Rodney William Marsh was born on October 11, 1944 in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. He was named after HMS Rodney by his father, who served on the battleship.
In a varied and colourful career he played for Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Manchester City, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and England.
He began his career with Fulham, signing professional forms aged 16. He made his debut in 1963, but his career there was hampered by injuries. A collision with a goal post and an opposing defender cost him the hearing in his left ear.
Always a maverick and never one to toe the line unquestioningly, a dispute with Fulham manager Vic Buckingham ultimately saw him move across West London to join Queens Park Rangers, then in the Third Division, for £15,000 in March 1966. He had played 66 times for the Cottagers, scoring 22 goals.
His first full season with QPR, 1966-67, was his most successful. He scored 44 goals in 53 games as the club became Third Division champions and also won the League Cup, coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in the final, with Marsh scoring the equaliser. The following year, QPR were promoted again to reach the First Division.
He became an idol of the Rangers' fans, who used to sing his name "Rod-neee", in tribute. In total he scored 134 goals in 242 appearances for the Rs.
He also played as a Third Division International – receiving an England cap while playing in the third division – something which is unheard of today.
In 1972, he was signed for Manchester City by Malcolm Allison for a then club record £200,000. Upon signing Marsh in March, City were four points clear at the top of the table but by the end of the season had slipped to fourth. Marsh himself has since claimed that it was he who cost the club the league title that year, with his style simply not suiting that of the team.
Marsh still became one of City's star players, scoring 19 goals in 1972-73 and often dazzling the crowd with his skills. He scored 36 goals in 118 appearances for the Sky Blues.
Marsh made his England debut against Switzerland in 1971 and won a total of nine caps, scoring one goal, which came in a 3-0 victory over Wales.
In his stage show with George Best, Marsh used to joke that the England manager Alf Ramsey told him ‘I'll be watching you for the first 45 minutes and if you don't work harder I'll pull you off at half time," to which Marsh said that he replied: “Crikey, Alf, at Manchester City all we get is an orange and a cup of tea.”
Marsh later played in Major League Soccer in the USA against Pele, and used to joke: "I wasn't the white Pele, he was the black Rodney Marsh!"