1956 FA Cup Final

I'll be the first person to admit that I'm a relatively new fan to Manchester City, but jrwendelman asked for some history so I figured I'd give him an overview of my favourite historical match. I hope to gain some inside later on from my grandfather who was a friend of Bobby Johnstone, who sadly passed away last decade, about this match if he has any rememberance of it.


One would figure that a match featuring four goals, two half-time rows and one hundred thousand fans that one of those stories would be the one everybody remembered. Instead it was Manchester City goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann, who would be the story of the match due to some extraordinary circumstances.



In the 1950s, the FA Cup Final was a massive event as it was the only football game to be shown on national TV at the time. Five million people tuned in to watch a game in which Birmingham City were the heavy favourites causing City forward Bobby Johnstone to comment, "even an unbiased fan must regard Manchester City with favour". Johnstone, who had moved from Hibernian in 1955, and also managed to score in the FA Cup Final that year in a losing cause to Newcastle, and Don Revie, future manager of Leeds, England and mortal enemy of Brian Clough, were the subjects over press speculation over who would start the match. However, injury problems to other City players meant that both men would be included in the team, and fate meant that this would play into City's favour. As the teams headed out into Wembley, City captain Roy Paul turned to his players and basically, but much more crudely, told his teammates if they don't win then they would be introduced his fist.

Three minutes in, Don Revie proved to be a key addition to the team as a delightful little back heel, one we which Robinho would have actually managed to pull off once in a while, landed right onto the foot of Joe Hayes who slotted in past Birmingham keeper, Gil Merrick, for a 1-0 City lead. Noel Kinsey would tie the game thirteen minutes later however, and both teams entered half-time at a 1-1. At half-time, Birmingham's manager, Arthur Turner, laid into his team about their fitness (here is where jr can find some common ground with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the beginning of last year), and the players fought back letting to a massive row. In the City dressing room, Don Revie channelled his future managerial skills to demand that Ken Barnes start attacking more instead of worrying about Peter Murphy. Luckily for City fans, this did not boil over as badly as the Birmingham row.

Perhaps, Revie had a point in telling Barnes to move forward as in the 60th (wikipedia says 62nd but they also give Johnstone the 2nd goal, so I'm going with the video posted below to gauge time) minute a nice move between him and Jack Dyson led City to a 2-1 advantage. Two minutes later, Bert Trautmann (make note of his ballsy dive here when you watch the video) would fire the ball up to Dyson who flicked the ball onto Bobby Johnstone, who finished the move to become the first person to ever score in back-to-back FA Cup Finals. This would give the game its final 3-nil score line but the biggest story had not happened yet.

Seventeen minutes were remaining in the match when Peter Murphy charged towards goal, and again Bert Trautmann came out to try and collect the ball but this time things didn't exactly go right. Murphy's knee collided with Trautmann's neck, breaking it and knocking the City keeper unconscious. In these days, substitutes were not permitted and despite Roy Paul's belief that Trautmann should not continue to play, the former German Prisoner of War dusted himself off and resumed play with a broken neck that would not be diagnosed for a further three days. Despite being in obvious pain, Trautmann finished the game in agony and made two further saves to preserve the 3-1 victory. Upon being awarded his winner's medal by Prince Phillip, the Queen's husband noted that Trautmann's neck looked crooked.

And so ends the story of the 1956 FA Cup Final, the game whose story cemented my status as a Manchester City fan. Be sure to watch the highlights of the match below, courtesy of Youtube user, mcfcvideos.


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