Remembering the "Wizard of Os"
On this very day, 5 years ago passed away a ‘legend’. The legend who is “THE” undisputed king of Stamford Bridge. The ‘Wizard of Os’- Peter Leslie Osgood. An ardent Chelsea follower myself, these eternal words still echoes in my heart-
“He lit the path and led the way,
Set the bar for stars of today,
Gone he maybe but Forgotten never,
For the story of the KING will live forever!”
Born in Windston, Peter was a talent to reckon with even during his early teenage days. Subsequently he was signed by Chelsea at an tender age of 17 and he made an immediate impact in the reserve team with 30 goals in 20 matches. So much so was the buzz around this young teenage boy,that many Stamford Bridge faithfuls felt that it was just a matter of time before he emerged as the new star of the Chelsea First Team.
Their early predictions proved absolutely right as Osgood steadily cemented his place into the first team with important goals in the league as well as in many cup matches. One that strikes out in every football fan’s memory is the goal following a 60 yard run past a trail of hapless Burnley players.
However, he missed Chelsea’s FA Cup Final in 1967 due to an long term injury and without the talisman Chelsea succumed to a loss against city rivals Tottenham Hotspur. He missed a large chunk of matches and his progress as a player was largely hampered.
But Osgood wasn’t a man to give up so easily. He retured with a vengeance and helped Chelsea achieve many glories. In 1970, he joined an elite league of players as he managed to score in all the rounds of the Fa Cup and subsequently helped Chelsea to lift the coveted title. His physical presence and vision combined with his goal-scoring ability made him an even greater player of that era. He scored in the both the legs against Real Madrid as Chelsea managed to put their hands on the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971.
In the following year, he again scored in a league cup final. However this was for a lost cause as Chelsea went down to Stoke City. He managed to find the net regularly for Chelsea although the team was on a gradual decline since then. He proved himself to be an “One Man Army”.
He soon moved to Southampton following disagreements with the manager and subsquently enjoyed a brief spell at Philadelphia Fury.
In 1978 he again returned to Stamford Bridge to help his team fight a relegation battle. He spent the rest of his footballing career at the Bridge before retiring in December 1979.
Following his retirement, he played the role of a hospitality host at Stamford Bridge.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.
His autobiography ‘Ossie – King of Stamford Bridge’ was written by Martin Knight and Martin King was released in the year of 2003. In 2004 Osgood appeared in a cameo role in the British film The Football Factory.
He died on March 1, 2006 following a heart attack at a family funeral. His ashes were buried under the penalty spot of Stamford Bridge, just near the Shed End.
On 24th October 2010, Chelsea revealed that the Peter Osgood statue had been finished and it was to be put just outside the West Stand. A week later there was an unveiling of the statue, attended by Osgood’s friends and family, and a day later the statue was available for public viewing. A fitting tribute to the “Great King of the Stamford Bridge”
Osgood scored a total of 150 goals for Chelsea in 380 appearances. A “True Blue Wizard” indeed!! RIP Peter Leslie Osgood!!