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I'll Be Bert

    by Bill Cronshaw


Drama Play: 'I'll Be Bert' by Bill CronshawA one man play telling the true story of Bert Trautmann, the ex-German paratrooper, who played for Manchester City as goalkeeper, and who famously broke his neck, but carried on playing, in the 1956 Cup Final.

This incongruous tale is lovingly recounted by the Actor (Bill Cronshaw himself in the premiere productions) as the various incidents and accidents take place to Bert Trautmann in his rise to footballing fame.

The Actor becomes himself as a young boy, as well as various other characters, to introduce the audience to life in Manchester in the early 1950's - lad's football games in the park with coats as goalposts, the 'nit' lady, innocence etc. Added to this is the weekly trip to Maine Road to watch Manchester City play, and to worship their heroes in the team.

The story of Bert Trautmann is then unfolded - he served in the war as a paratrooper winnning the Iron Cross; was captured and transported to Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire; refusing repatriation he settled in St Helens in 1948 and started to play football for their team; being a skilled player he quickly caught the eye of Manchester City who signed him up as goalkeeper in October 1949 to a chorus of disapproval (the war having only been over by 5 years). He slowly gained acceptance though, and during the 1956 FA Cup Final won by Manchester City, Bert broke his neck in a dive to save a goal. Neither he nor his trainer realised what had happened until after the match, so Bert played on in great pain to a 3-1 victory . He retired in 1964 and was awarded an honorary OBE in 2004.

Bill Cronshaw's obvious love of all things to do with Manchester City and his great respect for one of his childhood heroes shines out of this play like a beacon. With glowing reviews by The Stage and audience members, 'I'll Be Bert' is an ideal piece for the older actor looking to tour, or as homage to one of football's becoming forgotten legends.

A set of images as a Powerpoint presentation to project behind the character on stage is available once rights are granted.


60-65 mins approx (Two Act split possible)



The Actor (who is ideally around 50-60 years old) plays a variety of parts including ...
  Himself (mostly); Himself as a young boy;
  The young boy's mother; A man in a pub;
  Clive Templeton-Smythe, an enthusiastic 1950's BBC sports reporter;
  Laurie Barnett, the Manchester City trainer at the Cup Final

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