Peter Osgood, one of the greatest players to ever play for Chelsea Football Club, would have been 72 years old yesterday. Nearly thirteen years to the day, the Blues legend passed away. At just 59, we lost him far too early and to this very day, we still miss him immensely.
‘Ossie’ – as he was known by everyone – was adored for his style of play on the pitch as well as how much he was loved by the fans off the pitch. His exceptional skills as a player, as well as his personality and status, made him a club hero and eventually a club icon.
The Shed looked up and saw a great star,
Scoring goals past Pat Jennings from near and afar,
And Chelsea won, as we all knew they would,
And the star of that great team was Peter Osgood.
Born is the King of Stamford Bridge.– Ode to the legendary Peter Osgood
To all the fans that grew up with Osgood and saw him play, they remember him for always having a smile on his face and never forgot how much the fans meant to him – making sure he always had time for them, no matter what.
Osgood was signed 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 in December 1964. The buzz around the skilful teenager was starting to build and an incredible return of 30 in just 20 reserve games, his time for the first-team was coming.
His next turnout was in the infamous ‘The Battle of the Bridge’ match between Chelsea and AS Roma in the 1965 Inter-City Fairs Cup. With a great run in the league – leading to seven goals – Osgood was included in the provisional 40-man England squad for the 1966 World Cup, but unfortunately did not make the cut for Alf Ramsey’s final 22.
A broken leg suffered in a League Cup match against Blackpool in October 1966 curtailed his progress, with there being a possibility even it might have forced him to retire. Thankfully though, that was not the case for the ‘The Wizard of Os’ as his memorable Chelsea journey was far from over.
Osgood’s most memorable moments in a Chelsea shirt are two of the greatest moments in the history of our beloved club. The first one happened in the 1969/1970 season, helping Chelsea to FA Cup glory in the replayed final against Leeds United. 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, with the Blues eventually winning 2-1 and thus becoming FA Cup winners for the very first time. To this day, Osgood is one of only nine players to score in every round of the FA Cup (and the last to do so).
The second memorable came in the following season (1970-71). By winning the FA Cup, this allowed Chelsea to participate in the European Cup Winner’s Cup for the very first time. Reaching the Final at the first attempt, Chelsea faced Spanish giants Real Madrid. In another major cup final, Osgood once again delivered. After scoring in the original tie which finished 1-1, Ossie would score the second goal – ultimately the winner – as Chelsea went on to win the replay 2-1, giving the Blues their first ever European trophy.
If you’ve never seen Osgood in action, this wonderful volley from outside the penalty area against Arsenal in the 1973 FA Cup Quarter-Final (voted goal of that season as well) is a brief glimpse of what this amazing man did on the hollowed SW6 pitch:
FA Cup winner.
European Cup Winners’ Cup winner.
Joint-Fifth all-time leading goalscorer.
Osgood has left a lasting legacy on this club. A legacy that is so huge to us all that when he suddenly died in March 2006, his passing hit the entire Chelsea community, and English football as a whole too, to its absolute core.
We lost our King.
In a memorial service held in October later that year, Peter Osgood’s ashes were laid to rest under the penalty spot at his beloved Shed End. His ashes, soul and spirit are still there today and will never be moved.
He gave his life to this football club. And as a sign of how grateful this club will forever be to him, exactly four years after his ashes were laid at Stamford Bridge, a statue of Osgood was unveiled. His statue – simply known as ‘OSSIE‘ – has a plaque on it, which reads:
Stamford Bridge has many heroes but only one King
Graceful technician; nerveless striker
Icon of the swinging sixties
Adored by fans; scorer of immortal cup final goals
A Big Man for a Golden Age
From a personal note… even though I wasn’t alive when Osgood played for us, he will always mean a lot to me. Not just because he was a Chelsea legend and I support Chelsea, but because he was the childhood hero of my Father. When Osgood passed away, I’ll never forget my Dad sobbing his heart out. I knew then how much he meant to him and how many memories he helped create for him growing up.
I will forever be grateful for what Peter did to not just Chelsea, but to me and my family too. Ossie made my Father a Chelsea fan and thus made me one too.
Didier Drogba, Kerry Dixon, Bobby Tambling, Roy Bentley, Jimmy Greaves… All incredible strikers that will forever be remembered as Chelsea legends.
But Osgood will always mean something much more. What he means to this club – for every single fan to have supported Chelsea – might never be rivalled.
There will only ever be one ‘King of Stamford Bridge’, and this King will never be forgotten.
Happy Birthday Ossie. Long live the King.