When supporters lambast the unrelentingly tiresome antics of modern day footballers, Manchester City’s legendary goalkeeper Bert Trautmann is held up as a pillar of spirit and resilience.
During the 1956 FA Cup final City and Birmingham City, Trautmann was involved in a sickening collision with opposing forward Peter Murphy with the score at 3-1 in the favor of the Manchester club. With no substitutes permitted at the time, the Manchester outfit looked poised to go down to ten men for the remaining stages of the game.
But Trautmann, wincing in pain and clutching at his neck, refused to come off the field. Not only that, but in clear discomfort, the goalkeeper made a couple of excellent saves as Blues looked to drag themselves back into the contest. Indeed, after the second save, the trainer was brought on again to take a look at the goalkeeper.
In 2008, Trautmann spoke of how he felt on the field, per The Guardian:
“It was such a strange sensation. I wasn’t seeing any color – everything around me was grey and I couldn’t see any of the players properly. I could only see silhouettes. It was like walking around in fog and trying to find my way.
“I can’t remember what happened during the rest of the match. I know now that I made one or two more good saves but it must just have been my subconscious taking over; everything was a blur of black and white.”
City saw out their two-goal advantage and their supporters were noticeably vocal in their support of the bravery of Trautmann. The ‘keeper stuck around to pick up his winner’s medal and even Prince Philip commented on how uncomfortable Trautmann looked in the royal box. Despite being in severe pain, the City man attended the post match celebrations.
But his pain didn’t cease throughout the evening and after two visits to the hospital in the three days following the final, it was discovered that Trautmann had dislocated five of his vertebrae and cracked one of the bones into two pieces. He was lucky to be alive.
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