Another slice of bad fortune last night as l couldn’t get a bookmaker to take my bet where Wolves fluked their way past Leeds, but today l received a message that the first match today had more of a meaning than any other this season.
Southampton and Chelsea on our old mates 74th birthday without a whimper on TV was inexcusable and although there was horse racing today l think his old Southampton team mate and great buddy Mick Channon would have taken the invitation with a great memory – after all it was him and the Wizard that was Oz that led the front line at Wembley on that day they brought the F A Cup back to the south coast.
I was shocked but not surprised that the ‘suits’ could not see, comprehend the size of what the Saints brought back home that day and of course our little friend Bobby Stokes, who stole the glory when sliding it under Alex Stepney would have not gone without mention.
If missing the big lad from Windsor was not enough and we all know that it takes a birthday to hit us in the heart about the loss of someone who meant so much to do many people.
As time goes by with this pandemic forever in the forefront of our minds we look for something to either inspire a smile or lift us and knowing Oz they way former players in royal blue shirts knew him we know he’d be raging in defiance thinking of those fans from West London to the south coast not being reminded by the new world that has taken over from those that made the game of football what it once was and after watching three hours of shambolic indecent copy at both St Mary’s and Turf Moor of those days it made it all the more not sad, as he wouldn’t want it that way, but meaningless!
I know Johnny Boyle, Marvin Hinton, Johnny Dempsey, Tommy Baldwin would join me in drinking to him, while he, Nobby Houseman, Keith Weller, Ian Hutchinson and Catty might just be doing their own thing – not forgetting Eddie and Charlie, Stateside.
Make no mistake he was nowhere near the ‘God’ at the old Dell as he was the old Bridge but he proved that he still had that fantastic presence by changing blue for red and picking up winning F A Cup medals against all the odds.
At Chelsea we would not have won either the F A Cup or European Cup Winners Cup with a team where his name was not on the team-sheet.
He was although knowingly the King of Stamford Bridge the most confident and brash player you’d ever cross and on days like this it reminds me that had he followed me to where he said he was going it might have been, or almost definitely, the Stoke City fans who would be celebrating his birthday today.
He would have been the difference from dropping away in those final few matches and carrying off the championship in 1975/76 in the Potteries.
I usually have a few drinks today, a Saturday afternoon, but had it not had been Lockdown l am pretty certain ‘we Chelsea locals’ would have celebrated Peter Osgood Day even though it took this match that had so many memories of those old enough thinking about the best centre-forward l ever been on the field with.
I’m also certain that even though his partner-in-crime Channon always insisted that the game was his “Hobby” I think today he might have looked at it in a very different way and football would have taken over from his beloved thoroughbred racing if only for 90 minutes.