Trevor Francis: Football Speaker
With a career that spanned three decades, football striker Trevor Francis was heralded as one of the greatest English players of his era. Retiring in the mid-1990s to move into football management and working as a sports speaker. Francis remained in the public eye and was respected and admiration from fans past and present. Former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest striker Stan Collymore tweeted: “The loveliest of men, humble, humorous, always giving of his time and advice. They say never meet your heroes, well, I met mine and he was an absolute gentleman. One in a million.’
Known for spending eight years with Birmingham City, and going on to play for a further five British clubs, Trevor Francis had quite a prolific career. In 1979 Trevor became the first British footballer to command a £1 million transfer fee when he moved from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest. The manager Brian Clough may have claimed publicly that the actual price tag was £999,999 to reduce pressure on the young forward, but Francis repaid the faith, and the fee, with a vital goal just a few months later.
On 30 May 1979 Francis scored the winner in the European Cup final as Nottingham Forest beat Malmo 1-0 in Munich, diving low to send a header high into the net. Francis’ career with Forest was to be interrupted by injury, but his place in their folklore was assured. Despite struggles with injury, a £1.2 million fee saw Francis move from Forest to Manchester City in 1981.
Viv Anderson, who played with Francis at Nottingham Forest: “Trevor was such a wonderful person and fabulous teammate he will be sadly missed, my condolences go to his family and friends”
Another Forest teammate Martin O’Neil, described British football’s first £1m player as “very funny and dry-witted”.
He spent time with American team Detroit Express as well as several years with Italian team Sampdoria. Playing in Italy at the time was footballer Graeme Souness who said ‘I was living on the Italian Riviera,Trevor and I become very good friends. We went to training and did everything socially together.’
and a season playing in Australia for Wollongong City. The sheer scope and variety of Trevor’s career have provided him with a wealth of anecdotes to share about the footballing world. As a football speaker, he is often called upon to comment on affairs within international football as well as providing punditry for both British and International Games.
Francis played for England 52 times between 1977 and 1986 and scored 12 goals. In 1977, he was given his first England cap by Don Revie, in a 2–0 loss against the Netherlands. After missing out on Euro 1980 due to an Achilles injury. However he was a key player in the 1982 World Cup held in Spain, scoring twice in the tournament. Sadly, England were eliminated without losing a match, after two goalless draws against both the host nation and West Germany. In spring 1986, he made his 52nd and final appearance for England in a victory over Scotland, and was subsequently not selected for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Trevor took his own step into the player-manager role, with Queens Park Rangers and then Sheffield Wednesday. Retiring in 1994 he spent a further ten years as a football manager working for three of his old teams, Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday and QPR. Succeeding as a manager, Trevor was awarded the Premier League Manager of the Month in December 1993. In 2003 however, Trevor finally took a step away from the beautiful game and moved into the media to work as a sports speaker and pundit for a number of high profile broadcasters.
He is mentioned in the lyrics of the theme tune for Only Fools and Horses (1981), one of the UK’s most popular sitcoms of all time.
Trevor Francis: His Life
Trevor released an autobiography – ‘One in a Million‘. Telling the tale of his prolific career which saw him win two European Cups, achieve 52 England caps and was a manager in three Cup Finals. His autobiography provides the insider knowledge of the glory days. As the first ever player to be paid one million pounds, Trevor has had a record-breaking career, that is outlined in his book.
Trevor died at the age of 69 following a heart attack in Spain.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He’s lectured at University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences. He has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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