Bert Trautmann passes away, 89
Our tribute to one of football's true gents: Bert Trautmann
July 19th, 2013
Footballers get a lot of stick, from heckling them for a missed opportunity to taunting them when a penalty is fluffed. Most times however, the raucous jeering is aimed at those select few players who seem to spend more time helping to flatten the pitch than they do storming to victory.
From the likes of Didier Drogba with his overly enthusiastic gliding across the turf, to Luis Suarez admitting to diving in an attempt to win a penalty against Stoke City in 2012, these days it appears to be the slightest bluster of wind and the players are rolling around on the floor.
That wasn’t the case in 1956 as Birmingham City battled with Manchester City in the FA Cup Final, when Bert Trautmann collided with Birmingham’s Peter Murphy, leading to 3 broken vertebrae. Did he scream and shout, shout abuse at his opponent? Not a chance, instead he stood up, straightened up and played the remainder of the game, only finding out three days later the severity of his injuries.
Trautmann went from a German paratrooper, captured on the Russian front to an English football hero; sadly he passed away this morning at his home in Valencia, having survived two heart attacks this year.
Tributes have been pouring in for the 500 cap City player, including these wonderful words from former Arsenal goalkeeper and BBC Sport presenter Bob Wilson;
“Sad news. My hero Bert Trautmann has died. An amazing man who helped bring our warring countries closer together. Thank you Bert.”
What a life he has lived; escaping captivity from the Russians only to fall into the hands of the French resistance and finally captured for the final time by the British Army, following which he was interned near Ashton-in-Markenfield where he remained until the end of the war in 1945. It was at that point he began his football career, initially with non-league side St Helens.
He moved onto pastures new, signing for Manchester City in 1946, he most certainly did not receive the warmest of welcomes, facing hostility from numerous supporters with memories of the war still so fresh.
Following on from his retirement from professional football he went on to manager Stockport Country and was instrumental in the promotion of football in Africa and Asia along sidet he German Football Association.
Trautmann was awarded an OBE in 2004 for services to the promotion of sportsmanship and exchange plans between young players in the UK and Germany, through The Trautmann Foundation.
A sad day indeed for English football, a true gentleman has hung his boots up for the final time.