Tony Woodcock scored 16 goals for England and earned 42 caps.
The striker was one of Brian Cloughâ€™s â€˜Miracle Menâ€™ that went from second division obscurity to European Cup glory.
He is also fondly remembered in at Arsenal, where he was top scorer for three consecutive seasons.
However, he is also much-loved in Cologne and was one of the pioneering English football players that took a step beyond English football.
He spoke to the Football Pink about his unique experience as an Englishman playing abroad during a time period when such a move would have seemed inconceivable.
Cologne were â€˜one of the biggest and best clubs in Europeâ€™
Tony Woodcock made the brave move to Cologne in 1979 and just earlier that year he had been part of the Nottingham Forest team that knocked them out of the European Cup.
â€˜Cologne had been a big club and had won the league and the cup the year before. They were one of the biggest and best clubs in Europe.â€™
â€˜The city of Cologne was always a great place to live, and the football team was a big part of the city.â€™
â€˜My teammates were excellent, and I had played against them twice for Forest in the semi-finals of the European Cup when we beat them. Of course, I got to know the players closer after signing and Iâ€™m still in touch with many of them today.â€™
â€˜Opportunities like that donâ€™t come along oftenâ€™
The move was big news in both England and Germany and Tony spoke about his reasons behind signing for Cologne.
â€˜The move to Cologne put me in a really special position of being one of few Englishmen to play abroad and the first after Kevin Keegan to go and play in Germany, which was probably the best league at the time.â€™
â€˜Every German club were only allowed two foreign players. So to play abroad, you had to be at the top of your game otherwise you wouldnâ€™t have been brought.â€™
â€˜I wanted to go, I wanted to experience the lifestyle, I wanted to cement my status as a football player even higher after Nottingham Forest and of course money and commercial contracts come into it as well.â€™
â€˜It was a good move for me because you play football for a number of years and opportunities like that donâ€™t come along too often.â€™
â€˜I spoke to Kevin about itâ€™
Kevin Keegan had shocked the footballing world when he departed Liverpool to sign for Hamburg and Tony Woodcock consulted Keegan before joining him in Germany.
â€˜It was a bit of a scary opportunity because Kevin was the only other English player playing abroad at that time, so it was a tricky decision to make.â€™
â€˜In those days, there werenâ€™t many agents, and they were all abroad. So I was being chased by people wanting to take me to Spain, to Italy and to Germany.â€™
â€˜I spoke to Kevin about it, and he gave me some tips on the management team I had at the time and how to get round one or two of the difficulties.â€™
â€˜I had to go home at lunchtime and have a sleepâ€™
The training at Cologne was far more intense than Brian Cloughâ€™s training methods and woodcock struggled to adjust initially.
â€˜There werenâ€™t as many games and you got a winter break which was nice. We hardly trained at Nottingham Forest because we had two games per week but in Cologne there were three days a week where you were training in the morning and afternoon for two-hour sessions on football and fitness.â€™
â€˜So that was a different rhythm for my body and brain. Where the German players would probably think it was really hard work to play two games a week at full power, it was really difficult at the start for me playing just one game a week but doing a lot of training.â€™
â€˜I used to be sent in from training early and not one player said anything – not even any banter â€“ because they understood that as long as I performed and played well on a Saturday, they were ok with me not working as hard until I got used to it all in training.â€™
â€˜In fact some days, I had to go back home at lunchtime and have a sleep because it was so different to what I was used to.â€™
â€˜The police had to come and remove themâ€™
There was a lot of pressure on Tony Woodcock and the interactions he had with fans in Germany were different from what he had experienced in England.
â€˜There was quite a lot of pressure on me because I was the most expensive player in Germany at that time because of UEFA ruling and there were 8,000 people who turned up to my first training session.â€™
â€˜The Kicker magazine put my autograph address in the magazine, which is where you lived, and one day there was 2 or 3 thousand letters that came through and 500 people outside the house where I lived. The police actually had to come and remove them.â€™
â€˜Or if I walked into Cologne, there would be hundreds of people following me which I wasnâ€™t used to and because youâ€™re a foreigner playing in Germany, you had to play well.â€™
â€˜There was always a headlineâ€™
Being a German transfer-record breaking signing, he faced challenges both on and off the field.
â€˜My life in Germany on the football pitch was that there was one player that when the referee blew his whistle would come and stand alongside me and his job was to stop me playing for 90 minutes.â€™
â€˜He would be inside my shorts and my shirt and his job was to just stop me. So I had a personal battle every week as well as playing with the team because I had to try and get rid of someone who was just there to stop me getting a kick.â€™
â€˜If you donâ€™t play well, youâ€™re the worst player on the pitch, if you play well, you are the best player in the world. Thereâ€™s no medium. So there was always a headline whether it was a good one or a bad one.â€™
â€˜To enhance my England career I needed to come backâ€™
Playing abroad didnâ€™t come without its problems, though, and Tony returned to England and to Highbury in order to enhance his international career.
â€˜I was being called up for England, but nobody was coming to watch me play. I was playing in probably the best league in Europe and playing really well but I was sitting on the bench when I was playing for England. So I thought to enhance my England career I needed to come back.â€™
â€˜Arsenal had been courting me for a couple of years. It wasnâ€™t the best team but personally it was a successful time for me. I had a long-term thought process that I would play three years at Arsenal and then I would be playing regularly for England and then I would go abroad again.â€™
â€˜Everything worked out well – I was playing well for Arsenal and playing regularly for England, but we didnâ€™t qualify for the European Championships in 1984, which would have been the showcase for me to move abroad again to either Italy or Spain.â€™
Tony Woodcock returned to Cologne in 1986 after four years at Arsenal and he is warmly remembered as one of the pioneering English players that took a step beyond English football.
â€˜It makes you more worldly. The worldâ€™s pretty small. You can fly all over the world and it is just like a small football really. It was a great experience for me and I got to learn a language and see a different culture. You get some players who it suits, and you get some players who it doesnâ€™t but for me it was a good move.â€™