Legendary goalkeeper Bert Trautmann died today, at the age of 89.
Trautmann entered football folklore when he played for Manchester City in the 1956 FA Cup Final against Birmingham at Wembley. With 17 minutes of the match remaining, Trautmann suffered a serious injury, where his neck was noticeably damaged. Incredibly, though, Trautmann continued playing through until the final whistle, making several key saves, to help the Citizens win the FA Cup trophy. It wasn’t until 3 days later that an X-ray revealed that Trautmann had broken his neck.
The German-born goalkeeper played for Manchester City from 1949 to 1964. As a young man during World War II, Trautmann was a paratrooper for the German Luftwaffe. As the war drew to a close, he was captured in England, and was only one of 90 soldiers who survived out of his 1,000 strong regiment.
Trautmann was interned in a prisoner of war camp until his release in 1948, when he combined his work on a farm with goalkeeping for his local club, St Helens Town. Later, he was noticed by Manchester City, who signed him to the club despite a lot of protest from 20,000 people who attended a demonstration against the former paratrooper playing for the club.
Over time, Trautmann gained acceptance from the public and City fans, where he played all but five of the club’s next 250 matches.
In total, Trautmann made 545 appearances for Manchester City.
To learn more about Trautmann’s incredible life, watch the following video documentary series: