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Peter Houseman

Personal information
Full namePeter Houseman
Playing positionWinger

     Home | Football | Peter Houseman

Peter Houseman (24 December 1945 20 March 1977) was an English footballer.

Born in Battersea, Houseman signed professional terms with Chelsea in 1963, having played for the Chelsea Juniors. He made his debut for the club in the 1963-64 season in a 3-2 win over Sheffield United but made only sporadic appearances in his early years at Chelsea, with manager Tommy Docherty unconvinced by him. A section of the Chelsea crowd were also unconvinced by Houseman's performances, and he was often singled out for abuse throughout his time there. He featured in no more than twelve games per season in his first three years with Chelsea and missed out on the club's FA Cup final loss to Tottenham Hotspur in 1967.

However, an injury to John Boyle helped Houseman gradually establish himself as a regular in the side on the left wing, often acting as the team's "water-carrier" and providing service for the likes of Ian Hutchinson and Peter Osgood. He didn't miss a match during the 1969-70 season. His most significant contribution to Chelsea came in their FA Cup success in 1970, with Houseman scoring a total of 6 goals in that season's competition. His first 2 goals came when Chelsea faced Burnley in the fourth round; after a draw a Stamford Bridge, the side travelled to Burnley's home ground, Turf Moor, for the replay and, with eighteen minutes left, were trailing 1-0. Houseman picked up the ball in his own half and dribbled through the Burnley midfield, riding several challenges. He reached the opposition penalty area and smashed a shot into the top corner to equalise. In extra time, Houseman provided the cross for Tommy Baldwin to put Chelsea ahead, and then completed the comeback by scoring the third.

He scored again in the 4-1 away win at Crystal Palace in the fifth round, and then in the semi-final against Watford, with the Second Division side holding Chelsea at 1-1, Houseman again played a key part, crossing for Osgood to give Chelsea a 2-1 lead and then adding two more himself in an eventual 5-1 win. Chelsea faced Leeds United in the final, and it was Houseman who scored Chelsea's first equaliser just before half time, his low shot from 25 yards benefiting from the poor pitch to elude Leeds goalkeeper Gary Sprake, though he spent much of the game trying to cover the team's over-stretched defence. The match ended 2-2 and Chelsea won the replay at Old Trafford to take the cup.

Chelsea won the Cup Winners' Cup a year later, with Houseman an ever-present, helping the side overturn a 0-2 quarter-final deficit to beat Bruges 4-2 on aggregate with the first goal and then playing in both finals against Real Madrid in Athens, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in the replay. Chelsea reached the League Cup final in 1972, though Houseman was denied a hat-trick of cup-winners medals as they unexpectedly lost to Stoke City at Wembley. The club declined as a force thereafter, but he remained with Chelsea until their relegation in 1975.

He left the club in May 1975 to join Oxford United after playing almost 350 games for the Londoners, and scoring 39 goals. His time with Oxford was less successful, with the club being relegated from the Second Division in 1975-76. He made 72 appearances for the club and scored twice.

He was killed along with his wife and two friends in a car crash on the A40 near Oxford in March 1977 whilst driving home from a fund-raising event. A testimonial match between the 1970 and 1977 Chelsea teams was arranged to raise money for their orphans, with a crowd of almost 17,000 in attendance.

He was a hero in the village of Oakley in Hampshire, where he set up and coached a youth football team. There is now a youth league named after him in the area.

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