|Full name||Bernhard Carl Trautmann|
|Date of birth||22 October 1923|
|Place of birth||Bremen, Germany|
|1948–1949||St Helens Town||43||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
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.
Early life in Germany 
Trautmann was born on 22 October 1923 in Walle, a middle class area in west Bremen, living with his father, who worked in a fertiliser factory by the docks, and his mother Frieda, a housewife. He had one brother, Karl-Heinz, three years his junior, with whom he enjoyed a close relationship. The bleak economic climate of the early 1930s forced the Trautmanns to sell their house and move to an apartment block in the working class area of Gröpelingen, where Bernhard lived until 1941. The young Bernhard had a keen interest in sports, playing football, handball and völkerball (a form of dodgeball). To this end, he joined the YMCA and football club Blau und Weiss. He took to playing for the football club with enthusiasm, but the YMCA activities did not hold his attention to the same extent. In August 1933, he joined a new organisation instead, the Jungvolk, a precursor to the Hitler Youth. The following year, he won several local junior athletics events and was awarded a certificate for athletic excellence signed by Paul von Hindenburg, the President of Germany. At the onset of the Second World War, Trautmann was working as an apprentice motor mechanic.
Second World War 
In 1941, Trautmann joined the Luftwaffe, initially as a radio operator. During training, he did not show much aptitude for radio work, so he transferred to Spandau to become a Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper). He served first in Occupied Poland, though being stationed far behind the front line resulted in boredom for his regiment, which resorted to sports and practical jokes to pass the time. One such practical joke involving a car backfired on Trautmann, resulting in a staff sergeant burning his arms. Trautmann was court-martialled, and received a three-month prison sentence. At the start of his confinement, Trautmann came down with acute appendicitis, and spent the remainder of his sentence in a military hospital.
In October 1941, he rejoined the 35th at Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, where the German advance had halted because of the early onset of winter. Over-winter hit-and-run attacks on Soviet Army supply routes were the main focus of the unit, and in spring, Trautmann was promoted to corporal. Gains were made in 1942, but the Soviet counter-offensive hit Trautmann's unit hard, and by the time it was withdrawn from the Eastern Front, only 300 of the original 1,000 remained. Trautmann won five medals for his actions on the Eastern Front, including an Iron Cross First Class.
Promoted to sergeant, Trautmann was part of a unit formed from the remnants of several others which had been decimated in the east, stationed in France in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Normandy. In 1944, he was one of the few survivors of the Allied bombing of Kleve, and with no unit left, he decided to head home to Bremen. By this point, German soldiers without valid leave papers were being shot as deserters, so Trautmann sought to avoid troops from either side. However, a few days later, he was captured in a barn by two American soldiers. Deciding that Trautmann had no useful intelligence to give them, the soldiers marched him out of the barn with his hands raised. Fearing he was about to be executed, Trautmann fled. After evading his captors, he jumped over a fence, only to land at the feet of a British soldier, who greeted him with the words "Hello Fritz, fancy a cup of tea?" Earlier in the war, he had been captured by the Russians and later the French Resistance, but escaped both times. With the war drawing to a close, Trautmann did not attempt a third escape.
He was initially imprisoned near Ostend, Belgium, then transferred to a transit camp in Essex, where he was interrogated. As a volunteer soldier who had been subject to indoctrination from a young age, he was classified as a category "C" prisoner by the authorities, meaning he was regarded as a Nazi. Trautmann, one of only 90 of his original regiment to survive the war, was then transferred to a prisoner-of-war camp at Marbury Hall, near Northwich, Cheshire, interned with other category "C" prisoners. He was soon downgraded to non-Nazi "B" status, following, which he was taken to PoW Camp 50 (now Byrchall High School) in Ashton-in-Makerfield, a small town in Lancashire between St Helens and Wigan, where he stayed until 1948.
Football matches were regularly held at the camp, in which Trautmann played outfield. However, in a match against amateur team Haydock Park, Trautmann picked up an injury while playing centre-half. He asked to swap positions with goalkeeper Gunther Luhr, and from that day forward played as a goalkeeper. It was during this time he became known as "Bert", as the English had trouble pronouncing "Bernd", the abbreviated version of his name.
Early football career 
With closure of the PoW camp imminent, Trautmann declined an offer of repatriation and stayed in Britain, working on a farm, and subsequently working on bomb disposal in Huyton. He also played amateur football for the Liverpool County Combination club St Helens Town, through which he met the club secretary's daughter, Margaret Friar, whom he later married. Over the course of the 1948–49 season, Trautmann's goalkeeping reputation steadily grew, and a series of large crowds were attributed to his performance, including a record 9,000 attendance in the final of a local cup competition, the Mahon Cup.
Manchester City 
As the following season commenced, a number of League clubs showed interest in signing Trautmann. The first to offer him a contract was Manchester City, and on 7 October 1949 Trautmann signed for the club as an amateur, turning professional shortly after.
Supporter discontent 
Some Manchester City fans were not happy about having a former member of the Luftwaffe on the team. Season ticket holders threatened a boycott, and various groups in Manchester and around the country bombarded the club with protest letters. In addition to this difficulty, Trautmann was replacing the recently retired Frank Swift, one of the greatest keepers in the club's history. Though privately expressing doubts about the signing, club captain Eric Westwood, a Normandy veteran, made a public display of welcoming Trautmann by announcing, "There's no war in this dressing room". Trautmann made his first team debut on 19 November against Bolton Wanderers, and after a competent display in his first home match for the club, protests shrank, as fans discovered his talent. He continued to receive abuse from crowds at away matches, which affected his concentration in some of his early games; in December 1949, he conceded seven goals at Derby County.
City's match against Fulham in January 1950 was Trautmann's first visit to London. The match received widespread media attention, as the majority of the British press were based there; several leading sportswriters watched Trautmann in action for the first time. The heavy damage caused to the city by the Luftwaffe meant former paratrooper Trautmann was a target of hatred for the crowd, who yelled "Kraut" and "Nazi" at him. City were struggling in the league, and were widely expected to suffer a heavy defeat. However, a string of saves from Trautmann meant that the final score was a narrow 1–0 loss. Upon the final whistle, Trautmann received a standing ovation, and was applauded off the pitch by both sets of players. The Manchester City team continued to struggle throughout the season, and were relegated to the Second Division.
Successive cup finals 
Manchester City returned to the top flight on its first attempt, and in the following years Trautmann established himself as one of the best keepers in the league, playing all but five of his club's next 250 league matches. By 1952, his fame had spread to his home country, leading Schalke to offer Manchester City £1,000 for his services. The offer was flatly refused, the club responding that they thought Trautmann to be worth twenty times more.
In the mid-1950s, Manchester City manager Les McDowall introduced a new tactical system using a deep-lying centre-forward, which became known as the Revie Plan after Don Revie, who played the centre-forward role. The system depended on maintaining possession of the ball wherever possible, which required Trautmann to make use of his throwing ability. For goalkeepers of Trautmann's era, it was usual to kick the ball as far as possible downfield after making a save. By contrast, Trautmann, influenced by the Hungarian goalkeeper Gyula Grosics, sought to start attacks by throwing the ball to a wing-half, typically Ken Barnes or John McTavish. The wing-half would then pass to Revie, who developed the attack further. Using this system, the club reached the 1955 FA Cup Final, in which Trautmann became the first German to play in an FA Cup final. City faced Newcastle United, the winners of the cup in 1951 and 1952. Nerves affected the City players, and they went behind to a Jackie Milburn goal after only 45 seconds. Further problems were caused by the loss of Jimmy Meadows to injury after 18 minutes, leaving City with 10 men. The man advantage meant Trautmann's ability to start attacks from throws was limited. Though City equalised in the first half, they struggled in the second, and after 57 minutes Trautmann was outwitted by Bobby Mitchell, who scored Newcastle's second goal. The match finished as a comfortable 3–1 win for Newcastle, and Trautmann gained only a runners-up medal.
Manchester City had another strong season in 1955–56, finishing fourth in the league and again reaching the FA Cup final, in which they faced Birmingham City. Trautmann was one of the team's most prominent performers. He had won the FWA Footballer of the Year Award, shortly before the 1956 cup final, the first goalkeeper to win the award. Two days later, Trautmann stepped out onto the Wembley pitch for the match that gained him worldwide acclaim. During the previous final, nervousness had contributed to the opposition scoring an early goal. The City team were more settled on this occasion however, and scored an early goal themselves, a left-footed strike by Joe Hayes. Birmingham equalised on 14 minutes. The match remained level until midway through the second half, when Jack Dyson and Bobby Johnstone scored two goals in as many minutes to give Manchester City a 3–1 lead. Birmingham attacked strongly in the next ten minutes. In the 75th minute, Trautmann, diving at an incoming ball, was knocked out in a collision with Birmingham's Peter Murphy in which he was hit in the neck by Murphy's right knee. No substitutes were permitted, so Trautmann, dazed and unsteady on his feet, carried on. For the remaining 15 minutes he defended his net, making a crucial interception to deny Murphy once more. Manchester City held on for the victory, and Trautmann was the hero of the final because of his spectacular saves in the last minutes of the match.
His neck continued to cause him pain, and Prince Philip commented on its crooked state as he gave Trautmann his winner's medal. Trautmann attended that evening's post-match banquet despite being unable to move his head, and went to bed expecting the injury to heal with rest. As the pain did not recede, the following day he went to St George's Hospital, where he was told he merely had a crick in his neck which would go away. Three days later, he got a second opinion from a doctor at Manchester Royal Infirmary. An X-ray revealed he had dislocated five vertebrae in his neck, the second of which was cracked in two. The third vertebra had wedged against the second, preventing further damage which could have cost Trautmann his life.
Recovery from injury 
Trautmann's convalescence took several months, resulting in him missing a large part of the 1956–57 season. Jack Savage deputised during his absence. At the start of December, Trautmann played two reserve matches, but lacked confidence. He was restored to the first team on 15 December for a match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but conceded three goals. He continued to struggle to regain his form in the remainder of the season, leading to some calls from fans and media for him to retire. Others criticised the club, believing that Trautmann had been forced to play while still not fully recovered from injury.
The 1957–58 season was an unusual one for Manchester City, who became the first and thus far only English team to both score and concede 100 goals in a season. Trautmann played in 34 of these matches, and though he did not play in the 9–2 defeat to West Bromwich Albion, an 8–4 defeat to Leicester City was a record for the most goals conceded by Trautmann in a match in his career, and in the entire season he kept only two clean sheets.
He appeared in 545 matches for City during the 15-year period between 1949 and 1964.
In 1964, he finished his career with a testimonial in front of an official crowd of 47,000, though the actual figure was estimated to be closer to 60,000. Trautmann captained a special joint Manchester City & Manchester United XI that included Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, against an England team that included Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield.
International football 
Though recognised as one of the leading goalkeepers of his era, he never played for his native country. Trautmann met with German national coach Sepp Herberger in 1953, who explained that travel and political implications prevented him from selecting a player who was not readily available, and that he could only consider including Trautmann if he were playing in a German league. Consequently, Trautmann's international isolation prevented him from playing in the 1954 World Cup, in which his countrymen were victorious. Trautmann's only experience of international football came in 1960, when the Football League decided to include non-English players to represent the Football League in representative matches for the first time. Trautmann captained the League against the Irish League, and also played against the Italian League.
Later career 
After leaving City, Trautmann played briefly for Wellington Town, who offered him £50 per match. Age had diminished his abilities, but his debut at Hereford showed he still had the ability to draw crowds. However, he was sent off at Tonbridge for violent conduct in his second match, and never played again.
Style of play 
Trautmann excelled at shot-stopping, particularly penalties, saving 60% of those he faced over the course of his career. Manchester United manager Matt Busby went so far as to mention Trautmann's anticipation in his pre-match team talks: "Don't stop to think where you're going to hit it with Trautmann. Hit it first and think afterwards. If you look up and work it out he will read your thoughts and stop it." Similar sentiments were expressed by Manchester City midfielder Neil Young, who recalled that "the only way to beat him with a shot in training was to mis-hit it". As a former handball player, Trautmann was adept at throwing the ball long distances, an attribute he used to start attacking moves, particularly after witnessing Hungarian goalkeeper Gyula Grosics use such tactics to good effect in Hungary's 6–3 victory over England in 1953.
Trautmann found it difficult to accept criticism, and he allowed only close friends to suggest changes to his game. He occasionally dwelt on mistakes to the detriment of his concentration, a tendency his friend Stan Wilson called "picking at daisies". A short temper also caused occasional problems; he was sent off on more than one occasion.
Coaching career 
After a couple of months pondering his future career plans, he received a telephone call from Stockport County chairman Victor Bernard, who offered him the position of general manager. Stockport were a struggling lower league team with a small budget, and Trautmann's appointment was an attempt to improve the image of the club. Many people in the local area supported one of the two Manchester clubs, so to stimulate interest Trautmann and Bernard decided to move matches to Friday evenings, when neither Manchester club would be playing. This improved revenue, but the team continued to struggle. Trautmann resigned in 1966 following a disagreement with Bernard. From 1967 to 1968, he was the manager of the German team Preußen Münster, taking them to a 13th-place finish in the Regionalliga West, following which he had a short spell at Opel Rüsselsheim.
The German Football Association then sent him as a development worker to countries without national football structures. His first posting was in Burma, where he spent two years as the national coach, qualifying for the Olympics in 1972, and winning the President's Cup, a tournament contested by southeast Asian countries, later that year. His work subsequently took him to Tanzania, Liberia, Pakistan and Yemen, until 1988, when he retired and settled in Spain.
Legacy and influence 
Over the course of his career, Trautmann received many plaudits from leading football figures. Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin, himself considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, believed that Trautmann and himself were the "only ... two world-class goalkeepers".
Trautmann's idiosyncratic style of play also had an influence on budding young goalkeepers at the height of his career. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson names Trautmann as his boyhood hero, and Gordon Banks cited him as an influence on his playing style.
Media outlets have since recognised Trautmann's reputation, with Trautmann placed unofficially as the 19th greatest goalkeeper of all-time by the Daily Mail. ESPN consider Trautmann as one of the greatest FA Cup goalkeepers, with Trautmann representing Manchester City in two consecutive FA Cup finals in 1955 and 1956 while his lunge at Peter Murphy's feet to grasp the ball in the 1956 FA Cup Final is rated as the greatest FA Cup save – a save that broke Trautmann's neck.
In November 1995, Trautmann returned to Maine Road to open the rebuilt Kippax Stand. However, the stand was gone within a decade; Maine Road closed in May 2003 with the relocation of the club to the City of Manchester Stadium, and the stadium was demolished the following year.
Personal life 
Trautmann married a Manchester woman, Margaret Friar, in 1950, but they divorced in the 1960s. The couple had three children, John, Mark and Stephen. John, his firstborn son, was killed in a car accident a few months after the FA Cup Final in 1956, aged five. According to Trautmann, his wife's struggle to come to terms with the loss ultimately resulted in the breakup of their marriage. He also has a daughter from a previous relationship from whom he was estranged for many years. He married Ursula Van der Heyde, a German national, while living in Burma in the 1970s, but divorced in 1982. Since 1990, Trautmann has lived with his third wife Marlis in a small bungalow on the Spanish coast near Valencia. He has since helped found the Trautmann Foundation, which aims to use his example to improve Anglo-German relations through football.
Trautmann still follows Manchester City and occasionally visits Manchester to watch Manchester City play, as he did in April 2010. Trautmann said during his visit, "I watch all City's games on TV, they're still my club", and added, "I love England too and still shout for them – even if they're playing Germany!"
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Further reading 
- Harris, N. (2006). The Foreign Revolution. How Overseas Footballers Changed the English Game. London: Aurum Press Ltd.
- Ramsden, J. (2006). Don't Mention the War. The British and the Germans since 1890. London: Little, Brown Book Group.
- Streppelhoff, R. (2009). Zwei Deutsche in England: Die Fußballkarrieren von Bernd Trautmann und Alois Eisenträger. In Peiffer, L. (Hrsg.), SportZeiten. Sport in Geschichte, Kultur und Gesellschaft. (S. 33–51). Göttingen: Werkstatt
- Clay, Catrine (2010). Trautmann's Journey: from Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend. Yellow Jersey.
- The Trautmann Foundation
- Bert Trautmann, video clip of FA cup Final 1956: BBC Motion Gallery
- English Football Hall of Fame profile
- Bert Trautmann in the Museum of Goalkeeping
- Bert Trautmann @ Goalkeeping Greats