Norwich City top 100 appearances: Robert Rosario (91)

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:45 18 May 2017

Robert Rosario in his Norwich City days. Picture: Archant

Robert Rosario in his Norwich City days. Picture: Archant

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We continue our look through the top 100 players in Norwich City’s appearance list, with Paddy Davitt recalling the curious case of Robert Rosario.

91 Robert Rosario 161 appearances 29 goals

Robert Rosario had the film star looks but his Norwich City career was more of a B movie.

The strapping centre forward was scouted at non league Hillingdon Borough, where he had drifted following failed trials at Tottenham, Brentford and Watford. Rosario’s displays in the youth and reserve ranks brought him to the attention of Ken Brown, who handed the 18-year-old a full debut in a 6-1 win over the Hornets in April 1984. John Deehan took the plaudits that particular day with a four-goal salvo.

Rosario’s first senior goal came in his third outing for the Canaries but he was largely the support act to the prolific Robert Fleck.

The former England Under-21 international is perhaps best remembered for a thumping goal in a brace against Southampton in an entertaining 4-4 home draw in September 1989 that earned him ITV’s goal of the season - a long range, left-footed half-volley that threatened to bust the net.

“The first one was an absolute peach,” said the self-assured Rosario speaking after his first Carrow Road goal in 12 months, before later volleying home Paul Cook’s cross for an equaliser. “I scored a similar one about three years earlier against Hull and I thought I could never, ever score one like it. It just came so nicely to me.

“Every striker will say you need a bit of luck. I think I had a little bit in this game and I was so pleased. Last season I was doing the same things but the keeper would have probably sat on the volley instead of it going in. Instead it went through his legs and in.”

That was arguably the high point of Rosario’s City career. His luck had well and truly ran out when he was sold for not an inconsiderable sum of £600,000 to Terry Butcher’s Coventry City in March 1991. In 66 games for the Sky Blues he scored 10 goals but initially struggled to carry the onerous burden of being touted as Cyrille Regis’ natural successor at Highfield Road. A change of manager and a deeper role as a link man under Bobby Gould providing chances for the prolific Micky Quinn sparked an upturn in fortunes. With Coventry needing to generate cash he was sold to relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest for £450,000, but such was Rosario’s renaissance the sale led to protests from fans and Gould himself. Rosario never made the grade at the City Ground behind an up-and-coming striker called Stan Collymore. A serious knee injury forced him to retire from the professional ranks, but he resurfaced on the other side of the Atlantic when he joined the Carolina Dynamos in the US second tier. The Londoner later moved into coaching at the Dynamos and is now senior boys’ director of coaching at Carolina Rapids.

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