March 2006 – 10 years ago

The King is Dead

1 March 2006: Peter Osgood, the King of Stamford Bridge dies while attending a funeral

March 2006 - Peter Osgood
A statue of Peter Osgood was unveiled outside the West End Stand at Stamford Bridge in October 2010. Adapted from the original by Ungry Young Man (under CC BY 2.0)

Peter Osgood is best known for his football playing days at Chelsea FC where he was know as the King of Stamford Bridge.

He made his first team debut at the age of 17 in a League Cup match against Workington. Chelsea won 2-0; Osgood scored both goals. This was not too surprising for those in the know as prior to this game he was playing for the reserves where he scored 30 times in 20 matches.

A broken leg in October 1966 kept Osgood out of the FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur the following year. It took three years for another opportunity and Peter Osgood was not going to be held back.

On that difficult muddy day in April 1970 and after extra time the scores were tied at 2-2. In the replay two and a half weeks later Chelsea defeated Leeds 2-1 with Osgood and David Webb scoring.

In 1975 after a falling out with Chelsea’s manger, Dave Sexton, he transferred to Southampton for a club record fee of £275,000. It was with the Saints he had another opportunity to play in the FA Cup Final.

Southampton was in the Second Division at the time but they won their way to a Wembley final against First Division heavy favourites, Manchester United, who finished the season third. The Saints won 1-0 and the scorer was Peter Osgood.

Osgood returned to Chelsea in December 1978, but retired a year later.

On 1 March 2006, the King of Stamford Bridge suffered a heart attack while, ironically, attending his uncle’s funeral.  He was rushed to the hospital, but unfortunately the doctors were unable to save him. He was 59. During the first home game after his death, Chelsea fans chanted tributes to him to the tune of “The First Noel”.

Seven months later, on 1 October 2006 with 2,500 Chelsea fans in attendance, Peter Osgood’s ashes was buried under the penalty spot at Stamford Bridge’s Shed End. It wasn’t until Boxing Day 2007 was a penalty scored from that spot again.

In fact, there were two penalties from that spot that day. Andriy Shevchenko scored the first one for Chelsea before Aston Villa’s Gareth Barry scored the next in the 90th minute for Aston Villa. The game remarkably ended 4-4.

2 March 2006: The Artful Dodger dies of cancer

March 2006 - Jack WIld
Publicity photo of television actors, Billie Hayes (left) and Jack Wild (right) promoting the NBC children’s series, H.R. Pufnstuf, 1969.

Jack Wild was perhaps best known for his role as the Artful Dodger in the 1968 film, “Oliver!” where he was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category. Or perhaps those of us growing up in the 60’s and 70’s remember him as Jimmy along with his magic flute, Freddy and of course, WItchiepoo in H.R. Puffinstuff.

In 1971 he stared in S.W.A.L.K. (Melody) which featured music from the Bee Gees. Although the movie did not go through the roof, it boasted one of the biggest soundtracks of the time which included In the Morning, Melody Fair, Spicks and Specks, To Love Somebody and First of May.

Jack Wild was discovered while playing football with team mate Phil Collins by Collins’s mother, June. While Phil’s career eventually turned to music, it looked like Jack was going to go places on screen. Unfortunately by 1973 he was already an alcoholic and his career stalled. He was unable to live up to his Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for Most Promising Newcomer.

His battle with alcohol was to last until 1989 during which time his childhood-sweetheart and later, wife, Gaynor Jones, left him. Jones was a backup singer for Suzy Quatro and Kim Wilde. During this time he also suffered three cardiac arrests and ended up broke.

After quitting the drink, Wild worked in a few small productions and appeared in a few small roles including the role of Much the miller’s son in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He met Claire Harding whom he lived with for ten years before marrying in 2005.

In 2000, Jack Wild was diagnosed with mouth cancer which he blamed on his smoking and drinking. He warned other young actors to be weary of sudden success and not to make the mistakes he made. In fact he wrote an open letter emphasising this to Daniel Radcliffe when Radcliffe picked up the role of Harry Potter.

Wild’s cancer was treated with chemotherapy and in 2004, surgery, during which his vocal chords and part of his tongue was removed. He married his girlfriend of ten years, actress Claire Harding in 2005. Six month’s later, around midnight of 1st March 2006, Jack Wild died in his sleep. He was 53.

March 2006: Movies, Music, Books & TV

March 2006 - V Mask17 March 2006: The box office smash, “V for Vendetta” with Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman opened. The movie grossed more than $25 million in its opening weekend. The Guy Fawkes mask of the movie is now synonymous with protest against tyranny. In fact the hacktivist group, Anonymous, adopted the mask to represent their presence.

James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” was the big hit for March 2006. It was a three time nominee at the Grammys the following year.

On the top of the Best Sellers lists in March 2006 was “The Fifth Horseman” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. It is the fifth book in the “Women’s Murder Club” series.

On TV, March 2006 also saw the debut of “Hannah Montana” with Miley Cyrus. The series ran for four seasons plus “Hannah Montana: The Movie”.

Also premiering on the small screen in March 2006 was the reality competition series, “Top Chef”. The popular program has run thirteen seasons to date.

March 2006: Other events

March 2006 - Pioneer 104 March 2006 saw the last attempt by NASA to contact the space probe, Pioneer 10. It was part of the “Planetary Grand Tour” mission, a mission to explore the solar system’s outer planets.

Pioneer 10 was launched in March 1972. It was the first space craft to travel through the asteroid belt and later photograph Jupiter getting as close as 132,252 kilometres. It went on to cross the orbits of Saturn, Uranus and in 1983, Neptune.

The last communication with Pioneer 10 was in January 2003. Subsequent attempts, the last on 4 March 2006, to contact the probe was unsuccessful. NASA concluded the power required to power the transmitters had fallen too low and all further attempts ceased.

NASA predicts Pioneer 10, which is still moving outward, is now about 16 billion kilometres from Earth and moving away at more than 350 million kilometres a year.

15 March 2006 The United Nation Human Rights Council was established to replace the failing UN Commission on Human Rights which included members with poor human rights records. 10 years down the track many believe it to is failing citing mainly Saudi Arabia’s seat among the 47-member council. Apart from religious freedom and women’s rights, Saudi Arabia is also being judged on their capital punishment laws.

There is also criticism of other members regarding capital punishment including the USA. It was reported by Amnesty International at least 139 people have been executed by member nations in 2014. Numbers from China are not reported by Amnesty International as they believe it to be unreliable.

March 2006 also brought us the XVIII Commonwealth Games which was held in Melbourne. The Opening and Closing ceremonies were on the 15th and 26th respectively. Australia topped the medal table with 222 – 84 gold, 69 silver and 69 bronze. Second was England with 110 medals.

On 20 March 2006 while the Commonwealth Games was happening in Victoria, Category 4 Cyclone Larry made landfall near Innisfail in Northern Queensland bringing with it up to 240 kph winds. It was the most powerful cyclone to hit Queensland in over a century. Fortunately there were no human casualties but there was approximately $1.5 billion in damage. Almost 90% of Queensland’s banana crop was destroyed which resulted in price increases of nearly 500% across the nation.

My grandfather has the heart of a lion and a lifetime ban from the local zoo.”