Peter Osgood: 20 defining matches

PETER OSGOOD remains the king of Stamford Bridge. No matter how many big names come and go at Chelsea, “Ossie” is still considered to be the club’s greatest icon. He epitomised an era and was the talisman for a period in which the club’s first FA Cup was won, followed by the European Cup-Winners’ Cup.

When Osgood left in 1974, the heart of Chelsea was ripped out and a wonderful, ultimately underachieving team continued to fall apart. Osgood’s premature death in 2006 shocked many Blues fans who remembered the skill, the elegance and the chutzpah of one of their greatest heroes.

Today, his statue looks over the thousands of supporters who flock to each game and those that remember Osgood touch the feet of their hero. Osgood played 380 times for Chelsea and scored 150 goals. Selecting 20 games that reflect the contribution he made is a very difficult task.

1: December 16 1964 – Football League Cup – Chelsea 2 (Osgood 2) Workington Town 0
Less than 8,000 people saw 17 year-old Osgood make his first team debut for Chelsea against Workington in the last eight of the League Cup. His netted both goals in this replay, the first coming in the 82nd minute. Ossie had already netted around 30 goals in 1964-65 in youth and reserve team football.

2: January 22 1966 – FA Cup – Liverpool 1 (Hunt) Chelsea 2 (Osgood, Tambling)
Chelsea stunned the FA Cup holders at Anfield, coming from a goal down to win 2-1 in the third round. Hunt gave Liverpool a first minute lead, but six minutes later, Osgood headed home after Barry Bridges and George Graham had combined to send the ball into the area. Osgood played in a deep-lying centre forward role which caused Liverpool countless problems and was compared to the great David Jack by BBC TV’s commentator.

3: January 29 1966 – League – Burnley 1 (Angus) Chelsea 2 (Osgood 2)
Ahead of this game, AS Roma had suggested in the media that they would make a bid for Osgood and Blackpool’s Alan Ball. It came to nothing, but highlighted the impact Ossie was having. At Turf Moor, he scored twice, but it was the winner after 54 minutes that made headlines, a run from the halfway line that saw him beat three defenders before shooting past goalkeeper Adam Blacklaw.

4: October 5 1966 – Football League Cup – Blackpool 1 (Robson) Chelsea 1 (Houseman)
Until this game, Osgood looked destined to be capped by England before the end of the 1966-67 season. He had started the season in great form but then on a chilly night at Bloomfield Road, Emlyn Hughes tackled the 19 year-old and his right leg was broken. Ossie signalled for a stretcher, knowing that something bad had happened. “It was no-one’s fault. We were both going for the ball. He got it first and his boot was blocking the ball as I connected,” said Osgood the next day.

5: November 1 1967 – England under-23 – Wales 1 (Thomas) Chelsea 2 (Osgood, Rogers)
Osgood took time to regain his confidence after his broken leg but he finally got his first under-23 cap against Wales at Swansea. He scored, too, latching onto a John Hollins free kick and shooting left-footed into the top corner of the net, giving goalkeeper Mike Walker no chance. Don Rogers got the other goal.

6: December 21 1968 – League – Leicester City 1 (Stringfellow) Chelsea 4 (Osgood 2, Birchenall, Tambling)
In 1968-69, Dave Sexton shifted Osgood into midfield. There were some that believed the broken leg had robbed him of something, but there was no denying his skill. Wearing the unfamiliar number 4 shirt, he showed he had not lost any of his underlying talent, although this was not the Osgood everyone clamoured. His two goals at Leicester suggested he was on the way back to being at his best.

7: November 18 1969 – League – Ipswich Town 1 (Viljoen)  Chelsea 4 (Hutchinson, Osgood 2, Hollins)
Sir Alf Ramsey watched this game at his local club with Osgood one of the players he was checking out. Ossie had confessed in the press that he was desperate to play for England. He netted twice as Chelsea, who were moving into fine form after a slow start to 1969-70, tore Ipswich apart. Meanwhile, the crowd continued to chant “Ossie for England”, a movement that was gathering momentum by the week. Furthermore, Dave Sexton had stumbled across an ideal partner for Osgood in Ian Hutchinson, a short-lived but quite spectacular front-line pairing.

8: December 27 1969 – League – Crystal Palace 1 (Queen) Chelsea 5 (Osgood 4, Hutchinson)
Chelsea and Osgood were in a rich vein of form with Ossie having his most prolific spell as a goalscorer and the team now being considered title contenders. “Chelsea are now a real threat,” said Leeds United’s assistant manager. At Selhurst Park, Osgood ran riot against the Palace defence in the second half after the home team had taken a 17th minute lead. Ossie felt sorry for the Palace team: “By the time the fourth goal went in, I was feeling a bit embarrassed,” he admitted.

9: January 31 1970 – League – Chelsea 3 (Osgood 3) Sunderland 1 (Baker)
Chelsea had been put in their place three weeks earlier when Leeds won 5-2 at Stamford Bridge, although as a team they hadn’t played too badly. They had bounced back well, winning through to the fifth round of the FA Cup and they comfortably disposed of relegation-bound Sunderland. Osgood’s hat-trick helped cement his place in the England squad for the forthcoming game with Belgium. One report said Osgood has been as “swift as a cobra” as he snapped-up a chance.

10: February 25 1970 – International – Belgium 1 (Dockx) England 3 (Ball, Peters 2)
Osgood made his England debut in Brussels against a decent Belgium side that had qualified for the World Cup in Mexico. He was involved in England’s first goal, scored by Alan Ball, and Sir Alf Ramsey was delighted with his overall performance: “Osgood had a great first match for England,” he said. The media noted that Osgood showed an “impressive calm” throughout the 90 minutes.

11: April 29 1970 – FA Cup final replay – Chelsea 2 (Osgood, Webb) Leeds United 1 (Jones)
Although Peter Osgood’s 78th minute diving header from Charlie Cooke’s ball into the area is now part of Chelsea folklore, it shouldn’t be overlooked the part he paid in a very combative contest. Osgood had scored in every round up to the final but wasn’t on the scoresheet at Wembley in the 2-2 classic. At Old Trafford, a bruising battle if ever there was one, he became one of the few players to have found the back of the net in every round. In total, he scored eight goals in the competition, including a hat-trick at Loftus Road as Chelsea beat QPR 4-2 in round six.

12: March 24 1971 – ECWC – Chelsea 4 (Osgood 2, Baldwin, Houseman) Bruges 0
Osgood had a habit of getting booked in the late 60s and early 70s, often for dissent. By modern standards, this wasn’t excessive, but the FA disciplinary committee made an example of him and banned him for what amounted to 10 games. By the time he returned, Chelsea’s season had run out of steam and they were on the brink of elimination in the European Cup-Winners’ Cup after losing 2-0 in the first leg of the quarter-final to Bruges. Osgood was thrown into the second leg and scored twice in an incredible night at Stamford Bridge. It is a game that those who were present have never forgotten. The tie went to extra time and Chelsea added two goals to win 4-0 and go through to meet Manchester City in the semi-finals.

13: May 21 1971 – ECWC Final – Chelsea 2 (Dempsey, Osgood) Real Madrid 1
Osgood was nothing if not a man for the big occasion and in the two games in the Cup-Winners’ Cup final in Athens, he was the man Real Madrid feared. But Ossie had only played four games in four months and was far from full fit. The first game saw Chelsea denied in the final seconds after Osgood has given them the lead after 56 minutes, but in the replay, they went into a 2-0 lead, with Osgood adding to John Dempsey’s opener. Real pulled one back but Chelsea hung on to win the cup.

14: September 29 1971 – ECWC – Chelsea 13 (Osgood 5, Baldwin 3, Hollins, Webb, Houseman, Harris, Hudson) Jeunesse Hautcharage  0
Chelsea won the first leg of this first round tie 5-0 with Ossie scoring a hat-trick against the Luxembourg cup winners. He claimed he would break the individual scoring record over two legs, which stood at the eight netted by Jose Altafini of AC Milan. Against a team of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, Chelsea won 13-0 to beat all aggregate records in European football. Ossie  scored five times, equalling Altafini’s haul.

15: March 4 1972 – Football League Cup final – Chelsea 1 (Osgood) Stoke City 2 (Conroy, Eastham)
Chelsea had been in excellent form leading up to the League Cup final at Wembley. But a week before, they had thrown away a 2-0 lead in the FA Cup at Orient and found themselves victims of a giant-killing. In the final, they fell behind to an early goal, dominated thereafter and equalised through Osgood, who scored his only Wembley goal laying on the lush turf. Stoke won 2-1 but Chelsea were left kicking themselves that they did not win their third trophy in a row. It was arguably the beginning of the end of the club’s most charismatic team.

16: October 9 1972 – Football League Cup – Chelsea 3 (Kember, Webb, Osgood) Derby County 2 (Hinton, McGovern)
In front of Sir Alf Ramsey again, Osgood scored a brilliant volleyed goal to clinch victory in what was a riveting cup tie. There had been calls for Ossie to be included in the England squad once more but when he scored, he ran to the stand and blew kisses in the direction of Ramsey. It is doubtful whether this impressed the reserved England manager. In 1972-73, Osgood played some of his best football for Chelsea, but it would be his last full season for the club.

17: November 10 1973 – League – Chelsea 3 (Baldwin, Osgood 2) Everton 1 (Kenyon)
Again, in 1973-74, the media pressured Sir Alf Ramsey to call on Osgood for the England squad. On November 10, he scored twice to secure his 100th and 101st goals for Chelsea and his performance in the autumn of 1973 certainly suggested that the mature Ossie was worth another stab at an England cap. At the end of the game, he received a personal ovation from the Stamford Bridge crowd.

18: November 14 1973 – International – England 0 Italy 1 (Capello)
Just a month after England were knockout of the World Cup by Poland, England recalled Peter Osgood to lead the line against Italy. It proved to be his last appearance for his country. It was also Bobby Moore’s last cap for England. Italy’s coach, Franco Valcareggi, was quite critical of England, claiming that the only player with any flair was Peter Osgood.

19: May 1 1976 – FA Cup final – Southampton 1 (Stokes) Manchester United 0
In 1974, after a dispute with Chelsea manager Dave Sexton, Ossie was transferred to Southampton for £ 275,000. It was a surprise destination as a number of bigger clubs had shown an interest in him. He always claimed that he was sold on the move because of Lawrie McMenemy and he also linked up well with Mick Channon. However, they were relegated that season and spent four years in the second division. In 1976, the Saints were surprise FA Cup winners and Ossie picked up his second cup winners’ medal.

20: December 18 1978 – Middlesbrough 7 (Burns 4, Proctor, Armstong, Cochrane) Chelsea 2 (Osgood, Bumstead)
With Chelsea struggling for their first division lives, they re-signed Osgood after he had endured an injury-stricken period in the US. While the crowd were overjoyed at their hero’s return, he was not the same player and he was unable to perform a miracle. In his first game, he headed Chelsea in front at Middlesbrough, but by the final whistle, the extent of the club’s problems was made very clear to Osgood as the Blues crashed 7-2 He left the club in September 1979 as they acclimatised to the first of five second division campaigns.

Chelsea’s Osgood and Hutchinson – short-lived but sensational

CHELSEA fans will never forget Peter Osgood and Ian Hutchinson, they were, after all, two of the key figures in the club’s unforgettable 1969-70 FA Cup triumph.

These two players helped define an era, a swaggering Chelsea team that was fashionable, exciting, hard as nails at times and confident to the point of arrogance. But it is not always appreciated that their time together – their partnership – was very limited and was disrupted by injuries, suspensions, internal strife and, ultimately, by the break-up of Chelsea’s early-1970s team.

In short, the symbiotic relationship between the players was confined to that one season, 1969-70, a campaign that saw them score 53 goals between them. They would never go remotely near that total again as a partnership, largely because “Hutch” sadly, endured years of sidelining injuries.

Manchester United’s Nobby Stiles is helpless as Ian Hutchinson scores with a diving “header”. Photo: PA

Osgood was an established Chelsea player when Hutchinson arrived at the club from Cambridge United in July 1968. But “Ossie” was struggling to regain his “chutzpah” after the broken leg sustained in October 1966 against Blackpool in the Football League Cup. He was in excellent form at the start of 1966-67, but when he returned from his injury, he was heavier and seemed to lack something. In 1968-69, Chelsea manager Dave Sexton experimented by playing Osgood in midfield and although he still managed to score 13 goals, there was a sense that the club’s star man was not the same player. “Osgood was good, now he’s no good,” was the song often heard from opposition fans.

Hutchinson, who arrived at Stamford Bridge as a raw, gangling youngster, was blooded by Sexton in October 1968 in a Football League Cup tie at Derby. Chelsea were well beaten that night by Brian Clough’s emerging team and Hutchinson got little chance to shine. As the 1968-69 season began its home run, Hutchinson was introduced to regular first team action, scoring his first goal at West Bromwich Albion on March 1 as Chelsea won 3-0. He scored six goals in 11 games to stake a claim to lead the forward line. At that time, it seemed likely he would partner Alan Birchenall or Tommy Baldwin rather than Osgood, who was playing in an unfamiliar number six shirt. And of course, there was Bobby Tambling to consider.

Photo: PA

When Chelsea kicked-off the 1969-70 season, Hutchinson was in the side, but Osgood was still being employed deeper, wearing the number four shirt. In fact, after Chelsea lost their first two games, Osgood was relegated to the substitute’s bench. He returned to the team and scored twice at Southampton in a 2-2 draw – but if Hutchinson, who had broken his nose against West Ham a couple of days earlier, had been fit, “Ossie” might not have started.

It was not until November 8 that the familiar Osgood and Hutchinson – shirts 9 and 10 – really lined-up, a 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday. On a foul afternoon at Hillsborough, “Hutch” scored twice and Osgood once. The partnership was launched.

A couple of games later, Chelsea won emphatically at Ipswich Town, with Hutchinson and Osgood (2) on the scoresheet in a 4-1 victory. “Osgood for England,” was the chant as Sir Alf Ramsey watched from the stand. Another away win, at Manchester United, saw Hutchinson score both goals in a 2-0 success and suddenly, people were talking about the former non-league striker as a candidate for international honours.

What was so special about the 21 year-old? He was good in the air, brave, awkward to deal with on the ground and he had a long throw-in that added an extra dimension to Chelsea’s attack. He could also look after himself, and to some extent he was the catalyst for Osgood to find his mojo again.

The pinnacle

Osgood was the main focus in terms of making the World Cup squad, but he had still to win his first England cap. When he scored four against Crystal Palace on December 27, his claim for recognition from Ramsey grew.

As Chelsea continued their impressive form, Osgood won his first cap, on February 25, 1970 against Belgium in Brussels, just four days after scoring a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers to send Chelsea into the last four of the FA Cup.

There had been an air of destiny about Chelsea’s FA Cup run and both Osgood and Hutchinson were key figures as the Blues scored 21 goals on the way to Wembley.

Hutchinson scored Chelsea’s 86th minute equaliser in the first meeting with Leeds, boldly flinging himself at a free-kick and heading past Gary Sprake. In the replay, he was deeply involved in the combat as both teams fought aggressively for control.

Osgood, who had scored in every previous round of the competition, headed Chelsea level at Old Trafford and then in extra time, a “Hutchinson hurl” created the winning goal for David Webb. It is fair to say that without the goals of Osgood and Hutchinson (13 in total), Chelsea would not have won the FA Cup in 1970.

The 1970-71 season started slowly for “Ossie”, possibly a hangover from Mexico 1970. Chelsea had added Keith Weller to an already decent squad and the new man got off to a respectable start at Stamford Bridge. Hutchinson gave Chelsea an opening day win against Derby with two headed goals and also netted the club’s first in the European Cup-Winners’ Cup. He was also capped at England under-23 level. But problems were around the corner. Hutchinson injured his knee at Southampton in February in a 0-0 draw and in effect, this signalled the end of his career. It was certainly the end of his 1970-71 season.

To make matters worse, Osgood was serving a long suspension that forced him to miss 10 games. He returned for the second leg of the Cup-Winners’ Cup quarter-final, a legendary 4-0 win, but there was no Hutchinson to play alongside. Chelsea won the competition in Greece, beating Real Madrid and there were hopes that Hutchinson would be fit for the following campaign.

Decline

Osgood had another lack lustre start to 1971-72 and found himself on the transfer list after the first two games, both of which were lost. On the night Chelsea lost their opening home game, against Manchester United, Hutchinson suffered a major blow to his recovery when he broke his shin in two places in a reserve game at Swindon.

Osgood scored prolifically in 1971-72 and there was never any chance he was going to leave the club at this point. Chelsea were close to adding a third successive trophy but lost to Stoke in the Football League Cup final. It was not until December 1972 that “Hutch” returned to action, scoring twice in his comeback match against Norwich City. He had been out for 21 months.

Photo: PA

But in that period, Chelsea had declined and relationships within the camp were strained. In 1973-74, it all came to a head, resulting in the infamous “Osgood and Hudson affair”. By the end of the season, Chelsea had lost their star assets and the team looked a shadow of its former self. A lot depended on players like Hutchinson, but the injuries had taken their toll.

With Chelsea’s relegation and emphasis on youth, “Hutch” became one of the more experienced players in the camp for 1975-76, but on January 31, 1976, he played his last competitive game for the club. It was against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge and “Hutch” had a goal ruled out with five minutes remaining. Chelsea lost 2-1 and within days, they had lost their brave, determined forward, who succumbed to a lengthy injury list. Less than six years after winning the FA Cup, Chelsea were immersed in second division mediocrity and Osgood and Hutchinson were gone.

Anyone who saw this partnership in its prime will know that Osgood and Hutchinson were a formidable force and if they had stayed together longer, Chelsea may have been more successful in the early 1970s. But their time was all too brief – Hutchinson died in 2002 aged 54 and Osgood passed away in 2006 at the age of 59. They really were brothers in arms.