Leicester City In 100 Players: Reg Osborne
Osborne, City’s England full-back between 1923 and 1933, was born in the South African suburb of Wynburg, near Cape Town. He was one of 10 children and his family returned to England in 1909. In 1912, aged 14, and like his father and elder brother Frank before him, Reg joined the Royal Army Medical Corps.
He was in the RAMC for the next 10 years, seeing service during the First World War. In February 1921, he represented them in a match at Filbert Street in an Army Cup tie. Nine months later, he again played at Filbert Street, when he was selected to play for the England Amateur side against Ireland, winning the first of his two England amateur caps.
Leaving the Army in 1922, he briefly played for the Athenian League side Bromley, his brother Frank’s old club.
Perhaps alerted by his two performances at Filbert Street in 1921, Leicester City signed Reg, initially on amateur forms, in February 1923. The Club secured employment for him in a shoe factory until he became a professional.
He made his City debut in April 1923 against a Fulham side containing his brother Frank, who was playing as a winger.
Reg was Leicester's regular left full-back for most of the next 10 and a half seasons, although he did lose his place temporarily to Henry Hooper in the promotion season of 1925 and for part of the 1928/29 season when the Foxes were First Division runners-up.
In November 1927, Reg again followed in the footsteps of his brother Frank (who had won four England caps while playing for Tottenham Hotspur), when he played for England against Wales in a British Championship match at Turf Moor.
It was his only cap, because he was a contemporary of Sheffield Wednesday’s left full-back Ernie Blenkinsop, who went on to break the record for the most consecutive England appearances.
In 1929, he was selected, along with City teammate Arthur Chandler, for the FA tour to his homeland South Africa, but he was injured in the first game and missed the rest of the tour.
After making 249 appearances for Leicester, Reg joined Folkestone FC in November 1933. The £650 transfer fee was too much for Football League clubs West Ham United, Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic, who were interested in signing him.
By 1939 he was living and working with Frank as a blackout blinds salesman near Worcester. He died in Hounslow in 1977.
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