge.
Over 2500 fans attended the memorial service and they were joined by former
managers, chairmen, players, colleagues and current Chelsea players.
As a player
With Chelsea F.C.
- FA Cup 1970
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1971
With Southampton F.C.
- ^ http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006450633,00.html
- Duncan Holley & Gary
Chalk (2003). In That Number - A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC.
Hagiology. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
- Tim Manns (2006).
Tie a Yellow Ribbon: How the Saints Won the Cup. Hagiology. ISBN