Tributes pour in as Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest legend Trevor Francis dies at 69

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Former Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday player and manager Trevor Francis has died.

Britain’s first-ever £1 million footballer and arguably Birmingham City’s greatest player of all time, Trevor Francis, has died at the age of 69.

The former Blues, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and England star passed away on Monday morning while at his holiday home in Marbella.

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A statement from his family said: “Trevor Francis has died at the age of 69. He had a heart attack at his apartment in Spain this morning. On behalf of the family, this has come as a huge shock to everybody. We are all very upset. He was a legendary footballer but he was also an extremely nice person.”

A prolific forward known globally for winning two European Cup titles with Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, Francis racked up 626 career appearances, scoring 231 goals.

In 1970, the attacker broke through into the Birmingham City youth team as an academy graduate, aged just 17. He played 330 times for Blues and netted 133 times before making a groundbreaking transfer to Forest in 1979.

One of Francis’ most famous Birmingham moments was on 30 October 1976, as he scored one of the club’s best-ever goals. He turned away from the touchline and beat two Queens Park Rangers defenders before suddenly unleashing a 25-yard shot.

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Francis returned to St Andrew’s for a five-year spell as manager between 1996 and 2001 but before that had a very successful playing career with moves to Detroit Express, Manchester City, Sampdoria, Atalanta, Rangers, QPR and Sheffield Wednesday.

As manager, Francis led Birmingham to multiple play-off finishes and the 2001 League Cup final, which Blues lost to Liverpool.As manager, Francis led Birmingham to multiple play-off finishes and the 2001 League Cup final, which Blues lost to Liverpool.
As manager, Francis led Birmingham to multiple play-off finishes and the 2001 League Cup final, which Blues lost to Liverpool.

He was sure to make his name known across the planet and went on to be a popular television pundit before stepping away from football in the early 2000s. Francis’ mark on the beautiful game cannot go understated and the footballing world is now mourning the loss of a true great, with more and more tributes coming in by the second.

A club statement from Birmingham City reads: “Blues is deeply saddened and shocked to learn of the passing of Club legend Trevor Francis, at the age of 69 on Monday 24 July 2023.

“Trevor will forever be revered as a giant of the Club, the player everyone wanted to see. He represented Blues on 330 occasions, scoring 133 goals. Blues sends its thoughts and deepest sympathies to Trevor’s family and friends.”

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Aston Villa have shown top respect by sharing this message: “Everyone at Aston Villa is deeply saddened by the passing of Trevor Francis, a true legend of the game, especially in the Midlands but also across the football world. The thoughts of all at the club are with Trevor’s family and friends and everyone at Birmingham City at this time.”

Nottingham Forest also put out this statement: “Nottingham Forest is deeply saddened to learn the passing of two-time European Cup winner, Trevor Francis. A true Forest legend who will never be forgotten.”

BBC Match of the Day presenter and former England international striker Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: “Deeply saddened to hear that Trevor Francis has died. A wonderful footballer and lovely man. Was a pleasure to work alongside him both on the pitch and on the telly. RIP Trevor.”

England’s most-capped men’s player Peter Shilton said of his former dressing room sharer: “I’m absolutely devastated to hear about my old team mate Trevor Francis such a wonderful gentleman a friend and a terrible loss.”

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Many refer to Francis as Blues’ greatest-ever player.Many refer to Francis as Blues’ greatest-ever player.
Many refer to Francis as Blues’ greatest-ever player.

Former professional midfielder-turned-pundit Chris Kamara tweeted: “Oh no, just heard Trevor Francis passed away. What a player he was and what a gentleman. Got to know him well when Trevor was doing his co-commentary for Sky, a job he loved. RIP Trevor, the first million-pound player who always looked a million dollars.”

England’s official account wrote: “We are deeply saddened by the news that Trevor Francis has passed away aged 69. He won 52 caps and scored 12 goals – including two at the 1982 Fifa World Cup for the Three Lions between 1977 and 1986. All our thoughts are with his family, friends and former clubs.”

Legendary West Midlands commentator and Blues fan Tom Ross said: “It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that Blues’ greatest-ever player Trevor Francis passed away in Spain this morning at the age of 69.”

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