Britain’s first £1 million footballer passes away

Britain's first £1 million footballer passes away0

Trevor Francis, the first British footballer to be paid £1 million, passed away on Monday at the age of 69 due to a heart attack, according to a family spokeswoman.

A record transfer saw the striker join Nottingham Forest from Birmingham; he would go on to score the game-winning goal in the European Cup final a few months later.

As a player, he earned 52 England appearances and scored 12 goals, while as a manager, he led Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham to national championship games.

“He died in Spain this morning from a heart attack,” a family spokesperson said.

Francis, at the tender age of 16, made his professional debut for Birmingham in 1970.

Forest paid a then-record £1.15 million for him in 1979, shattering the previous British transfer record; however, manager Brian Clough reportedly said the amount was £999,999 to ease the player’s mind.

A few months later, he scored the game-winning header in a 1-0 victory against Malmo that clinched the European Cup for his team.

Francis joined Manchester City in 1981 after missing 1980’s European Cup championship victory against Hamburg due to injury.

He then spent time at Sampdoria, where he won the Coppa Italia, Atalanta, Rangers, and Queens Park Rangers, where he served as both player and manager.

In 1993, he led Sheffield Wednesday to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, where they lost to Arsenal both times. He joined the club in 1990 and succeeded Ron Atkinson as manager.

The clubs of Birmingham and Crystal Palace afterwards hired him as their manager.

Francis lived in Spain for six months and then moved back to the Birmingham area. He had a heart attack 11 years ago, but power walking every day helped him stay in shape.

A spokeswoman for him said, “enjoying life very much having eventually gotten over the death of his wife” after he had his yearly checkup with the League Managers’ Association.

Helen lost her fight with cancer in 2017.

Peter Shilton, a former teammate of his at Forest, was among the first to express his condolences.

As the former England keeper put it on Twitter, “I’m absolutely devastated to hear about my old team mate Trevor Francis such a wonderful gentleman a friend and a terrible loss.”

After Francis’s death, Forest stated that he was “a true Forest legend who will never be forgotten.”

Birmingham City tweeted, “Trevor will forever be revered as a giant of the club, the player everyone wanted to see.”

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