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24th Jul 2023

Football’s first £1 million player Trevor Francis dies, aged 69

Callum Boyle

Francis was the first player to cost £1m

Former England star Trevor Francis has died at the age of 69.

Francis’ family confirmed that the former Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest star passed away at his home in Marbella on Monday morning after having a heart attack.

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.”

The striker played 52 times for the Three Lions between 1977 and 1986 and made his debut at Birmingham as a 16-year-old in 1970 after joining the club as a schoolboy. He would go on to score 15 times in his debut season and scored 133 times for the Blues in 329 games.

Trevor Francis

In 1979, Trevor Francis would become written into the history books as Forest manager Brian Clough brought him to the City Ground for a then-record fee of £1m – the first time a fee that large had been paid for a transfer.

At Forest Francis would lift the European cup in back-to-back years (1979 and 1980) and even scored the winner in the first of those finals against Malmo.

After leaving Forest, the forward would have a spell at Manchester City before making the move to Italy to play for Atalanta and Sampdoria. He would then return to the UK to play for Rangers but would only spend one season there before becoming player-manager at Queens Park Rangers.

Additionally, Francis would also manage Sheffield Wednesday before returning to Birmingham to manage them. His final job on the touchline was as the boss of Crystal Palace.

Forest were one of those to pay tribute to their former star, saying: “We are deeply saddened to learn the passing of two-time European Cup winner, Trevor Francis. A true Forest legend who will never be forgotten.”

Gary Lineker also said: “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.”

Check out our interview with the Irish women’s team record goal scorer Olivia O’Toole here.

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