The “King of Stamford Bridge” as Peter Osgood is known could have signed for either Reading or Arsenal. Instead, it was Chelsea who replied after Peter’s uncle Bob wrote to them about the potential of his nephew and this set in motion the wheels of history for the club and Peter himself.
Born on 20th February, 1947 in Windsor, Osgood played school football with Clewer Green Primary School and later with Dedworth Secondary Modern in his hometown. Progressing through the school teams he was selected for Slough and District team before joining the Spital Youth Club side. Soon he applied and went for a trail with Reading but they never came back with their answer. Arsenal was also interested in him and offered a trial but he rejected them. Arsenal’s loss was soon to prove Chelsea’s gain. Gauging his young nephew need for guidance, his uncle Bob wrote to Chelsea about Peter’s ability and they duly signed him up. He was offered terms of £10 per week as an amateur and signed in 1964. In the 1964-65 season, Osgood scored 30 goals in 20 games for the Chelsea reserve side earning himself a call to the senior side from the then manager Tommy Docherty for the fifth round replay of League Cup against Workington on 16th December, 1964. As if an indication of the things he had to offer, Peter Osgood scored a brace on his debut in a 2-0 win. Chelsea won the League Cup, however another Chelsea legend Bobby Tambling was at the peak of his powers and this resulted in no further first team opportunities for young Peter Osgood.
The end of season tour to Australia helped him establish himself as a first team striker. He scored 12 goals in 8 games. The next senior call came on 22nd September, 1965 against Roma in the Inter-City Fairs Cup but he did not find the net in match. That season he managed 11 goals in 48 games (7 goals in 32 league games and 4 goals in 16 cup outings), a decent return for an 18 year old playing his first full season as a senior player. His performances saw him included in the 40 man provisional squad for the 1966 FIFA World Cup, though he did not make the final cut. The next season began strongly for Peter Osgood, in which he scored 6 goals in the first 10 games he played. However on 6th October, 1966 in a game against Blackpool in the League Cup, his leg was broken after a tackle from Emlyn Hughes. This injury denied him the opportunity to participate in the 1967 FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur which Chelsea lost 2-1, their first FA Cup Final.
Peter Osgood returned to full fitness before the beginning of the new season and the new manager Dave Sexton started playing him in the midfield. Peter Osgood played in every match that season and scored 17 goals overall becoming the club’s top scorer for 1967-68 season. The trend continued and in 1968-69 season he scored 13 goals. The next season he was moved to the front and managed 31 goals in 48 matches and helped Chelsea win their first ever FA Cup in 1970. He had the distinction of scoring in every round of FA Cup that season including a diving header in the final which drew Chelsea on level with Leeds United. Osgood finished the season as the joint top scorer for the league with 23 goals in 38 games.
Next season saw Osgood guide Chelsea to further glory, helping the club win their first European trophy in form of European Cup Winner’s Cup. In the final against Real Madrid on 19th May 1971 Osgood scored a left footed volley from inside the area in the 56th minute and Real Madrid drew level in 90th minute through Ignacio Zoco’s goal taking the match to extra time. There were no further goals and the match went to replay game to be held two days later at the same venue. In the replay John Dempsey scored for Chelsea at 33rd minute and Peter Osgood doubled the lead six minutes later. Real Madrid managed to score one on 75th minute through substitute Sebastian Fleitas. But Chelsea managed to hang on to the lead and won the game. This was Chelsea’s first European trophy. Next season he again managed to score 31 goals in 52 matches including a goal in the League Cup final against Stoke City. His last two seasons with Chelsea were without silverware and Osgood managed to score just 17 and 8 goals.
Peter Osgood’s extravagant lifestyle meant Alf Ramsey, the then England manager, did not favor him and capped him only 4 times in which he did not score. He also fell out of favor with Dave Sexton and coupled with financial difficulties the club was forced to sell him to Southampton for £275,000 despite protests from the fans. At St. Mary’s he scored 28 goals in 126 appearances. He won the 1975-76 FA Cup with Southampton. In between there was a loan stint at Norwich and 22 appearances for Philadelphia Fury in the North American Soccer League.
Osgood returned for a second spell at Chelsea in December 1978 season scoring 2 goals in 10 appearances. Next season Chelsea was relegated from the First Division and Osgood managed just one appearance. He retired in 1979 at the age of 32 after being let go by Geoff Hurst. By the time of his retirement; with Roy Bentley he had become the joint fifth highest goal scorer for Chelsea.
Post his retirement he started a pub in his hometown Windsor, called Union Inn with old strike partner Ian Hutchinson but the venture did not pick up and he was declared bankrupt in 1985. In 1990s he was banned from Stamford Bridge after the Chairman Ken Bates thought he had criticized the club. However with Roman Abramovich taking over in 2003 this ban was overturned and the one of the favorite sons of the club gained his rightful place in the stadium where he made his name.
A combination of finesse, power, and technique Peter Osgood passed away at the age of 59 on 1st March, 2006 while attending a funeral at his hometown. His ashes were buried under the penalty spot near the Shed End. The club honored him by unveiling a statue of him outside the west stand on 1st October, 2010. He will always be the only “King of Stamford Bridge” and the club’s faithful remember him in the chant, “From out of the Shed, came a shining young star, scoring goals past Pat Jennings, From near and from far. And Chelsea won, and we all knew they would, And the star of that great team, was Peter Osgood, Osgood, Osgood, Osgood, Osgood, born is the King of Stamford Bridge!”.