Chelsea - Peter Osgood 1947 - 2006
[This article has been re-introduced again for those who may have missed a moment to pay respects, particularly Chelsea fans, old and new]
Football legends are becoming, for me, a reducing category the further football continues. A number of traits has crept into our game where one now seems less honourable and more disrespectful, so history still manages to depict the days of old, where some players had socks rolling down, goalkeepers saved with bare hands, managers turned to lower divisions for inspirations rather than airports and ferries across borders.
Chelsea had a great they cultivated in Peter Osgood. He played in days before my introduction into the game, but he made headlines for what he gave to the clubs he joined in the initial finings of his career, Chelsea and Southampton. He was at Chelsea in 1964, under Tommy Docherty, until 1974, having played 380 games, scoring 150 goals. He won the FA Cup with them in 1970, scoring in every tie, and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1971 against Real Madrid.
He joined Southampton from there until 1978, with 157 appearances and 36 goals, following them into relegation and, whilst the South Coast side were a Second Division side, inspired in a sensational win over top flight Manchester United in another FA Cup Final in 1976. Southampton then regained promotion in 1978.
Peter then moved on to Norwich City and from there Philadelphia Fury in the United States before making a short-lived return to Stamford Bridge, who christened him 'The King of Stamford Bridge' after his performances there previously. He had made four England appearances, which some have said was a travesty of talent when he had the flair and determination to represent his country much more.
Yesterday, he was attending a family funeral when he collapsed from a suspected heart attack and was taken to hospital, where he sadly died. To happen yesterday, when England were playing with another Chelsea star in Joe Cole, seemed fitting, as Cole went on to produce a superb performance and scored a goal that wouldn't be out of place amongst that of Osgood's own repertoire. Seeing as Shaun Wright-Phillips set up Cole's goal, and John Terry nearly scored his first England goal himself after a solo run, and the excellent tribute from the minute's silence, yesterday now seemed to have been as much a Chelsea day as an international one to end on.
Known behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge for helping in hospitality on match days, outside of Stamford Bridge due to his appearances as a pundit and other football connected media work, and for after-dinner speeches, Peter was a firm favourite and a legend. I believe it was only something of a fortnight ago or more that he was seen on the Stamford Bridge pitch itself, may have been during the tie with Barcelona or a recent Premiership match like that against Liverpool, waving to all as he made his way. Suddenly, as he attended the passing of another, he was taken himself.
Thank you very much, Peter.
20th February 1947 - 1st March 2006