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Bert Trautmann

Bert Trautmann
Personal information
Full nameBernhard Carl Trautmann
Date of birth22 October 1923(age 92)
Place of birthBremen, Germany
Playing positionGoalkeeper

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Bernhard Carl "Bert" Trautmann, OBE (born 22 October 1923) is a German former professional footballer who played for Manchester City from 1949 to 1964. Brought up during times of inter-war strife in Germany, Trautmann joined the Luftwaffe early in the Second World War, serving as a paratrooper. He fought on the Eastern Front for three years, earning five medals including an Iron Cross. Later in the war he was transferred to the Western Front, where he was captured by the British as the war drew to a close. One of only 90 of his original 1,000-man regiment to survive the war, he was transferred to a prisoner-of-war camp in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire. Trautmann refused an offer of repatriation, and following his release in 1948 he settled in Lancashire, combining farm work with playing as goalkeeper for local football team St Helens Town.

Performances for St Helens gained Trautmann a reputation as an able goalkeeper, resulting in interest from Football League clubs. In October 1949 he signed for Manchester City, a club playing in the highest level of football in the country, the First Division. The club's decision to sign a former Axis paratrooper sparked protests, with 20,000 people attending a demonstration. Over time he gained acceptance through his performances in the City goal, playing all but five of the club's next 250 matches.

Named FWA Footballer of the Year for 1956, Trautmann entered football folklore with his performance in the 1956 FA (Football Association) Cup Final. With 17 minutes of the match remaining Trautmann suffered a serious injury after diving at the feet of Birmingham City's Peter Murphy. Despite his injury he continued to play, making crucial saves to preserve his team's 3 1 lead. His neck was noticeably crooked as he collected his winner's medal; three days later an X-ray revealed it to be broken.

Trautmann continued to play for Manchester City until 1964, making 545 appearances. After ending his playing career he moved into management, first with lower-division sides in England and Germany, and later as part of a German Football Association development scheme that took him to several countries including Burma, Tanzania and Pakistan. In 2004 he was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for promoting Anglo-German understanding through football.

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