Trevor Francis, Britain’s first £1m footballer, dies aged 69

<span>Photograph: Getty</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/0I7_5nBf0WmN.ZdAAh6BzQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/060042f0c0bb19eba9aa971c562256da” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/0I7_5nBf0WmN.ZdAAh6BzQ–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/060042f0c0bb19eba9aa971c562256da”></img></p>
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<p><figcaption><span>Photograph: Getty</span></figcaption></p>
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<p>The former England forward Trevor Francis, the first player to be transferred in Britain for £1m and the scorer of a European Cup-winning goal for Nottingham Forest, has died at the age of 69.</p>
<p>Francis had a distinguished career that started with his Birmingham City debut at 16 and included spells with Forest, Manchester City, Sampdoria, Atalanta and Rangers before he went into management, initially as a player-manager.</p>
<p><span>Related: </span>Trevor Francis – a life in pictures</p>
<p>That began with QPR and included a stint on a similar basis at Sheffield Wednesday – after a period there as a player – before he took full-time manager roles with Wednesday, Birmingham and Crystal Palace. He led Wednesday to an FA Cup and League Cup final, and Birmingham to a League Cup final.</p>
<p>Brian Clough’s Forest paid more than £1m to buy Francis from Birmingham in February 1979. His goal against Malmö secured the European Cup in his first season and he was part of the squad that retained the trophy a year later, although he was injured for the final.</p>
<p>Francis played 52 times for England from 1977 to 1986, featuring at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, where he scored twice.</p>
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Trevor Francis celebrates after scoring for England against Czechoslovakia at the 1982 World Cup. Photograph: Colorsport/Shutterstock

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.”

Gary Lineker, a former England teammate, tweeted: “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.”

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Peter Shilton, who played with Francis for Forest and England, tweeted: “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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