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Codger

One Year On: The Same, But A Little Different

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Codger   

A whole year has passed since Peter Osgood died. Time flies doesn’t it?

I guess I’m pretty lucky in that I live in an area surrounded by pubs that Peter used to frequent. Many people know me locally as a Chelsea fan - we’re not exactly numerous about these parts that’s for sure - and often take the time to relay the occasional anecdote about the last time they saw him. Maybe I’ll write about that one day, but I have to say I’m pretty selfish about this stuff. It’s really hard to explain, but the man was my idol and even though I lived round the corner from him, and he was an easily approachable man, I never sought him out the way some might expect. Nice that people remember him when they talk to me as a Chelsea fan though, I have to say.

One such occasion was just this week. I was playing darts for my local boozer and we were playing at a pub very close to where Peter lived and used to spend a bit of time with his family. I got chatting with Dave, the landlord, and asked him if he had anything planned by way of remembrance this weekend and he told me that Lynn, Peter’s wife, and the rest of the family had already been in and had a quiet dinner with a few friends. Nice and quiet, that pretty much sums up where I live here in the heart of Hampshire.

I carried on chatting away with Dave for a while, and after a few more anecdotes and general chit-chat he told me to hang on as he had something I might like. He came back a few minutes later clutching a signed shirt. For me. A shirt signed by none other than my childhood hero, Peter Osgood. There are a few other names on the shirt too of course, and I’ve yet to decipher who they all are, but I couldn’t care less. I’ve got my own signed shirt.

Thing is though, it doesn’t seem right. Everyone I talk to around here tells me what a generous man Peter was; how he always had time for a chat. How he always had shirts in the boot of his car and happily handed them out to people. So, with that in mind it doesn’t really seem right I should keep it. I mentioned this to Dave at the time and he said it was down to me, that I should keep it for the memories or perhaps auction it off for a favourite charity. I’ll probably go for the latter at some point, but for now it’s mine.

Last time I saw Peter was in a local paper shop quite early one morning, just a few days before he died in fact. We didn’t say hello or anything, there was just that usual nod of recognition from one local to another that comes from living in a village.

The day of the funeral, I was torn. I knew where it was, and I knew where there would be stacks of Chelsea legends in various pubs around the place, a handful of whom were in my local pub as it happens. I knew where they were all staying, too. But some things are best left alone. I did go down and pay my respects long after everyone had gone though, just by way of a thank you really.

This weekend we play Portsmouth away in the Premiership. It’s the closest game to the anniversary of Peter’s death, so I’m hoping there will plenty of renditions of Born is the King, hopefully a few of which will be started by the Chelsea away faithful in one of the many pubs they’ll descend on for the match. If you’re going, I hope you’ll join me in raising a glass to the man, perhaps even join me in a quick rendition. Even if you’re not going, just take a moment to remember a true Chelsea legend, the like of which we’ll never see again in English football.

I’ll be in the Milton Road end on Saturday, but I won’t be wearing my prized shirt. Some things are best kept private, even if just for a little while.

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That's a fantastic piece Grahame - although I didn't know Ossie, or really ever see him in his prime because I was just too young, I can imagine what he means to you because in so many ways he meant the same to me, as I'm sure he still does to thousands of Chelsea fans. I was told about Ossie and the 1970's team when I was a youngster and can remember Ossie playing in the Southampton team that beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final in 1976, I was eight then. I often wish I'd been born earlier so that I could have seen Ossie playing for Chelsea during the mid 60's and especially seen the 1970 team win the FA Cup at Old Trafford and had been in Athens the year later.

I remember this time last year when you mentioned to me that you thought that Ossie had passed away, I was shocked and couldn't believe it. I still often watch the goal that Ossie scored against Leeds in 1970 thinking to myself how beautiful a header it was and how much it meant to the thousands of Chelsea fans behind the goal that evening. Ossie scored some real crackers for Chelsea; I can see the goals in my head as I type this. However, he passed away far too young which was unfair on the man himself, as well as his family and friends.

I personally think that you should treasure the shirt that Dave gave you, although someone else gave you the shirt it is a small piece of Peter Osgood that I think you deserve, after all you didn't hassle him as I'm sure some people would have done under the same circumstances. My last memory of Ossie was seeing him a week before he died on Chelsea TV. He was talking prior to the home game against Barcelona in the Champions League, he was laughing and joking as he always did - I believe that's the best way to remember Ossie, the guy that scored goals for the club we love and a happy cheerful person that loved his drink, a good joke and was above all the King of Stamford Bridge.

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As Grahame rightly says, Time flies. Ossie's sudden and untimely death should be a reminder to us all that we should live our lives the way we see fit, and not the way other people tell us we should, much like the man himself.

RIP Ossie.

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BLUE BOB   

I see on the Offical Chelsea Website that a permanent memorial is being installed in the East Stand reception area, I was under the impression that the area just outside the hotel, where the bronze statues stood, was going to be used. Peter was a true legend and I have had the honour to see him play, I would have thought a memorial in an area for all fans to see would be far better than in an area that only a selected few have access.

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Codger   

Chelsea Football Club: Thu, 1st Mar 2007

One year after the death of Peter Osgood, his name is still sung by Chelsea fans at almost every game.

Today, 1 March, is the first anniversary of his death at the age of 59. The King of Stamford Bridge played 380 games for Chelsea and scored 150 goals, winning the FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup, and scoring in every Cup Final in which he played for us.

His ashes are laid deep below the Shed End penalty spot, and a plaque commemorating him is behind the goal in front of the stand at the Shed End.

His old captain, Ron Harris, is holding two dinners this month to raise funds in his memory and in support of a charity which his widow Lynn is launching. If you want to attend, they are at the Gatwick Hilton on Friday 3 March and Friday 23 March. Telephone 07967 055 358.

Chelsea Football Club: Thu, 1st Mar 2007
The first anniversary of the death of Peter Osgood is marked by the announcement of an everlasting memorial to the Chelsea legend at Stamford Bridge.

A life-sized bust of Peter has been commissioned and will be located in the East Stand executive club reception.

It is the area of the stadium that was most frequented by him in his later years when he worked on match days as a host. It was his territory. The stand is also the one remaining from his playing days.

Peter's widow Lynn is delighted with the tribute and in addition, will be announcing the formation of a charitable trust is his name.

The aim will be to support disabled or disadvantage children by giving them the chance to enjoy the national sport. It is a cause very dear to Peter's heart and one he worked towards before his death.

The official launching of the trust will take place at the dinner to be held tomorrow night (Friday) by Ron Harris in Peter's memory.

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It doesn't seem like a year ago cfc-net broke this terribly sad news. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the inital shock. I'd only seen him doing the half-time stuff the week before at the Liverpool game. I remember the online tributes. I remember people wandering up to Stamford Bridge to pay their respects. I remember all the tributes in the papers and on the TV. I remember the memorial game in the sunshine against Spurs and to give their fans their due they behaved. I remember the service at Stamford Bridge on a cold rainy day and seeing a few grown men cry that day.

I think you should keep the shirt Grahame - at least you know it's gone to a life-long Peter Osgood and Chelsea fan.

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I can only imagine what fans from that era must have felt. I'm 26 but was lucky enough to be brought up on my dads stories of the past, and treasured some of his old reads such as 'Ossie The Wizard'. I felt the magic even though at the time I wasnt really aware of how significant he was.

In coming years I would get to know more of the man and the legend, even being lucky enough to speak with him behind the Matthew Harding stand. My friend was new to football at the time but he tells me he became a Chelsea fan the day I excitedly ran off stories about Ossie and how joyful I was to meet him.

Thanks for the good times, and here's to the future.

Ossie The King Of Stamford Bridge.

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A year already eh? That's unbelievable, time does bloomin' fly alright. Remember as if it were just last week, it seems not long ago at all. I hope I'll hear his name being sung nice & loud at Fratton Park on saturday, that would be a nice tribute. Keep the shirt Grahame, it's very kind of you to make that gesture, but they'd have to pry it from my cold dead fingers if I was fortunate enough to be in possession of one. ;-)

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