E.ON Great Saves No.1: Bert Trautmann
FA Cup final, May 5, 1956
Goals from Joe Hayes, Bobby Johnstone and Jack Dyson saw Manchester City get their hands on the famous trophy for a third time. But it was the remarkable heroics of former Prisoner of War Bert Trautmann for which this FA Cup final will forever be remembered.
Joe Hayes (3)
Bobby Johnstone (62)
Jack Dyson (64)
Noel Kinsey (15)
FA Cup final,
May 5, 1956
Wembley, Referee: Alf Bond, Fulham, Att: 100,000
Manchester City were leading 3-1 with 73 minutes on the clock, when Birmingham forward Peter Murphy outpaced his marker and looked certain to set up a grandstand finale. But Bert Trautmann had other ideas, as the City stopper came tearing out of his goal and dived bravely at the feet of Murphy to win the ball.
Trautmann suffered a sickening blow to the neck from the right knee of Murphy in the process, knocking him unconscious. Several minutes of treatment ensued before Trautmann unsteadily returned to his feet and insisted on playing out the remainder of the match.
Trautmann, clearly suffering from the clash, then proceeded to thwart Birmingham on a number of occasions, with his crowning glory a typically brave dive at the feet of Murphy which ensured the match remained 3-1. The stop was made all the more impressive when, three days later, Trautmann discovered he had played out the game with a broken neck.
After serving as a German paratrooper during the Second World War, Trautmann was captured by the British and sent to a Prisoner of War camp at Ashton in Makerfield, near Wigan. It was there Trautmann honed his football skills in camp matches, first as an outfield player, before an injury saw him try his hand at goalkeeping. Trautmann proved a natural between the sticks and joined local team St Helens once the war ended, where he impressed so much that First Division Manchester City handed him a contract in 1949. Despite fierce opposition to the signing of an ex-POW, Trautmann soon became a fans' favourite and his heroics in the FA Cup final cemented his status as a City legend.
The forward had netted five times in Birmingham's run to the final, but could find no way past an inspired Trautmann at Wembley. Bearing down on goal with 17 minutes left, Murphy seemed certain to drag his team back into the match but didn't bargain on Trautmann diving head-first at his feet to prevent him from pulling the trigger. Despite Trautmann suffering immense pain for the remainder of the game, Murphy was again thwarted late on by the incredibly brave City stopper.
Did You Know...?
When Trautmann joined Manchester City in October 1949, more than 20,000 people attended a demonstration to express anger over the club’s decision to sign the former AXIS paratrooper. Fifteen years later Trautmann was handed a testimonial by City, where a crowd in excess of 47,000 paid tribute to him.
Trautmann was the first German to play in an FA Cup final when he appeared for Manchester City against Newcastle in 1955. A year later he became the first German to win the competition and, in 1956, was also the first goalkeeper – and foreigner - to win the Football Writers' Footballer of the Year award.
In 2004 he was appointed an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for promoting Anglo-German understanding through football.
What Happened Next
A few months after the final, tragedy struck for Trautmann when his first-born son John was killed in a car crash at the age of five. Trautmann was also forced to spend a lengthy period out of the game due to his neck injury, missing most of the 1956-57 season. He eventually managed to regain full fitness, however, and remained at Maine Road until 1964 - making 545 appearances for the club over 15 years.
This season E.ON is celebrating Great Saves - great energy saves at home and great goalkeeping saves on the pitch. To win an exciting range of football prizes, with everything from signed football and shirts to a set of four family tickets at the FA Cup final go to eongreatsaves
We want your help to grow the MirrorFootball.co.uk archive! Leave your comments about this piece of football history by clicking on the 'Your Memories' tab above. Tell us who or what you'd like to see covered in the MirrorFootball.co.uk archive by emailing email@example.com