Bert Trautmann

From Academic Kids

Bert Trautmann OBE (born October 22, 1923 in Bremen, Germany, real name: Bernd Carl Trautmann) is a German football goalkeeper who played for Manchester City for many years.

He was born in Bremen. It was a time of much troubles in this German city, but he had a good life at that time. When he was ten he joined the football club Tura Bremen, in the early years he played on the left side of the midfield. From 1933 he had to join the Hitler Youth.

In the Second World War he was a paratrooper in western Russia. He was captured by the Russians and escaped, but was finally captured by the British. The English greeted him with the words "Hello Fritz, fancy a cup of tea?". He was brought to POW Camp 50 at Ashton, near Manchester. In football matches between two camps he always played on the right midfield, but one day they had no goalkeeper and so Bert tried it and performed very well.

After the war he stayed in Britain and played for the Liverpool County Combination club St Helens Town. When they went to Manchester to play a friendly match against City he performed his job very well, so the club officials of Manchester City signed him and gave him a good contract. The fans of City were not happy about this transaction. Season ticket holders threatened a boycott and various groups in Manchester and around the country bombarded the club with protest letters. 40,000 people went on the streets of Manchester and demonstrated against the signing of a German soldier, holding banners like "Off with the German". But then a Jewish rabbi in Manchester warned the demonstrators, "Not only one man can be convicted representative for one country". After his first matches for City the troubles were forgotten, because he played very well and he performed great saves, and soon he was loved and admired by the English population.

One of Bert Trautmann's greatest matches was the legendary 1956 FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium. In the 75th minute Manchester took the lead by 2 goals to 1 and Trautmann, diving courageously at an incoming ball, was knocked out in a collision with a Birmingham attacker when he was hit in the neck. For the remaining 15 minutes he defended his net, because at the time there were no substitutions possible. The final result was 3-1 to Manchester City, and the hero of the final was Bert Trautmann, due to his spectacular saves in the last minutes of the match. On that day Lady Luck was on his side — three days after that final a broken neck was diagnosed after an x-ray at a hospital in Manchester.

He appeared in 545 matches for City during a 15 year period between 1949 and 1964. He had no caps for Germany, because the German manager Sepp Herberger did not call up German players who were playing in other countries. He won the Footballer of the Year Award in 1956 for his FA Cup heroics, and was also in the FA Cup final in 1955. In 1964 he finished his career with a testimonial in front of a crowd of 60,000 people, not bad for a German whom no one had originally wanted. At this testimonial Bobby Moore, the captain of the English national team, called him one of the greatest goalkeepers ever.

He married a Manchester woman in 1950, with whom he a son, who was born in 1951 and was killed in a car accident a few months after the FA Cup Final in 1956. He was divorced from his wife in the 1960s. After his career he tried to manage lower division clubs, with little success. After this, the German Football Association sent him as a development worker to countries like Liberia, Nigeria and Yemen. Since 1990 he has lived with his second wife in a small bungalow on the Spanish coast near Valencia. He visits his old club Manchester City several times a year, and is still an idol for all generations of City supporters.

On 28 October 2004 it was announced that Trautmann is to be awarded the Order of the British Empire for promoting British-German understanding through football.

Preceded by:
Don Revie
Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by:
Tom Finney

Template:End boxde:Bert Trautmann


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