Bert Trautmann's Final Game 50 Years Ago.

Published: Mar 28, 2014 12:57pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 28, 2014 @ 12:57pm EDT


Today marks 50 years since Bert Trautmann finally put away his gloves for the final time. The former Manchester City goalkeeper was born in Bremen, Germany on October 23rd 1923. When war broke out in 1939, a young Trautmann saw service in Poland and Russia, actually getting frostbite in his toes and ears.


Towards the end of the war he decided to do something a little less dangerous and jump out of planes into enemy territory! It was during this part of his career he was captured three times and managed to escape twice, the third time he was not so fortunate but England and Manchester City were. Later it would turn out to be a blessing as once captured by the Americans he was shipped of to a Prisoner of war camp in Lancashire. It was during the Prisoner of war football matches that Trautmann first kept goal, which he was forced to do as injury kept him from playing his usual position of center forward.


At the end of the war, with Trautmann staying in Lancashire and City looking for a replacement for Frank Swift, the City manager, John (Jock) Thompson had been hearing about this ex German Paratrooper playing amateur football. October 1949 Bert had signed amateur forms with his new club Manchester City and actually impressed so much that a month later he was signing again, only this time as a professional.


With the war being so fresh a few City fans wrote to the club about their outrage. Some said they would burn their season tickets others promised never to go to Maine Road again. City stayed firm on their decision and the tall blonde German soon had fans won over.


From the 1950-51 season and for five seasons more, Bert Trautmann would be an ever present for City, only missing five games. Those games were missed due to the injury sustained during the 1956 FA Cup Final in which Bert broke his neck, didn’t know it and carried on playing. It seemed that after a collision in the box Trautmanns second vertebrae had been damaged but also that his third had been pushed up into the second and was now the only thing from him and something devastating, in fact a slap on the back in the wrong way could have ended his career. It was only seven months after that injury before he was back playing for City but 1956 was a mixed year for the German, snubbed by his own country.


Of course he won the FA Cup with City and was also awarded the Footballer of the Year award but his lows were as bad as his highs good with the injury of course but also the death of his young boy.

Bert turned out for his last game on March 28th 1964 and he ended his career just as he had started it, on the losing side away from home! After 545 appearances a testimonial game was held two weeks after his final competitive game for City. To show how the opinion of him had changed from those early days, it was attended by 48,000 people. Which goes to show that if you give your all while in the sky blue shirt you will always have a place in Mancunian hearts. As a result fans have set up a Facebook page to remember the man, the legend.


Sadly Bert died this last July, aged 89. Forever a blue, he is the only person to have and probably ever will again win the Iron Cross, FA Cup Winners medal, an order of merit from Germany and an honorary OBE from the Queen.


The picture used in this article was from the opening day of this season when Manchester City played host to Newcastle United at the Etihad. All the players warming up on the Manchester City side wore those green 'Trautmann 1' shirts which were then auctioned off for charity. People could bid on the players shirt they wanted and all proceeds went to the Trautmann foundation. If you notice the player to the far left, side on to us, that's Jesus Navas. I was lucky enough to have his shirt. You can see me with it on my Facebook page.

And you can follow me there (Facebook and Twitter) by clicking the links.



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