Every fan of every single club have their legends. There is always that select number of players that fans look back on as a class above, for whatever reason. Sometimes it is because of what they have won for the club. At other times it is because of the way they played.
Playing with a real pride in the shirt, especially when you are not native to the country, nevermind local area, will certainly elevate you to that status. In the 1980’s, and 1990’s especially, the term legend for Manchester City had to be used sparingly.
Colin Bell, Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee et al had all long since hung up their boots and City were fluctuating from Division to Division. Prior to Georgi Kinkladze, Paul Lake and David White were probably the last of that kind, although Lake never really reached his potential, thanks to injury.
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On this day, in 1994, and with City at the wrong end of the Premier League table, we gave an East German born striker named Uwe Rosler a trial. Twenty five goals in the opening thirty-one games of the newly formed Premiership, the fractures within the club start to viably show.
Even later, with the incoming Chairman Francis Lee, things didn’t improve that much. One of the few shining lights was the Kinkladze runs and the Uwe Rosler goals. Scoring twice in the trial match, we then gave him his debut against QPR only a few days later.
By the end of the season, Rosler had scored five goals from twelve matches and was only one goal behind our top scorer for that season. For the following three seasons he was City’s top scorer, providing excitement where there was very little around.
Staying with us, even through our first relegation he decided to leave as we dropped into the third tier. Moving back to Germany, he joined Kaiserslautern. That season, Rosler was playing Champions League football, while City were struggling in the third tier. Playing in the same group as Benfica and PSV, while we lined up against Blackpool and Preston!
He scored three goals against Helsinki in their final group game, before being eliminated by runners up, Bayern Munich. On the same night as Roslers new side were playing in an elite competition, City played in the EFL trophy (currently known as the Checkatrade).
The association with Rosler and Manchester City continues to today though. Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2003 he recalls watching City from his hospital bed and hearing the fans, who had heard of the news, chanting his name.
Rosler has two children, named Colin and Tony (after Bell and Book), and got a warm reception when his Wigan side came to Manchester in the cup. With ambitions to manage the side in the future, his love for the club is unwavering. At our worst, he was one of our best.