Manchester City Welcome Rosler's Return.

Published: Mar 11, 2014 13:57pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 11, 2014 @ 01:57pm EDT


This past weekend saw the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup play out in England as footballs oldest cup competition found out who the last four were going to be in this years competition. The match my eye was on was, of course, Manchester City hosting Wigan Athletic.


My team, Manchester City, had lost to Wigan in last years Final but since then had beat Wigan in the Capital One Cup earlier on in the season by a 5-0 score line and only recently gone on to lift that trophy just a week before this weekends match up.


Since that FA Cup Final defeat ten months before both sides had changed their managers, them twice in fact. Wigan were now in the second tier of English football while Manchester City were, up until recently, scoring for fun. All these factors were not what made this past Sundays game special for City fans but the return of a special ex Manchester City player, Uwe Rosler.


In fact Sunday was almost twenty years to the day since he first put on the sky blue of Manchester City and took to the pitch. March 5th 1994 he started in his first Premiership game for a struggling Manchester City side.


Initially it didn’t look as if the German would have what it took to be a Premiership player but four years, 165 starts and 64 goals later he left Manchester City as the second most popular German in the clubs history, second to Bert Trautmann of course.


In 1995 there was a change of manager at City and the appointment of Alan Ball is still regarded as one of the worst decisions in the clubs history. At the time the fans knew it and Uwe Rosler knew it, and he showed it. Towards the end of the 1995-96 season Manchester City were on their way down to the second tier and, against Manchester United, Rosler found himself on the bench. When he was finally brought on he scored a great goal to equalize and instead of celebrating, he ran over to his manager, gave him a mouthful and pointed to the name on the back of his shirt.


City went on to lose that game and get relegated. Alan Ball was fired but Rosler stayed to see another three men take charge of City within four months before Frank Clark took the reigns. A mid table finish saw Clark relieved of his duties fourteen months later before Joe Royle came in. At this point City were beyond saving and destined for the third tier of English football. April 17th, 1998 Uwe Rosler left City and moved on, but he wouldn’t be forgotten.


In 2003, Manchester City were back in the Premiership, had a new stadium, new Manager and a new purpose. They had been on the brink of financial ruin, the end of the club in fact, but had fought back. They had fought back strong, were back where they belonged and had won their battle for survival. Now, in Lillestrom Norway, Uwe Rosler was about to undertake a different battle. One for his life.


Things moved quickly as what he initially thought was a chest infection was diagnosed as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The ex City striker, now still only 34, couldn’t even risk going back to his home country such was the seriousness of the condition. The tennis ball sized tumor in his chest meant that he was only expected to live past a week and chemotherapy needed to be started immediately if that was to possibly change.


Rosler started his battle with not just chemotherapy, but radiotherapy and bone marrow injections. It was one thing though that he recalls in his biography and in various interviews that gave him the real boost. A friend in Manchester called him on his cell phone and as an exhausted Rosler answered he was met with a familiar voice who said ‘Can you hear this’ lifted the phone up so that the fans at the City game, at the City of Manchester stadium, could be heard signing his name.


The bond between him and the club is now unbreakable and Rosler went on to recover from his illness, as we all know. With family, friends and 45,000 Mancunians behind him in his fight, how could he lose? Later on he was invited back to the stadium and again he got a lift from the fans who loved him, and still do, at a time when his spirits were at their lowest.


With all that said, how could Sunday have been about anything other than Uwe Rosler? My team went out of the cup and that is disappointing but there will be other trophies. For now the game takes a backseat as we reflect that both the club and player have had major fights for survival since they went their separate ways all those years ago. Both club and player have fought back stronger than they were before and I know for both, the future is going to get better.


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Jason Bardwell
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