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Heroes & Villains – Uwe Rosler

When you think of German athletes, you tend to think of big muscled, powerful strikers who can really hit a ball with such strength with either by head or foot. The same philosophy is also applied to the men. Footballers such as Oliver Beirhoff, Karle-Heinz Rumenigge, Lothar Matthaus and Jurgen Klinsmann gracing the German national side. These days, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski are no strangers to giving the ball a good whack. But one player never to play an international match for Germany was Uwe Rosler who always gave everything he had each time he pulled on the blue shirt but never had the opportunity at international level.

Uwe was born in East Germany in November 1968 during the cold war, where footballers were often seen as amateurs in the game. He began his career in 1988 and spent three years at FC Madgeburg before joining Dynamo Dresden. He spent just one season there before moving to FC Nuremburg, but failed to score despite playing twenty eight times. In the 93/94 season, Rosler was loaned back to Dresden but only made seven appearances, failing to score on each of them.

In March 1994, Rosler joined City on trial. After scoring two goals against Burnley in a reserve team game, Rosler’s trial was extended to three months. The following weekend, Rosler made his first team debut against QPR. Twelve games and five goals later, Rosler was rewarded with a permanent contract at Maine Road for a fee of somewhere between £300,000 and £500,000.

City started the 1994/95 season at Highbury and Rosler got off to the worst possible start as he was sent off and City lost 3-0. But the German striker would put that disappointment behind him and go on to form an effective partnership with Paul Walsh. He went on to score twenty two goals, including four in one FA Cup game as City crushed Notts County 5-2 in a replay at Maine Road. Rosler finishing City’s top goalscorer that season and was duly named City’s player of the year.

But problems were approaching for Rosler in the shape of Alan Ball, who took over from the dismissed Brian Horton. After Ball took charge he unnecessarily disrupted the team. Rosler struggled to make an impact due to the change in tactics, with Ball preferring to play through the middle of the park, rather than down the flanks, where City were at their most dangerous. Strike partner Paul Walsh had been sold, much to the annoyance of the City faithful and Uwe struggled as a result.

Rosler was subsequently dropped to the substitute’s bench after several publicised disagreements with the manager, but made an appearance against Manchester United, scoring a brilliant goal to level the scores. He immediately ran towards Ball, who was sitting in the City dugout, shouted to him and pointed to the name on his back. The goal was in vain as the blues lost 3-2. At the end of the season, City were relegated and Ball left the club just a few months later.

The following two season, he was again the top goalscorer, but City had struggled again and were fighting at the wrong end of the table. In 1998, City were relegated to the third tier of English football and Rosler moved back to Germany. The striker had made 177 appearances for the blues, scoring 64 goals. He spent the next two years in Germany before moving back to England with Southampton. He made 24 appearances for the Saints but failed to score and was loaned to WBA in 2001, where he scored one goal on five games.

After scoring the winner for Lillestrom in 2003, Uwe was diagnosed with chest cancer after x-rays revealed a lump in his chest which ended his playing career. But Uwe responded well to chemotherapy and thankfully made a full recovery. Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, Uwe obtained his coaching his coaching badges while recovering and, following his recovery from the illness, took the manager’s seat at Lillestrom, led them to fourth place in two successive seasons and also a Norwegian Cup Final.

In November 2006, he was appointed manager of Viking and led them to third place in the league. He spent three years at Viking before leaving in 2009. But in August 2010, he was appointed manager of Molde.

In 2009, Uwe was admitted into Manchester City’s Hall of Fame and will forever be a hero in the eyes of blues fans everywhere. Rosler was a cult figure at Maine Road, even though the stories that his granddad bombed Old Trafford may be a little exaggerated.

Uwe Rosler, true City legend and forever a City hero.

What are your memories of Uwe? What was the best goal you saw him score? We want to hear your views



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