The two-legged friendly fixture formed part of an end-of-season tour following a traumatic finish to the 1983/84 campaign. Having missed out on promotion to the Second Division by the narrowest of margins – just one goal – an outcome which sparked the resignation of manager Colin Appleton – meaning the Tigers headed to America without a boss!
The tour consisted of just two games and kicked off with a 1-0 victory over Fort Lauderdale thanks to a goal from City skipper Garreth Roberts. Next up was a trip to the Tampa Stadium to face the Rowdies – who were managed by former Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City man Rodney Marsh – in what formed the second leg of the Arrow Air Anglo-American Cup.
The Tigers held a 3-0 lead going into game with Roberts, Steve McClaren and Steve Massey on the scoresheet at Boothferry Park in April 1984, although the on-the-pitch events that day were overshadowed by the sight of then Chairman Don Robinson riding around the pitch on a horse wearing a stetson!
City had a new manager in charge for the game following the appointment of Brian Horton – who even paid his own fare to join up with his new squad stateside – as player/manager. And although his first game in charge ended in a 1-0 defeat – with Serbian defender Refik Kozic scoring the only goal of the game for the Rowdies – it wasn’t enough to prevent the Tigers from lifting the trophy.