Success appears to have become intertwined with Manchester City in recent years, yet it was not too long ago that City were more associated with the agony of relegation than the ecstasy of cup glory.
The 1990s saw City plummet to their lowest depths in their history, before embarking on the road to recovery.
It was a rollercoaster period for City fans.
With Uwe Rosler, one of City’s cult heroes during that period, returning to the club at the weekend as he brings his Wigan Athletic side to the Etihad in the quarter-final of the FA Cup, MM takes a look at some of City’s cult heroes from the 1990s.
5) Paul Dickov
Dickov made over 100 appearances for the club over two spells scoring over 30 goals for the club. However his cult status is on the back of one particular goal. Thats strike was his dramatic equaliser in the 1998/99 play-off final against Gillingham.
With the clock winding down, City fans looking at another division in the third tier the ball fell to Shaun Goater on the edge of the box his shot was blocked but the loose ball fell to Dickov, who took one touch before placing the ball beyond Vince Bartrum, the best man at his wedding, to send the Blues fans wild.
It remains one of the most iconic moments in the clubs history.
4) Nicky Weaver
Another player who whose performance in the play-off final against Gillingham has cemented his legacy at the club.
Weaver saved two penalties in City’s 3-1 win in the penalty shootout but it is exuberant celebration that City fans will remember.
After saving the final penalty the goalkeeper embarked on a mad dash around the stadium escaping the clutches of many of his teammates before being hauled in so the celebrations could begin.
The Sheffield-born goalkeeper joined the club from Mansfield Town and made 207 appearances for the club. During the 1998/99 season he kept 26 clean sheets which was a club record.
Early on in his career he was thought to be in running to be the next England goalkeeper but a series of knee injuries harmed his development.
After leaving City in 2006 he joined a number of clubs including the team he supported as a child, Sheffield Wednesday.
3) Uwe Rosler
Man City fans had not heard of the East German striker that manager Brian Horton brought to the club to try and avoid relegation in the 1993/94 season.
Rosler signed for the club originally on a trial basis from Nurnberg and made his debut against Queens Park Rangers – becoming City’s first German player since Bert Trautmann 40 years earlier.
Rosler made 177 appearances for City between 1994-1998 scoring 64 goals. He was adored by the fans and was named supporters’ Player of the Year in 1995 after scoring 21 goals in all competitions.
The striker returned to Germany in 1998 to play for Kaiserslautern who were in the Champions League. City fans have always had a place for Rosler in their hearts and when news spread that he had developed cancer, there was a strong outpouring of emotion with thousands of fans sending him messages, cards and gifts that inspired him to make a full recovery.
2) Andy Morrison
Morrison first relationship with City fans was the defender hacking down their Georgian superstar and receiving venomous chants from the home support. However that same set of supporters would come to love the defender.
Another member of the 1998/99 promotion winning campaign, Morrison was signed by manager Joe Royle to add some leadership to a team that was devoid of any and was struggling to cope with the nature of the division.
Morrison was built like a nightclub bouncer and played with the same no nonsense style. The Scottish-born defender immediately endeared himself to the City fans by scoring the winner in a 2-1 win over Colchester United.
The defender hoisted aloft the play-off trophy after the dramatic final and Royle claimed that Morrison had “dragged City kicking and screaming to promotion.”
Morrison only made 48 appearances for the club but his impact was such that in 2013 he was appointed as Fan Ambassador for the Blues.
1) Georgi Kinkladze
After being scouted by former City legends Colin Bell and Tony Book, chairman Francis Lee splashed £2m on Georgi Kinkladze.
The Georgian playmaker dazzled many Maine Road crowds with his incredible ability to weave magic with the ball at his feet and conjure goals that most people couldn’t imagine in their wildest dreams.
In a period where the on-field performances often left fans angry and disillusioned with the club, the same can not have been said about the performances of the mercurial midfielder.
The Georgian showed tremendous loyalty to the club, staying with the Blues after they suffered relegation from the Premier League and even with some of Europe’s biggest names rumoured to be desperate to sign him.
After three seasons with the club, two Player of the Year awards and with City facing the prospect of life in the third tier of English football, Kinkladze made his exit joining Dutch giants Ajax for £5.5m.
Kinkladze had to wait until the end of the season for his move and said an emotional farewell to the City fans after the club won 5-2 against Stoke City but still suffered the agony of relegation.
Image courtesy of Latics Official via YouTube, with thanks.