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Trautmann hopes Man City's time has come again

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Chris Bevan | 23:00 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011

Bert Trautmann will be at his home near Valencia when his beloved Manchester City take on Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. He would like to watch the game but won't be able to as he does not subscribe to any of the satellite TV channels showing the match in Spain.

But if City do beat the odds - and their red neighbours - to set up a return to Wembley for the final next month, then the spritely 87-year-old does not want to miss a thing.

For a man synonymous with FA Cup folklore, a return to the scene of his legendary triumph in 1956 is long overdue. The Nazi paratrooper turned prisoner of war turned heroic goalkeeper, who broke his neck in that year's final but famously played on, has not been back since the ground was rebuilt and, more poignantly, has never been invited to a major final by City since he retired in 1964.

In fairness, there have been no opportunities in the 30 years since City's last FA Cup final, against Spurs in 1981, but City's visits to Wembley for showpiece games in the late 1960s and 1970s were a lot more frequent.

Like many other Blues fans, Trautmann is hopeful Saturday will be the first of many more but he is not overly optimistic about City's prospects this weekend.

Bert Trautmann broke his neck diving at the feet of Birmingham forward Peter Murphy

Trautmann broke his neck diving at the feet of Birmingham forward Peter Murphy. Photo: Getty

The talent in City's squad is not in doubt but their resolve is. Anyone who witnessed the abject collapse at Anfield on Monday would recognise that manager Roberto Mancini is lacking men like the German in his squad, players that would literally put their neck on the line for their club.

"When I have seen City this season, they are always missing passion," Trautmann told me. "Their players should be dying for the game, dying for Manchester and dying for the club. That is what they are missing.

"Saturday is a derby, so it will be full of tension but when I came off the field I wanted to be half-dead, absolutely drained of everything. I don't think that is the case anymore."

Those cracked vertebrae from 55 years ago are the reason Trautmann can talk with much more authority than any pundit or journalist when it comes to questioning commitment and bravery. He was knocked out by the collision with Birmingham forward Peter Murphy's knee but, when he came round, saw out the final 16 minutes, making some superb late saves to ensure City triumphed.

Perhaps someone should show Mario Balotelli and co the Pathe News footage of that incident and tell the whole squad the extraordinary tale of Trautmann's earlier life, which took him from Hitler Youth to the Luftwaffe and the atrocities of the Eastern Front, where he won an Iron Cross. It is some story, brilliantly told in Catrine Clay's biography, which was released last year.

I knew from reading that book that Trautmann likes to tell it how it is, even if his honesty, whether it be about his involvement in the war or some of his relationships in England afterwards, does not always paint himself in a favourable light.

An affable and engaging interviewee, he is just as forthright when we discuss City's current side, although he does have some sympathy for Mancini.

"It is a difficult position because City are measured by the money they have available," Trautmann, who played more than 500 games for the club between 1949 and 1964, said. "Then they have to buy players with inflated prices and wages. Some of them can hardly run and I am told they are on more than £200,000 a week.

"Today, on that sort of money, I couldn't tell you if I would have been the same player. It is very different. You could say it is more difficult to score goals today because teams are more defensive-minded and they don't want to lose games. But in our day we earned £10 a week and we went out to win games because we depended on the £2 bonus."

So what are City lacking? "I don't want to want to criticise the manager," Trautmann said with a laugh, knowing he was about to do just that. "But there is one thing this City team really needs and that is a schemer. There is no Don Revie, nobody in their midfield demanding the ball and making things happen.

"With the calibre of players in their side, they should be doing better. Compare them to United, who are always good for goals. United attack all the time and they get their reward. Look at their win at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League as an example."

In the absence of the injured Carlos Tevez at the weekend, City might be relying on the fragile temperament of 20-year-old Balotelli against United. Providing he cuts out his petulance, Trautmann thinks the young Italian can still come good.

"I know Balotelli is one of the 'bad boys' but there is nothing wrong with that," he explained. "We had one or two players who had a bit of a temper, like Ivor Broadis. I think all really good players have a bit of an edge. Wayne Rooney has got it, too, although he can be stupid sometimes. But you do need to have that desire."

Trautmann is helped off the field after his 1956 FA Cup final triumph

Trautmann is helped off the field after his 1956 FA Cup final triumph. Photo: Getty

Trautmann's talk about City's prospects is peppered with mentions of players from the club's past - ex-team-mates like Broadis or Revie, who would go on to be a controversial England manager but at Wembley 55 years ago was a somewhat revolutionary deep-lying centre-forward operating in what we would now call 'the hole'.

Trautmann's memories of that game are a snapshot of a top footballer's life in that era. He recalls that his pre-match routine for the final involved a meal of poached egg on toast and an early night, "which meant that in my head I had already played the game on Friday night", and that his neck, which was not discovered to have been broken until three days after the game, ruined his night out afterwards.

"I was not in any state to celebrate after the game," he told me. "I just sat there with a bit of a headache and I was not very happy."

A lot has changed since then. In those days, the nation stopped to follow the final. This year, even the Premier League will continue, with at least three top-flight games taking place on 14 May. The diminishing status of the FA Cup is something that Trautmann regrets but can understand.

"I think we are talking about money now," he said. "That is what it boils down to. How much do you get for reaching the Cup final at Wembley and how much do you get for being in the Champions League? It is nowhere near as much for reaching the Cup final. If you asked any chairman, then they might say they prefer Wembley. But, being honest, they would go for the Champions League, wouldn't they?

"It's sad because, for me, football is about glory and winning things. That is not the case so much for others anymore. It is all about the money."

During the course of my blogs on the FA Cup this season, I have tried to cover many of the aspects that I think made the competition great during Trautmann's time - some of which still hold true in the present day.

Through the tears of FC United fans when their side reached the first round proper for the first time, I saw the emotional power the Cup still has for many people, while Leyton Orient's exploits demonstrated the huge financial impact the competition can have on a club in the lower leagues.

I have written about the magic that rejuvenated Dover's former Arsenal striker Adam Birchall and the romance that keeps Torquay keeper Scott Bevan dreaming of a career-defining moment. Sadly, he did not manage it this season, missing out on a trip to Old Trafford despite saving two penalties in the fourth round.

There are always going to be disagreements about the future of the competition - as I found out before the quarter-finals - but you cannot dispute its rich history. Inspirational tales like Trautmann's should remind all players, pampered or otherwise, that the Cup is something worth fighting for.

Who will prevail in Saturday's battle? We have to wait and see. But the nostalgic amongst you might be siding with Trautmann. United fans eyeing a second treble in 12 years will disagree but I think it would be fitting if one of the greatest FA Cup heroes of the 20th century gets to see his side compete in their first final of the 21st century.

Does Trautmann think City will book an instant Wembley return? Possibly. "You always need a little bit of luck in the Cup - and City will need a lot against United," he said. "But, being a Blue, I hope they will be in the final - and that I will be going, too."

You can follow me throughout the season on Twitter @chrisbevan_bbc

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Mr Trautmann was polite, telling us the truth in the mean time. Have some Balotelli's of City to be made to have a chat with him and might learn something in their lives. The same though goes to more than players involved in this new era for City.

    "It's sad because, for me, football is about glory and winning things. That is not the case so much for others anymore. It is all about the money."

    "It is a difficult position because City are measured by the money they have available," Trautmann said. "Then they have to buy players with inflated prices and wages. Some of them can hardly run and I am told they are on more than £200,000 a week.

    It's not really necessary to add text as a football fan. Speaks volumes.

  • Comment number 2.

    Bert Trautmann a true legend of football, one of the greatest goalkeepers ever and a fascinating life story. I'm not a man city fan but I would love to see him cheering on city in the final at wembley.

  • Comment number 3.

    They don't make them like Bert anymore!

    The man speaks the truth about the state of the game too.

    Love to see him at the final if we make it. CTID

  • Comment number 4.

    A true legend.

  • Comment number 5.

    Wow had no idea of the in's and out's of his career/life being a post winning anything whatsoever city fan! We need more of the likes of him at CITY...unlikely I would imagine. Still looking forward to Sat...not out the question.

  • Comment number 6.

    "It is a difficult position because City are measured by the money they have available," Trautmann said. "Then they have to buy players with inflated prices and wages. Some of them can hardly run and I am told they are on more than £200,000 a week."

    Maybe its time to start capping player's wages.
    Could that rekindle the fire that is so sadly missing in the top tier of football?
    Any commercial manager will tell you that money is not the best motivator.
    So, why not make it that the current bunch of flower-pressing money-grabbers are motivated by wearing their team's colours and not the colour their team's money.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think it is constantly unfair that City have to play against all the other teams in this competition that don't spend a penny on any of their players and those players also play for free. Come on BBC use another angle for once.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ 6, The Scuba God,

    "Maybe its time to start capping player's wages.
    Could that rekindle the fire that is so sadly missing in the top tier of football?"

    First, the F.A. Cup final ticket has had a rise of 22% in price, in one year only.
    The Champions League final tickets range from £80 to £300.
    And yet, the first thought is that famous capping players' wages.

    Instant thought: top European players would prefer other countries to play football. Automatically, top four clubs would have a disadvantage in attracting top talent. Of course, this is music to the ears of mid table clubs, but top clubs in England would never allow to happen. And they would be right, anyway, because talent in entertainment gets top money in every entertainment business and football is the most profitable one.

  • Comment number 9.

    Maybe City could have dug into their bottomless pockets and invited this man to the semi-final, providing a fitting tribute amongst the backdrop of the Manchester derby. There's a chance city may not even reach the final and Trautmann missing out on seeing his beloved club play at Wembley again.

  • Comment number 10.

    @ 9, James,

    that's a very good thought actually.

    Arsenal, in a public relations exercise, flew a young Indian fan to The Emirates, giving him full, VIP treatment. I'm sure it helped their cause in attracting worldwide fans, with all the commercial implications, coming with that.

    There is nothing that City need more than team bonding and having their stars knowing that, the team they play for, had stars in the past who would give everything for the club and the shirt they were wearing on match day - especially after coming from such a performance in Anfield.

    I'm wandering no one in their board thought of that first. After all, it's a semi final after donkeys years for City.

  • Comment number 11.

    Is Trautmann the only person in history to have received both the Iron Cross from the German army during the war and an OBE in the UK afterwards? Certainly sounds unique to me.

    And, by the way, your "Nazi paratrooper" reference is unfair. Not every German soldier was a Nazi, just like not every British soldier in Afghanistan is a fan of the UK government. "German paratrooper" would do him more justice.

  • Comment number 12.

    As a very young man, I went to watch Bert Trautmann play in a testimonial game at Goodison Park. A centre forward called Dave Hickson was playing for Everton and had his back to goal but with only Trautmann to beat. I can still see it in my mind today, whilst Hickson was turning, Trautmann had anticipated and was diving. By the time Hickson shot he hit straight into the chest of the goalkeeper. That one remarkable save has stayed with me to this day! City owe this legend a top seat and dinner if they get to Wembley, he deserves nothing less.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thats what I thought, personally I could care less but with all the talk of City's lack of team spirit, a PR stunt like this would be the perfect way to build a storm around the city camp and try create an air of nostaglia if you will within their team.

    It's something United have done for as long as I can remember, theres always some form of ex player or club legend attendinig the games at Old Trafford, this, I think can only be of positive affect to the players and the fans.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 13, James

    Let's keep it a secret :)

  • Comment number 16.

    The greatest goalkeeper I have ever seen.

    In the 1956 Cup Final he was truly awesome playing through the game with a broken neck yet not pulling out of dives at forward's feet. Bravery beyond belief.

    Bob Wilson had him as his special guest on This is Your Life and paid tribute to the best goalkeeper he had ever seen.

    Bert Trautmann....the Greatest Goalkeeper the World has known ..and then some.

    Dignified, honourable and truthfull, qualities which current footballers can only pay lip service to

  • Comment number 17.

    15. At 09:19am 15th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:
    @ 13, James

    Let's keep it a secret :)

    -------------

    I agree, but could be a bit late now..............should have kept my mouth (or fingers) shut!!

  • Comment number 18.

    The Bert Trautmann'story is touching and really shows what football should be all about - glory of winning games and medals but not money! He is a true legend. While many people would love Trautmann to be at Wembly to watch the finals one has to be aware of the hunger and unquencheable desire that Sir Alex Ferguson has put in his players. Even without the inform Rooney, City would really have to dig deep to make Trautmann happy. May be Mancini may have to tell this story over and over again before the match on Saturday.

  • Comment number 19.

    Perhaps my all-time favourite museum object was in the National Football Museum at Preston, labelled simply 'Bert Trautman's Neck Brace'. It speaks volumes, on the man, on football before the modern era, and indeed on 1950s medical treatment!

    Always thought it would make a good name for a band, too.

  • Comment number 20.

    Tell Bert that it is on Canal plus. It is also on british terrestial though. Failing that get the beeb and Citeh to give him a computer for the day and watch it online. Or better still organise a cab to take him to any Brit bar!

  • Comment number 21.

    Bert would put all the players to shame. The man played with a broken neck for goodness sake! Half this bunch wouldn't play with a broken toenail.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think his comments say it all about why the sport of 'football' is dying, if not dead already. As a season ticket holder at my Club for many years I can say with certainty that my own motivation for football has fallen markedly and the same applies for many others over the last 7-10 years too. Its a game nowadays in many people's minds who used to consider supporting a Club to be a 'mission' as now something to go to when it suits, when funds are available and if the opposition merits the cost.

    The money factor that Trautmann speaks of and the distance between Clubs, players and fans is ever widening and so is the tolerance for lack lustre players who go through the motions. All Clubs have them and the fans know who they are. Quite rightly so too.

  • Comment number 23.

    @13 James

    "theres always some form of ex player or club legend attendinig the games at Old Trafford"

    Shock, horror!! - this also happens at Eastlands too James as I have met many of them on match days.............

  • Comment number 24.

    Bert would put all the players to shame. The man played with a broken neck for goodness sake! Half this bunch wouldn't play with a broken toenail.

    ===============================================================

    Sums it up perfectly !!

    And they have more chance breaking their necks falling off their wallets rather than at the feet on an oncoming forward.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'll agree with you on that as I was fortunate (or unlucky depending on how you look at it) to be at city's last game at main road where I myself got to see Dennis Law and a few others. But what I'm getting at is that at Old trafford you get the sense Man United embrace all the club history and past players, it adds to the atmosphere and is probably one of the reasons we are where we are this year cos for the vast majority it's not been our football. Do you have that same sense for the current City team, most outsiders looking in would probably agree to the lack of team spirit, unity or whatever you want to call it?

  • Comment number 26.

    Chris - You talk about football greats/legends, this is one man who stands out on his own. Bert Trautmann often played teams on his own for Man City. Not just his heroics in the Wembley final, but almost every week. At Maine road in the mid sixties, he made the best save I have ever seen by a goalkeeper against Leicester City, to keep Man City in the (old) first Division. Having saved one shot, he was on his knees in the corner of the goal when the second shot came in and he somehow lept, off his knees turned and twisted in the air and punch the ball onto the crossbar - just at that moment Aston Villa, who were playing elsewhere, conceded a goal, subsequently drew their game and were relegated instead of Man City. I was a United fan watching that game, because Bert Trautmann had made an appeal to United fans to come and support City, in the their last games, and we did in our thousands, because Bert asked - probably wouldn't happen today, but I will never forget it!

  • Comment number 27.

    Not every German who fought during the Second World War was a Nazi. You should check your facts before you label someone; you may have broken your own House Rules!

  • Comment number 28.

    22. At 10:56am 15th Apr 2011, Bergysdeftflicks wrote:
    I think his comments say it all about why the sport of 'football' is dying, if not dead already. As a season ticket holder at my Club for many years I can say with certainty that my own motivation for football has fallen markedly and the same applies for many others over the last 7-10 years too. Its a game nowadays in many people's minds who used to consider supporting a Club to be a 'mission' as now something to go to when it suits, when funds are available and if the opposition merits the cost.

    The money factor that Trautmann speaks of and the distance between Clubs, players and fans is ever widening and so is the tolerance for lack lustre players who go through the motions. All Clubs have them and the fans know who they are. Quite rightly so too.
    ______________________________

    The answer is obvious - stop supporting the money boys and support the small local team instead.

    That's were football lives!

  • Comment number 29.

    # 27,

    wouldn't it better if you didn't include the reference to WWII ?
    Perhaps for the writer of the article it was unavoidable.

  • Comment number 30.

    Mr Hag (28). Ive heard that view, though i dont agree with it at all. Having played to a decent level and being involved until a few years back with a local Club in my old small town of i can say that the attitudes of players towards money is the same, but just at a different level of expectation from the top teams players. The game lower down is no more 'honest' as you rather naively allude to than it is at the top.

  • Comment number 31.

    # 28, mr_hag,

    "The answer is obvious - stop supporting the money boys and support the small local team instead. "


    If you look at what you have affection for, whatever the issue, in your own life, you will end up to the following conclusion: the more you learn about the issue in hand, you will always be looking at one level higher than what you're looking before, after some period of time.

    The same happens with football, too. And the last step is the Premier League, in England.

  • Comment number 32.

    I'd like to correct one thing in the article. Burt did go to the 1981 Cup Final. I know because I had the pleasure of meeting him beforehand. He was with Bobby Charlton. Burt signed my match programme (as did Bobby).

    Just finished reading the Caterine Clay biography of Burt. A really good read for anyone City fan or not. In fact the book is more about his life before football. So much I learnt about the war from a German perspective. War historians let alone football fans would find it a riveting read.

    If Burt reads these comments - good luck and good health!

  • Comment number 33.

    I may not be old enough to remember Bert Trautmann's playing days, but I remember very clearly being told his legend as a kid. What a guy.

    Maybe if you want to get the players caring about whether they win or lose the clubs should start paying them only in bonuses. Commission-based sportsmen.

  • Comment number 34.

    Bert Trautmann - top man! If you read his biography you'll find that he was a member of the Hitler youth, which was pretty much necessary if you wanted to avoid severe discrimination from the authorities in Germany at the time, but he confesses to enjoying it and believing the ideals he was fed from on high.

    That's the measure of the man - he tells his story warts and all with no apologies. I wish we had someone, anyone, at Eastlands like him now.

  • Comment number 35.

    I was 12 during that FA Cup final. I am not a city fan but the very mention of Bert Trautmann raises the hairs on the back of my neck-a courageous and wonderful goalkeeper who I wish will be invited to Wembley for the semi-final between city & united or, if city win, in the final.

  • Comment number 36.

    I saw that game. I'm old enough. When I was a kid, my hero was Bert Trautmann, although I was a Port Vale fan. Well, I still had my health, anyway. You follow the team you were born with. Like ducks.
    But Bert was my hero when I was old enough to really understand the game. And he wasn't just heroic, or good. He changed the game. There had never been a goalkeeper like him, who thought like him. Defenses play the way they play now because of Bert Trautmann. Allow me to be the old fart.
    Before Bert, goalies caught the ball, bounced it a couple of times and then toe-ended it, with their metal-toed heavy boots, as far as they could kick it. In fact, goalies were partly judged on the length of their kicks. This was with the old, wet, heavy leather ball - which might have had a chain attached to it, I forget. Defenses had the same mentality. Boot it as far out as you can. Bert changed all that.
    Bert caught the ball, and had worked with his backs and half-backs - in fact the whole team in practice - to start a planned attacking move from the back, with him initiating it, instead of just giving the ball away and hoping the forwards got it.
    You would see - for the first time - a goalie catch the ball and roll it into the path of the forward-running backs, so that suddenly, catching everybody unaware, they would become wingers, or would pass it forward to wingers or to inside forwards - they played 5 forwards in those days - and a move was on. From nowhere. Completely unexpected. Until later, when everybody copied Bert, and everybody realized that this was - of course - the way to play, and suddenly everything changed.
    So he initiated things in England that were already becoming common in Europe, and dragged us into the modern era.
    And what moves he had as just a pure goalie, forget his tactics! A great leaper and extremely agile and athletic, and brave as you want. Remember, in those days bravery was a huge part of top-level goalkeeping. You could still legally bundle a goalie over the line even if both his feet were off the ground, and knock him senseless and it would be a goal. No foul.
    Plus, his rolls and throws were so varied and so spectacular. Such a stud, this guy. He could throw it with one arm, with 100% accuracy, as far as some guys could kick it. So you would watch - if the other side was firing a lot of stuff at him - a series of catches followed by all kinds of rolls, throws and overhead 'throw-in' chucks. And the City defense was totally attuned and practiced to the nth degree, so Bert would always catch a guy on the run, even nearly all the way to the halfway line - not offside when the throw was made, of course, a well-oiled machine.
    That's why they were so good.
    That plus Don Revie, freaking everybody out by NOT being a center-forward despite the 9 on his back, and flummoxing everybody while freeing up the other 4 forwards to make something happen. City were good, different, and right about everything, as it turned out.
    I don't know if it was Trautmann himself who initiated this. There were a couple of smart people there at the time. But the way he combined superb anticipation with pure athleticism, allowing him to throw that heavy ball around like a toy, and the grace with which he pulled these moves, I have to think it was largely Bert.
    And he wore a flash yellow jersey. Nobody ever had before. Goalie jerseys had always been green. That did it for me. I was nine. I was impressionable. I wanted to be a goalie.

  • Comment number 37.

    Trautmann still follows Manchester City and occasionally visits Manchester to watch Manchester City play, as he did in April 2010.[62] Trautmann said during his visit that he watches all of Manchester City's matches: "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.....from wikipedia so bert does still attend matches maybe he is just after a freebie

  • Comment number 38.

    Bert Trautmann should address Man City's players in the dressing room at Wembley, tell them to stick their wallets where the sun doesn't shine and play with their heart and soul for Manchester City FC.

    Don't let Mancini anywhere near the team, lock him in a shed in Levenshulme for the day. The players don't like him and that goes for most of the fans as well.

    He ruined City's top 4 chances last year and will do the same this year as well. Grounhog Day.

    Let Bert talk to the players and let's restore some pride to the team.

  • Comment number 39.

    I was in the 30,000 plus crowd when Manchester City played at Southend in the third round of the Cup in 1956. It had rained all night and the pitch was an absolute quagmire. This gave the advantage to the lower division home team that day and they played City clean off the park, except City scored on a deflected shot, and Burt Trautmann did the rest. I have never seen a greater performance by a goalkeeper, one save iin particular, when he turned in mid-air to turn a goal-bound Roy Hollis headed round the post, was magnificent.

    We went away scratching our heads wondering how he had robbed us blind. I believe Burt spoke many years later as that being one of the best games he had ever had. City most certainly would have gone out that day, and would not have appeared in the Wembley Final but for him.

  • Comment number 40.

    Lovely article.

    Did it rally the troops?

    Not really.

    I dont totally agree about the lck of spirit in the CITY team.

    Kompany, DeJong, Richards, Silva, Tevez would die for the shirt.

    Look at Berbatov, he plays in a languid style but has been important for Man U this year. Balotelli plays in a similar style, looks lazy but on his day ca be highly effective.

    I think Utd will miss Rooney, both his work rate and distribution have been superb in the last month.

    DeJong is the key to CITY, if effective it will allow Silva to be at his creative best.

    Bert is great but I would like to pull names from a more recent era, Paul Power (stood in the Holt end wen he bent it better than Beckem) Gerry Gow, Bobby McDonold, Tommy Caton (RIP), Villa Park 1981 when we were 2nd favorites against Ipswhich and overcame the odds.

    In Trautmann we trust, In Mancini we trust, In CITY we believe.

  • Comment number 41.

    united r still too strong city keep buying players which they dont need, still finding their feet united r firm and strong at the front and will dominate the match

  • Comment number 42.

    My name is John Scott and I played in goal for Leeds United
    On Nov 4th 1950 I made my debut against Man City, Bert Truamann played
    for Man City that day. Bert went out of his way to wish me good luck
    in my first match. He was a true gentleman and was certainly one of
    the greats.

  • Comment number 43.

    Now then, thanks for all your comments so far.

    I'll start by showing you this, which is Trautmann's neck brace referred to in 19/
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/NpoTK9srRoiivsBBTFM-CA

    Quite a frightening piece of kit isn't it?! Oh, and Bert had a Man City fanzine named after him, so why not a band too!?!

    I definitely agree with those of you saying that there is no way Bert should miss the final, should City progress. In answer to 32/ Bert has been to a number of City games in the last few decades but his point was that City have never invited him along when they've reached Wembley (he must have gone under his own steam in 81), or even when they won the old European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970 in Austria. Time to put that right, I think.

    7/ I don't think this blog focuses on City's finances. As Bert says, it is unavoidable that their achievements are "measured by the money they have available". Fair enough?

    I particularly enjoyed the memories of 12/ 26/ 36/ and 39/ who saw Trautmann play. For younger fans and football followers blinkered by the Premier League generation, it is important to remember how good players in past eras were too, even if you can't watch clips of their best moments on YouTube...

  • Comment number 44.

    What a great article about a legend of a man. I bought his first autobiography in the 50's called "Steppes to Wembley". Even though a lifelong Bristol City fan, Bert Trautmann was among many heroes in my childhood and I well remember seeing the final against Birmingham City when he broke his neck. Like Alec Eisentrager at Bristol City, also a former POW, Bert was adored by his club's supporters and many others because he always gave 100% all of the time. Some of the modern "overpaid brigade" would do well to find the same attitude. Vielen Dank Bert und Alec. Cidered Abroad

  • Comment number 45.

    @40 - Tevez would die for the shirt? I don't think so he would give all for himself and his pay packet. Kompany and Richards maybe.

    With regard to Bert my dad always told me about him and also how as a prisoner of war he had been held at a camp nea rwhere he lived and he used to see him exercise and play football on the King george playing fields.He also told me that he had taken shots at him as a kid - with a ball not a rifle - though thats possibly just parents embellishing the tale. either way despite not being a City fan my dad always respected and had fond memories of Bert as a player and also a person.

    CITY SHOULD HAVE INVITED HIM TO WEMBLEY. SHEIKH HOLD YOUR HEAD IN SHAME. You obviously have bought a club badge and discarded its history

  • Comment number 46.

    My all time footballing hero. As a schoolboy I saw Bert play many times when City visited London, becoming a goalkeeper was a fine aspiration after Bert Trautmann.
    One of the greats of the game, he dominated his goal area in a manner you don't see much today.

  • Comment number 47.

    My mate Joe Corrigan recounted the time when he had just signed for City. When TJC was getting ready for his first match he suddenly noticed the room had gone dark .It was because Bert was stood near to him .He wished Joe all the best in his City career. Joe never forgot this and was his inspiration for his own magnificent career. Bert is trully a legend....just ask Joe.

  • Comment number 48.

    An interesting story and he seems -by reading the article- to be in quite a good shape for a 87-year old. Hopefully, his beloved club will not reach the final, however ;)

  • Comment number 49.

    My Dad first took me to Maine Road over 50 years ago, back in the days of Bert Trautmann. I also remember that 1956 FA Cup Final, watching with a crowd of family and neighbours watching on a small B&W TV. I have supported City ever since, through the ups and downs (more downs than ups), I cheered them on through all the poor owners (not much money) and all the poor managers (not much talent), through the best years with Mercer & Allison. I was on the terraces at St James Park when City won the Championship in 1968. I always hoped to see them win the EPL again in my life-time, always hoped we might give it our best shot in Europe.

    Over the years I have learned by experience to beware of false dawns, but I now have to say that this season that started with so much promise and so much money has just been frittered away by yet another poor manager. Mancini has not built a team here (don't believe what he tries to tell you). Mancini is assembling a squad which may eventually be capable to win Serie A.

    I said from the beginning he was OK as a caretaker manager for half a season, but he is not the man for the job for all the owners’ ambitions & expectations. After Monday at Liverpool, I put only 1/3 of the blame on the players, and I put 2/3 of the blame on Mancini's tactically naive approach, playing players out of position, trying to turn everyone into midfielders. I share Bert's frustration that the FA Cup is no longer the great competition it used to be, and that this team lacks team spirit.

  • Comment number 50.

    @ 49, PC_Oshawa_Ontario,

    You're quite right there.
    You don't ask the players to give their all because it's the first trophy for the club for many years. You don't ask the players to play well in a Premiership match because the club needs to win a top four position by the end of the season.

    What you do is demand it crystal clear and have no one unclear of the consequences if they don't apply themselves 101%. Perhaps this is where Manchester City and Manchester United differ most.

  • Comment number 51.

    Prior to the Sunderland game, the City Chairman apparently gave a morning team talk to inspire the players, and City went out and scored 5 goals (admittedly against a poor team) but the team spirit and attacking play was there for all to see. Mancini was apparently not pleased, he doesn't want players attacking and scoring and enjoying themselves, oh no, thats not the way in Serie A. Mancini is a poor man-manager and only motivates thru fear.

    Bert Trautmann was a guest at COMS earlier this season for a couple of days and spoke to the team. Just based on what Bert said in this interview, he should be asked back before another big game (or the Cup Final if they win the S/F tomorrow) as I am sure he could be inspirational. Mancini would not like that idea, but so what, as long as it inspires the players. Mancini doesn't have faith in the players, and they don't have faith in him and don't like him (most fans also). Let Bert talk to the players and let's restore some pride to the team.

  • Comment number 52.

    cup final used to be a great day, i rem going crackers when my dad got me a ticket for the spurs chelsea final of 67, great days.

  • Comment number 53.


    People who live in Spain have Freesat which gives most UK stations including ITV, the cost is so small around 200 pounds inc dish and box, and we do not have to pay for a tv licence in Spain. Bert is a legend and will bring so many happy memories to soccer supporters of old.....

  • Comment number 54.

    German paratrooper, evidently - but was he truly a [quote] Nazi paratrooper [unquote]? What is the reference for this assertion?

  • Comment number 55.

    49. At 21:42pm 15th Apr 2011, PC_Oshawa_Ontario wrote:

    Mancini is assembling a squad which may eventually be capable to win Serie A.

    and

    51. At 21:59pm 15th Apr 2011, PC_Oshawa_Ontario wrote:

    Prior to the Sunderland game, the City Chairman apparently gave a morning team talk to inspire the players...Mancini was apparently not pleased.

    ===========================================================

    Valid point at 49 PC. It still looks like he hasn't cottoned on that English opposition won't play the way he expects Italian opposition to. Having lived in Italy myself, I'm not convinced of his respect for our game. Despite the current plight of Italian football, I think he still believes they are the best, and always will be. He says the PL is the most 'difficult' league in the world, but not the best, Joe Hart can be the best keeper in England, but not anywhere else, you suspect, that has Italian keepers; Milner and Barry play when it looks like the game might be a battle, and his preferred place to shop for new players seems to be Serie A, where players are at home with his energy draining tedious tempo when a counter attack isn't on, but not with the 90 minute pressure cooker pace and intensity of English football, as Kolarov has possibly been showing (hope he scores a rocket today, mind you).

    Re: 51, I had been going to bring this up before, but didn't want to stoke the fire! That sounds to me like the Chairman didn't feel like RM was capable of inspiring the players (maybe that's why he wasn't pleased!), and therefore the writing's on the wall! A win today I think would help his cause. Lose, I think it will be the end sooner than we think!








  • Comment number 56.

    @ 55 Drooper_,

    I don't think Mancini is the man for the City future myself.
    Still, though, is it now the time to get rid of Mancini, only 6 matches before the end of the season, if City lose today?

    I'm pretty sure that he has a better chance than a new manager would have to win a top four position. It takes 5-6 matches for a new manager to realise the pluses and minuses of the squad he finds in a club.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    56# I've been mulling that over and over Football UK. Can he be entrusted with delivering the CL place? Win today, that will be the re-assurance the owners need. Lose, especially if it's badly, I think the owners will be looking at his record in the crucial games since his arrival, bearing in mind we'll probably need to be winning games, including away, rather than drawing, and they might seriously be weighing up the pros and cons of bringing in someone else. O'Neill, Benitez and Van Gaal are available, as far as I know. The former 2 would probably be ahead of Van Gaal, and I think Benitez would be the preferred gamble. Worth a bet?

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 58 Drooper_

    Besides supporting United, I strongly believe any of the managers you mentioned would be a better manager placement for City.

    The manager needs to be on top of the players.
    The manager doesn't ask but he demands.
    If a player misbehaves or doesn't apply himself, the manager reacts.
    So many negativity to talk about when it comes to a club of such potential.

    Any way, good luck to you today.

  • Comment number 60.

    Can already feel the build-up! Enjoy!

  • Comment number 61.

    I think Benitez would be the preferred gamble. Worth a bet? Are you a Man U fan ... :-)

    City have got a bunch of spoiled overpaid bigeds' .. what do you expect when the owners of the club actually buy players just so another Premier league can't get them .. I mean who else has that money to throw around .. O'Neil would,nt put up with it ,, but I do not believ he is truly top class . ... One of the Dutchmen I think ,,,

  • Comment number 62.

    I should hope the club bring Bert over for the final in the unlikely event of us winning today.

  • Comment number 63.

    61. At 12:06pm 16th Apr 2011, WasitovertheLine wrote:
    I think Benitez would be the preferred gamble. Worth a bet? Are you a Man U fan ... :-)

    City have got a bunch of spoiled overpaid bigeds' .. what do you expect when the owners of the club actually buy players just so another Premier league can't get them .. I mean who else has that money to throw around .. O'Neil would,nt put up with it ,, but I do not believ he is truly top class . ... One of the Dutchmen I think ,,,


    ___________________________________________________________________

    No, not a United fan. You make it sound like City are the only club with 'spoiled, overpaid bigeds'. And where's the evidence City, more than any other club, bought players to stop other clubs buying them? It's not like the old days before City became rich where you could have as big as squad as you liked. I'll give you Craig Bellamy, but he was already with City. You've been reading too much Sun.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think Craig Bellamy was great when playing for City, while I don't think he cost that much either.

  • Comment number 65.

    In the mean time, M1 is closed, so both sets of fans traveling from Manchester to Wembley will have some odyssey.

    Great work, F.A.
    Hats off to F.A. Cup semi finals taking off at Wembley, even if all participants are from the north

    LOL

  • Comment number 66.

    Along with the dignitaries' empty seats we're used to seeing at the kick off, it'll be interesting to see if there are any elsewhere in the stadium.

    Getting back to Craig Bellamy, if things do go the 'wrong way', I think RM's man management record will also come under the microscope and into the equation.

  • Comment number 67.

    @ 66, Drooper_,

    the reason I mentioned Bellamy was, given the recent reasons for negativity regarding attitude, he was giving everything for the City cause, scoring goals, running defenders on the wings, making a perfect, hard working pair with Tevez. I remember him causing us many troubles to say the least.

  • Comment number 68.

    He's definitely a big miss, for the reasons you state, but he's not beyond criticism. I haven't forgotten his carry on at the end of the Spurs game at the end of last season.

  • Comment number 69.

    Extraordinary how even young journos is the UK will use the Nazi slur.Thanks to all who reacted to this and pointed it out. Brilliant comments and much appreciated. Amazing how Man City can leave this real football legend sitting at home. Check out sometime how Bayern treats its stars of yesteryear. Good luck for a great game today and lots of respect to our friends in the UK.

  • Comment number 70.

    @69, germanyfan,

    I suppose if he hadn't mentioned it at all, non City fans would be on his case for that.
    Still, he didn't use malicious rhetorics.

  • Comment number 71.

    @69 and 70: It's an accurate statement, as best explained in reply 34.

    It's a measure of the man that not even the N word can taint his legacy. One of the true greats of the game.

    It's also a measure of post-war Britain that decent men who just happened to have been born in Germany in the 20s were able to move on with their lives in this country, despite the hardship that continued long after 1945.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 71, North North Watford Save 606,

    I would never argue against your statements.
    That was 1940-1945 and now we live in 2011.

  • Comment number 73.

    When Breedon Books published Bert's biography written by Alan Rowlands, I invited Bert over from Spain to do some promotional book signings. I acted as his chauffeur for three days and it was a very memorable experience.

    At WH Smith in Stockport, the queues stretched around the store and a great cheer erupted when he arrived. He signed books, photos, memorabilia (even a keel from a boat called the Trout-mann) and chatted to everyone there. He would not leave or take a break until everyone had been met or had their photo taken with him - not even for a cup of tea, a toilet break or a cigarette. Five hours after arriving we had seen everybody. He was over 80 years old at the time.

    It was incredible to see the affection that the City fans showed Bert throughout the whole signing tour. Whilst I was in the City cafe above the club superstore waiting for Bert's signing there to finish I overheard an elderly man reminiscing to his middle aged son about watching Bert. He was almost in tears because he had met Bert at last after supporting him on the terraces all those years.

    It was an absolute humbling experience and just from a little three day trip with Bert I can confirm that everything people say about him is true. A true gent, an outspoken yet fair minded man, and someone who deserves to be given as much recognition as he gets.

    There is also a really good article in 442 this month about him which is worth looking at.

    And a final point, City invited Bert, Alan Rowlands and myself to the match at Eastlands that weekend and treated him really well. Shame about the result - a 1-0 defeat by Bolton.

  • Comment number 74.

    I've just read your potted biography. Breaking your leg in two places was bad enough, but having it turned into flats must have been awful....

  • Comment number 75.

    Just went for a walk about around Wembley.
    About a million cans of beer must have been consumed.
    Disappointing.

  • Comment number 76.

    @ 70 Fraid 34 dosent explain much...Hitler Youth were children who got free uniforms and hiked and sang party songs and were fed a load of nonsense about race...reminds of some football fans!

  • Comment number 77.

    "The Nazi paratrooper turned prisoner of war turned heroic goalkeeper"
    An awful lot of people getting upset over this historic description . Read his autobiography , his citation for his Iron Cross and pride in it still . Trautman was an elite soldier , who escaped after been captured twice to continue his effort in the war , when eventually captured a third time , this time by British forces he was held as a cat C prisoner , a Nazi . Time , a couple of finals and rose tinted glasses may obscure this historically correct fact , but Chris Bevan is well read and does his research without blinkers .

  • Comment number 78.

    This article is wrong about Bert not being invited back to the stadium. Bert has been to Eastlands I was at the city vs Birmingham game when we won 5-1 and he was pitch side. He got presented with some gift by Given.

  • Comment number 79.

    As a goal keeper in my early teens, Bill was my hero. I always mention his name when asked who is my favourite keeper. Lost touch with Soccer when in Feb 53 I joined the Navy. I can at least now thank Bill for those great years. Hope you make it to the big game, I hope to be watching it over here in Canada, having moved here in 69.

  • Comment number 80.

    Well I'm a bit late, but in a way I'm happy for Trautman. I hope he enjoy's his day. I wonder however if anyone at the FA noticed Balotelli after the game. Neville got a ban, but as it was against United the FA will probably suggest he gets a knighthood.

  • Comment number 81.

    Re Derek Steed from Southend .... I was also at that Southend cup match and can still see his about turn in mid-air ... and I still don't believe what I saw ... the mud was terrible but Southend put on a tremendous display ... had it not been for Bert Trautman City would not have won the cup that year.

    Interesting point ... I think ... was that this 30,000 + crowd appreciated his performance ... no negatives from the men there - even though it was a short while from the end of the war. Men gave respect where it was due then I think.
    John Parkin

  • Comment number 82.

    I am 68 years old and live in North Carolina, I am still a toffee fan and follow them online. I was fourteen years old when I saw Bert play @ Maine road. I went from Dublin on the Ferry with my older brother who left me alone so he could go and see an old girlfriend. I went and some Man City fans lifted me up on the concrete edge of the stairs so I could see the match. I think it was the 6th round and after the match I was alone on one of the main streets in Manchester waiting for my brother and the train to Holyhead. (I was to meet him at the station at a certain time), I was watching telly in a store window. A Bobby came along and asked me what I was doing and I told him , he took me to the station and sat with me til my brother came and I think he told him off. At the time I never thought anything of it. I think there was 78,129 people at that match. Oh the joy of youth. [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 83.

    A true legend. City should invite him to the final - who better to give a pep talk on determination to the current boys?

  • Comment number 84.

    Bert Trautmann was the reason I support Stoke City - I saw him play in the 1956 Cup Final on TV, and I admired his bravery and outstanding goalkeeping ability, (I played for my school as a goalkeeper), he thereafter became my hero.
    It was either the year after or 1958, Manchester City were playing Stoke City in a friendly match, I begged my father to take me to see the game, which he did - this was my first time seeing Stoke City play, and I got a place right behind the goal to see Bert close up - he didn't disappoint, but I fell in Love with Stoke City and I still watch them, travelling from Northern Ireland to watch every Home game.
    I just pray that Bert will be at the FA Cup final, I have his autobiography that I would love him to sign.
    City for the Cup (STOKE that is)

    Pete

 

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