Among Windsor’s most famous footballing products are a 19th-century trailblazer, a Stateside professional and one of Berkshire’s few England internationals.
Synonymous with the flamboyant Chelsea side of the late 1960s and 70s, Peter Osgood is Windsor’s most famed footballing son and his stamp on the area remains today.
Growing up in Dedworth, once a rural village but now more united with Windsor, Osgood’s autobiography features a fond look back at the area that first introduced him to the game.Embed from Getty Images
A young Ossie first fell in love with football at his primary school, Clewer Green, and soon represented Windsor Schoolboys while honing his skills with friends on a grassy patch on Kentons Lane.
As Osgood approached his later teens, he emerged as a prolific talent in the Windsor area. A 54-goal season for local Saturday side Spital Old Boys was soon followed by a trial at Chelsea, all while the youngster was still featuring for Windsor Corinthians on Sundays and working as an apprentice bricklayer in the week.
While Osgood’s uncle had played for Windsor & Eton years before, the Royalists were left to rue a missed opportunity when Peter signed with Chelsea in 1964.
Of course, a glittering decade at Stamford Bridge soon followed, featuring domestic and European silverware and over 100 goals – including a run of scoring in every round of the 1969/70 FA Cup, culminating in a late equaliser in the Blues’ famous replayed final against Leeds United.
Despite his fame with Chelsea and later Southampton, Osgood’s heart was never far from his hometown. He bought his first house on Testwood Road in Windsor following his Chelsea move and later ran an Old Windsor pub, the Union Inn, with former strike partner Ian Hutchinson in the early 1980s.
That same pub where Osgood could once be seen manning the bar (while Hutchinson took care of the catering side) remains today, while Windsor’s Osgood Park is named in his memory.
Charles, Arthur and Ernest Bambridge
For all of Peter Osgood’s club achievements, his international career was brief and ended without a goal – unlike that of Windsor’s far earlier England representative, fleet-footed 1880s winger Charles Bambridge.
The footballing journey of the man nicknamed “Charlie Bam”, along with his two brothers, Arthur and Ernest, offers a look into the ever-changing footballing landscape of the time.
The trio originally played for St Mark’s School in Windsor, gracing the grounds which have since become Goslar Way on the A308 dual carriageway. Charles and Ernest then appeared for Windsor Home Park, a short-lived historic club which would eventually become a precursor to Windsor & Eton FC.
While all three of the Windsor-born brothers played for England, it was Charles who grabbed the 19th-century headlines the most with his international form. His 1879 debut saw him claim the winner in his country’s first win over Scotland in 6 years, and he later held the position of England’s top scorer for 11 years..
Having eventually captained his national team on two occasions, the winger also gained attention for his proposals to form a league in southern England to rival the Football League, which at the time was contested by 12 teams from the Midlands or further north.
While the Bambridge brothers lived through an era when few footballers could be full-time earners, another of Windsor’s products fulfilled a dream of playing professionally when few would have believed it possible.
Born in Hong Kong, Rebecca Nolin grew up and attended school in Windsor before working at the well-known Daniel department store in the town centre.
In fact, the store can perhaps lay claim to nurturing as much footballing talent as any other part of Windsor, with Aston Villa defender Matty Cash also enjoying a spell as a toy salesman there in his formative years.
On the pitch, however, Nolin was already a local talent in her youth, playing for Slough Town, Caversham and Chelsea at youth level before heading stateside to join the Kennesaw Owls, a Georgia-based university team.
A few years down the line, the defender would successfully trial for the Atlanta Beat, granting her a professional contract at the top level of American football in 2010 – barely a couple of years before the formation of the NWSL, and the huge commercial growth for women’s football in the United States that followed.
With Lionesses star Eniola Aluko among Nolin’s teammates at the time, the 27-year-old was living a “dream come true” according to her mother quoted in the Slough Observer. Despite her Windsor roots, coaching opportunities have now kept Rebecca across the pond for over a decade since her retirement.
Sam HutchinsonEmbed from Getty Images
If injuries had been kinder to Sam Hutchinson, Windsor residents may have been able to boast of producing multiple Chelsea legends rather than Osgood alone.
Comparisons with John Terry were drawn when the 17-year-old first set foot on the Stamford Bridge pitch but in a gutting turn, an early retirement followed just 3 years later due to a recurring knee injury.
However, Hutchinson bounced back to come out of retirement in 2011, since enjoying a lengthy Championship career further north with Sheffield Wednesday and a brief excursion to Cypriot side Pafos FC.
While the versatile defender has featured far from his hometown for much of his career, July saw a welcome return to the Berkshire area for a now 32-year-old Hutchinson. Spelling an end to 170-mile journeys to see family who had remained closer to Windsor, the man born close to the royal residence finally debuted for the Royals in September.