Playing on with a broken neck

There are plenty of examples of footballers playing on with injuries. No self respecting football hard man is going to let a head wound get the better of him, no matter how enthusiastically the blood may be flowing out of it. The urge to play on no matter what has produced iconic images of Giorgio Chellini, Paul Ince, and off course Terry Butcher, playing with a blood stained shirt and a turban of bandages. But playing on with an broken neck? That’s taking things to a whole other level. Still, that’s exactly what happend at Wembley on the 5th of May 1956, when Manchester City and Birmingham City met in the final of the FA-Cup

In goal for Manchester City that day was the German goalkeeper Bert Trautmann. He had come to England as a prisoner of war during the Second World War. Trautmann had decided to stick around after the war and had stumbled onto a career as a goalkeeper, even though he had only started playing during his time as a POW. After having initially encountered a lot of resistance, he had earned the esteem of crowds and colleagues alike. Trautmann was living up to his reputation, when in the 75th minute, with Manchester leading 3-1, he collided with a Birmingham attacker in a brave attempt to stifle a breakthrough that threatened to throw the game wide open.