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Injury finished Ian Rodgerson's Wembley hopes with Birmingham City
NJURIES have become part of Ian Rodgerson’s stock in trade in his role as Hereford United’s physiotherapist.
But it was an injury of his own which brought the low point of his career as a player.
After transferring from Cardiff City, Rodgerson was establishing himself in the Birmingham City side when the blow struck.
“We got to Wembley in the Leyland DAF Trophy and I played in all of the games leading up to the final,” he recalled.
“The final was two weeks after the main season ended and Lou Macari, the manager, was renowned for the fitness of his sides.
“We ran and ran and ran; my groin went and I finished up missing the final.
“It was devastating to miss out on playing at Wembley in front of 55,000 fans.
“It was a great day for Blues fans as we won 3-2 but it was one of the lowest points for me personally.”
There was some consolation the following season when Birmingham won promotion to the old Second Division and earned the former Hereford man what should have been a dream move to Sunderland.
“My family are from the North-East and they are all Sunderland fans so it looked like a fairytale transfer,” he said.
“But it didn’t work out that way.
“On the way back from the last pre-season game at Middlesbrough, I was involved in a car crash and all the four new signings were injured.
“I dislocated my shoulder quite badly and damaged the nerves and was out for three months.
“Straightaway, I was trying to play catch-up and then Terry Butcher was sacked and Mick Buxton came in, but I wasn’t really his type of player. “It was hard work - I had one or two other injuries and it was a long two years.”
Either side of his spells at Birmingham, Rodgerson’s career was notable for its symmetry.
He started with the Bulls before moving on to Cardiff City.
And then it was back to Cardiff after leaving Sunderland before coming home to Edgar Street.
His early career at Hereford was as a midfielder before John Newman asked him to try a right-back role following Chris Price’s departure for Blackburn Rovers.
He did sufficiently well to earn a move to Cardiff where he played in the European Cup Winners’ Cup after City’s Welsh Cup success.
After being released from Cardiff at the end of his second spell, he got a hint of the tougher side of football.
“I phoned Graham Turner and asked if Hereford needed any right-sided players but he said they didn’t,” said Rodgerson.
“I phoned back a week or so later and asked if I could come in to use the facilities to get fit.
“I joined in training and had to impress that way.”
He added: “It was tough, effectively being on trial in my 30s but eventually Graham offered me a deal.”