Osgood, Stamford Bridge hero, dies at 59

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The Independent Football

Chelsea could consider a permanent tribute to Peter Osgood, following the sudden death of the striker nicknamed "the King of Stamford Bridge" . Osgood died yesterday after suffering a heart attack while attending a family funeral in Slough. He was 59.

Famous for his diving header which helped Chelsea to secure the 1970 FA Cup against Leeds, Osgood was part of the side which lifted the European Cup-Winners' Cup a year later. Osgood then moved to Southampton, where he was a member of the Second Division team which upset Manchester in the 1976 FA Cup final.

Osgood's team-mate, the former Chelsea defender Ron Harris, said: " People will always say the best player at Chelsea has been Gianfranco Zola but I would say Peter was the greatest. He was such a strong player, a big fellow who scored goals and scared defenders."

Another Chelsea team-mate, Ray Wilkins, said: "He was an aggressive character in his football and in his manner, but a very likeable person. In the modern-day game he had the attributes required to be a fantastic footballer. His technical ability was second to none on quagmire pitches ­ on today's bowling greens he would have been exceptional."

Despite his ability, Osgood made only four appearances for England, such was the competition for places during his era. But he was a member of the 1970 World Cup squad at the end of a season in which he was the First Division's top scorer, with 31 goals, and scored in every round of the FA Cup.

Chelsea beat Leeds in the 1970 FA Cup final. As well as winning the FA Cup and Cup-Winners' Cup, he also helped the Blues to reach the 1972 League Cup final, which they lost 2-1 to Stoke.

Sir Bobby Charlton said: "You can't mention Chelsea without thinking about Peter Osgood. He had star quality and was popular wherever he went."

Osgood was Southampton's record signing at £275,000 when he joined from Chelsea in March 1974, and went on to score 36 goals in 157 matches.

A team-mate of Osgood's at Southampton, Mick Channon, said: "Probably the only one who could touch him was George Best ­ he was that good."

He led the attack as Saints stunned United in the 1976 final, and famously took the trophy home and slept with it after the victory banquet.

Frank McLintock, the former Arsenal captain, said: "He was a very brave player ­ my toughest opponent in every shape and form. He and I fought like cat and dog on the pitch but we ended up being best of friends."

Malcolm Macdonald, who often played against Osgood, said: "If you named a player who could have played today and still been a legend, it is Peter ­ a lovely guy, a great player."

Osgood remembered: 'He and I fought like cat and dog on the pitch, but ended up being best of friends'

Ron Harris CHELSEA TEAM-MATE

"People always say the best player at Chelsea has been Gianfranco Zola but I would say Peter was the greatest. He was such a strong player. He is a legend at Stamford Bridge."

Tommy Docherty MANAGER AT CHELSEA

"It's a very sad day for people like myself who loved him to bits. The only thing was, his handful of caps for England was not enough for a player of his talent and ability."

Frank McLintock OPPONENT

"He was a very brave player - my toughest opponent in every shape and form. He and I fought like cat and dog on the pitch but we ended up being best of friends."

John Hollins CHELSEA TEAM-MATE

"It's such a waste. He was a fighter. When he finished football - a lot feel sorry for themselves - he got on with it. He was a big character. He had a good word for everybody."

Malcolm Macdonald OPPONENT

"If you could name one player from the older generation who could have played today and still be a legend, then it was Peter - a lovely guy and a great player."

Sir Bobby Charlton OPPONENT

"You can't mention Chelsea without thinking about Peter Osgood. He had star quality and was a popular player wherever he went."

Mick Channon SOUTHAMPTON TEAM-MATE

"I can't believe it. This is desperately sad news. He was out on his own for a few years. Probably the only one who could touch him was George Best - he was that good."

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