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Bert hails City fans 'best in the world'

bert trautmann
Bert Trautmann will be guest of honour at tomorrow’s game against Birmingham.

Widely acknowledged as the Blues greatest ever goalkeeper, Trautmann’s path from German paratrooper to prisoner of war and finally to revered footballer is so vivid and colourful that it is soon to be made into a film.

In the meantime, the 87-year-old who famously played in City’s 1956 FA Cup final win over Birmingham with a broken neck, has been revisiting old haunts and catching up with old friends on a rare visit from his home in Spain. He met many of them at a sold out lunch at CoMs on Friday.

Bert's trip also coincides with the launch of his book ‘Trautmann’s Journey ‘which details his incredible life.

He was 40 years-old when he retired from the game in May 1964 he had played 545 times for City during a career that spanned 15 incredible years.

A crowd of around 50,000 attended his testimonial and Trautmann captained a special joint City and Manchester United XI that included Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, against an England team that included Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield.

He was later awarded the OBE for his work in improving anglo-German relations.

I’ve been lucky enough to play in front of the most magnificent fans in the world

...Bert Trautmann


"I’m still flabbergasted at the reception I receive each time and I still think, even today, that I have been a very lucky man.

“Being the first German player to play in an FA Cup final at Wembley was something absolutely magnificent for me,” he recalled.

“We lost 3-1 to Newcastle United on the day and yes, you feel a little sorry for yourself that you lose such a huge game but it was an amazing day and I just looked around the stadium and thought ‘you lucky man!’

“Then, of course, we returned a year later and won, but of course many people remember the game because of the injury I sustained during the match.

“I played over 500 league games for City but that moment is still the one people refer to so it can be a little frustrating at times because no matter how well I played during that time, people will still say ‘ah, you’re the fellow who broke his neck playing at Wembley’.

“I’ll admit it’s not something I particularly like but it’s something I’ve had to live with.

“I know my life story has been quite interesting and there have been books written and even a film is being made. I’ve always felt very fortunate to have played for Manchester City."

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