Valencia - Football fans in Germany and England are in mourning after news of the death of former goalkeeper Bert Trautmann at the age of 89.

The Bremen-born player, who spent his entire professional career in England, passed away at his home in the town of La Llosa, close to Valencia, Spain on Friday 19 July.

Manchester City legend


Born Bernhard Carl Trautmann in Bremen in 1923, Trautmann arrived in England in the late 1940s, where he was initially mistrusted for being a German. However, he later won over the hearts of the British public with his talent for goalkeeping. After joining St Helens Town FC in 1948, he then moved to Manchester City FC, a powerhouse of the English northwest at the time, the following year.

He played for the club for 15 years, making over 500 appearances, but he is most widely known for his heroic display in the 1956 English FA Cup final against Birmingham City. Trautmann injured his neck bone during a collision with Birmingham's Peter Murphy, but because no substitutes were permitted, had to play on for the remaining 15 minutes. He did so admirably, making crucial saves as his team triumphed 3-1 to lift the trophy, despite the German being in visible pain. An X-ray later revealed he had broken five vertebrae.

'A true gentleman'


After retiring in 1964, he became head coach of Stockport County FC, before returning to his homeland to take up posts at SC Preußen Münster and SC Opel Rüsselsheim. He later became a footballing ambassador for the German government around the globe, educating young coaches in Burma, Tanzania, Liberia, Pakistan and Yemen.

"Bert Trautmann was a great player and a true gentleman," commented German Football Federation (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach. "He came to England as a soldier [following the Second World War] but became a celebrated hero there and achieved legendary status. His extraordinary career will forever remain in the history books."