Osgood had a previous trial with Arsenal, but said that he tore the papers up because he was happy playing for Windsor and working on building sites, and didn’t fancy the travel. Osgood was signed in February 1964 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 16 December 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 he soon 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 22 September 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 number 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.
A broken leg suffered in a challenge by Blackpool’s Emlyn Hughes in the League Cup on 5 October 1966 seriously curtailed his progress, and he missed Chelsea’s first-ever Wembley FA Cup final on 20 May 1967. Chelsea lost to Tottenham Hotspur 1–2. This was a major disappointment for Osgood, but after he returned from the injury his abilities were recognised by new manager Dave Sexton playing him often as a midfielder, notably wearing the number 4 shirt for most of the 1968– 69 season (reference page 70 ‘Ossie – King of Stamford Bridge’ written with Martin Knight and Martin King ), but it is as a goalscoring centre-forward, number 9, that he is best remembered. He was given the nickname “the Wizard of Os”.
In total, Osgood made 289 appearances for The Blues, scoring 105 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 a replay in Athens after the original tie had finished 1–1, with Osgood scoring Chelsea’s goal in that game. In the replay he scored again, the second goal to put Chelsea 2–0 up, as they went on to win 2–1. 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 BBC goal of the season in 1972–73. As a young player in the 1960s, Osgood enjoyed the trappings of fame, boozy nights out, gambling and owned a racing greyhound called Railroad Billy.
- Full Name: Peter Leslie Osgood
- Position: Forward
- Date of Birth: 20.02.1947
- Birthplace: Clewer, Berkshire
- Nation: England
- Full Caps: 4
- Major League Career
- 1964-74, Chelsea (279/103)
- 1974-77, Southampton (126/28)
- 1978-79, Chelsea (10/2)
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