Bert Trautmann, the German goalkeeper who won the FA Cup with Manchester City in 1956, has died at the age of 89.
Bert was one of the mid 20th century greats in English football. A German soldier who was captured by the Russians on the Eastern Front and escaped. Then on the Western Front was captured by the French Resistance and escaped and then captured by British soldiers and didn't escape. After the war he stayed in England and joined Man City in 1949, there was still strong anti German feeling in Manchester, but his skill, bravery and the fact that he was simply a really nice guy won the hearts of not only the City fans but us Man U fans as well.
In 1956 he played in the Cup Final against Birmingham City, a game I watched on TV. City won 3 - 1 and with 17 mins to go he dived at the feet of a Birmingham play to save a goal when Birmingham were coming back into the game. Unknown to us all Bert broke his neck in that save but he played on despite being in pain, no subs back then. While he is best remembered for this game he was a great goalkeeper and was proud of the fact that a year before he became the first German player to play in a Cup Final, even though they lost 3 - 1 to Newcastle United.
He made a full recovery and played over 500 games for Man City.
A true hero and a true gentleman.