Peter Osgood, the ‘King of the Bridge’, is a hero at Stamford Bridge. The Duke was lucky enough to see Peter Osgood on a number of occasions, with the formal visit on Monday 8th August, 2003, being the most memorable. Nick’s personal account of his own ‘worshiping’ of the King can be read below.
Nick, a life-long Chelsea fan, had Ossie as his hero from a young age. Watching Chelsea at the Bridge in his early years gave him memories of the King. Nick tells his story of himself and the great Peter Osgood here: Nick and Peter Osgood
“The King and I” by Nick Tilt, Duke of Edinburgh
The first time I meet Peter was in 1969, when I was just 9 years old. We lived in Windsor in a block of flats where Ossie’s mum and dad lived. I used to wait all day on the balcony for him to vist his parents. I would watch him pull up in his Ford Capri and then run outside to say ‘hi’ to the King!
I particularly remember after the 1970 cup final and replay – I was brave enough to ask him for my very first Peter Osgood autograph. I was the proudest kid on the block and I was always ‘Ossie’ when we played footy.
My next life changing experience came at the Bridge. My uncle Joe, a Leeds fan, took me to my first match. It was in January 1971 – Chelsea v Leeds. I will never forget going up those Shed steps and seeing the bridge for the first time – it took my breath away. We won 3-1, with Ossie netting one & Hutch got two. The Shed was the most marvellous experience of my life and I was hooked for ever. I can still here the Ossie song from that day. The Shed sang over and over! (“Born is the king of Stamford Bridge…”).
Later that year we won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and I was allowed to stay up and watch the final (replay), which was exciting enough, but when I went to bed I could hear celebrations in the flat above. It was Ossie’s parents – celebrating what seemed like all night. I was literally shaking with excitement in my bed.
Then my world fell apart. My Mum died of the big C. I was still young and it was so difficult to understand. As our situation had now changed we had to move from the flats – and away from Ossie’s parents upstairs. But I would always go back round there on my bike just in case the King was there.
When I next meet Peter in person it was years later. I was the publican at the Stag and Hounds and he popped in for a drink! A very pleasant surprise! We got chatting and I reminded him of my childhood in Windsor in the same flats as his parents. In those days at the Stag & Hounds I always had a picture of the 1970 team on the pub wall, so he would come in and we would talk about that team over a drink. Still my hero, I was so proud.
Moving on some more, and after we had a cup final to forget in 1994, we were there again in 1997. I was a nervous wreck on the morning of this latest cup final against Middlesbrough. We had stayed over night at the Wembley Hilton, soaking up some early atmosphere. Keen for an early start, after breakfast on match day we went to the bar – and in the bar was the King himself! Ossie gave me a big smile, we shook hands, and I told him I was literally visiting the toilet every 30 minutes due to the anticipation of the game. The butterflies in my stomach wanted to get out, I think. I’ll quote him here, verbatim; he said to me, “Don’t worry son, we are better than them so what ever they come up with we can do more to win it.” So that was enough for me! I went back to the lads and told them the King says we WILL win it! The butterflies were gone – I was convinced. Then on to the game – and Robbie Di Matteo scored after just 43 seconds and I was hysterical! Chelsea won 2-0. Ossie was spot on!
He was such a great man. He always had time for everyone. Annie knew him as well through her pubs in Windsor, and at one Ascot race meeting he asked her out for a drink! She said ‘no’ but her boyfriend (me!) would love to go! He laughed. And he loved it when Annie told him that we were at the Duke!
The Duke became one of his [many] water holes. He would bring his Uncle George here for Lunch, or just drop in to say hello. It was almost surreal sometimes – The King of the Bridge popping in to our pub for lunch and a pint!
I can honestly say I have lots of memories of Ossie in the Duke. Lots and lots of stories and opinions. I can recall that time when he fell out with Ken Bates, the Chairman and owner of Chelsea FC. He was so upset about it in case people believed what Batesy was saying. Another time he was raving about Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – a ‘real no 9’, he would call him.
He came in few times with his son, Anthony, after Ascot racing one day – and, let me tell you, those two loved taking racing and footy!
Once he came here after the Special One (Jose Mourinho) had invited him and his sons to the training complex. He was so chuffed to be back at the club again. He really, really loved it.
He knew that I had loads of pictures of him (because I pestered him all the time to sign them), so when he wrote his book he brought his wife up to the pub to see if she waned to use any of the shots to go in the his book.
Then we had the book singing at the Duke! It was on Monday 8th August 2003. And it was my proudest publican moment, ever!
The Duke was packed that evening, and I had the pleasure and honour to introduce The King Of The Bridge! I almost had tears in my eyes! Every book was singed – and completely sold out. He spoke for about 2 hours about Chelsea and England. One England story was the fact that Ossie was actually in the shop in 1970 when Bobby Moore got falsely arrested. It was a fantastic night. I honestly could not have been more proud.
The last time I saw him was just three days before he died. He had driven miles to bring me a new picture, which he had duly signed. He wanted me to have one before they went on sale on his web-site. What a guy! That picture proudly hangs on the wall in my office.
Ossie’s son Anthony was a regular at the Duke after his dad died. After Ossie passed away Anthony brought me boxes and boxes of all of Ossie’s match day programmes! There is even one from 1973, signed by George Best. Anthony wanted me to have them as he knew I would look after them. They are all packed individually in plastic bags and stored under lock & key! Treasured!
He was so special to me. Those 70/71 cup finals were a real happy time for me before I lost mum!!
Long live the king !!!
Ossie will always be ‘King of the Bridge’.
Read more facts about Peter Osgood here.