Former England striker Trevor Francis, the first £1m player, dies aged 69

Trevor Francis, British soccer’s first £1m participant, has died at the age of 69.

The ex-Birmingham Metropolis striker, who scored Nottingham Forest’s winner of their 1979 European Cup last triumph, earned 52 England caps and later guided Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham to main finals as a supervisor.

Plymouth-born Francis burst onto the scene as a teen with Birmingham, making his first-team debut at 16 in 1970.

“He died in Spain this morning from a coronary heart assault,” mentioned a spokesman.

Forest shattered the British switch file after they paid £1.15m for him in 1979, though supervisor Brian Clough famously claimed the price was £999,999 to take stress off the participant.

He began his profession at Birmingham, enjoying 328 instances and scoring 133 objectives. In 1971, at simply 16-years-old, he grew to become the youngest ever participant to attain 4 instances in Soccer League historical past in Blues’ 4-0 win over Bolton.

He earned his file transfer to Forest in 1979 and headed the winner in the 1-0 victory over Malmo to win the European Cup just some months later.

Francis missed the European Cup win over Hamburg a 12 months later by means of harm and joined Manchester Metropolis in 1981. Spells at Sampdoria, the place he gained the Coppa Italia, Atalanta, Rangers and QPR – the place he was player-manager – adopted.

He moved to Sheffield Wednesday in 1990 earlier than he changed Ron Atkinson as supervisor. Beneath Francis, the Owls completed third in the previous First Division in his first season in cost earlier than ending seventh in the newly created Premier League whereas additionally being runners up in the FA Cup and League Cup.

He left in 1995 and returned to Birmingham the following 12 months, reaching the play-offs 3 times and likewise the 2001 League Cup last the place they misplaced to Liverpool.

Francis left St Andrew’s in October 2001 and joined Crystal Palace quickly after, leaving the Eagles in 2003 in what was his final job.

Francis spent half a 12 months in Spain and the relaxation in Solihull. He suffered a coronary heart assault 11 years in the past and had saved himself match with every day energy walks.

He had an annual well being verify by means of the League Managers’ Affiliation and, in keeping with his spokesman, was “having fun with life very a lot having finally bought over the demise of his spouse”.

Helen handed away in 2017 after a battle with most cancers.

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