The German former Manchester City goalkeeper Bernd Trautmann on Monday (November 1) received the honour of Officer of the British Empire (OBE) from the British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Peter Torry, at the British Embassy in Berlin.
Background: The German former Manchester City goalkeeper Bernd Trautmann on Monday (November 1) received the honour of Officer of the British Empire (OBE) from the British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Peter Torry, at the British Embassy in Berlin.
Trautmann was being honoured for his ongoing work to improve British-German relations. Known in Britain as Bert, Trautmann is best remembered by British football fans as the player who refused to let a broken neck prevent him from helping his team to victory in the 1956 FA Cup Final.
Trautmann arrived in Britain during the Second World War as a prisoner of war, interned in a camp at Ashton near Manchester, where he soon demonstrated his prowess on the pitch. In 1949, he joined Manchester City, to the outrage of the fans.
Season ticket holders threatened a boycott and the club was bombarded with letters of protest. 40,000 people marched on the streets of Manchester, demonstrating against the signing of an enemy soldier so soon after the end of the war.
However, Trautmann's brilliant goalkeeping won over the City fans and he went on to earn great respect amongst the British public through his strength of character and his undoubted goalkeeping skills.
Trautmann say that it was an honour to receive the award and that he was very proud to have received it from her Majesty.
"It is an honour, as a German, and also if you know the story, although some of you are younger so probably don't know my story, but to come to a country which was our enemy as a prisoner of war,"
He was the first foreigner to be named English Footballer of the Year and was also awarded the German Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Federal Cross of Merit, but said that it was not the most important thing in his life.
Yet even at the age of 82, Trautmann has not finished his work for improving Anglo-German relations. He has just launched the Trautmann Foundation, aimed at promoting British-German understanding through football.
"We want to get young people together on the sports line, socially, cultural, and if we can contribute a little bit then we are happy," he said.
Trautmann was asked about suggestions that the Queen may apologise for the British bombing of Dresden in February 1943.
"Both sides were fighting a war and war always brings out the worst side in people. And now people are asking whether the Queen should apologise for Dresden. We could however say that we started the war, although the inhabitants of Dresden couldn't do anything about this, so you cant really compare the two," he said.