Whether at the club or international level, this sport is performed all year long. Some unexpected events have necessitated that football be put on the back burner.
During a conflict in the past, even the commoner would have to fight. All hands were needed since the country’s safety was in jeopardy and players were not spared.
This article will focus on five famous footballers who served their country during war.
- Bert Trautman
Bert Trautmann, Manchester City’s goalkeeper from 1949 to 1964, played 508 games. Early in World War 2, Trautmann became a member of the Luftwaffe and fought on the eastern and western fronts. A only 90 men from his 1000-strong regiment survived before the British seized them. Trautmann received five medals from the Nazis, the most prestigious of which was the Iron Cross. During the Second World War, Trautmann worked as a farmer in Great Britain and played football at the local level until being conscripted by Manchester City.
- Herbie Roberts
Herbie Roberts, a former Arsenal player from England, was well-known throughout the sport. He was so moved by Herbert Chapman’s coaching methods that after he retired from playing football, the center back became a coach with Arsenal’s reserve squad. Before joining the Gunners, Roberts worked as a police officer, and his last team was an amateur one. When World War II began, Roberts was a lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers. He succumbed to erysipelas, a bacterial infection, at the age of 39 while serving in the military. There were eight more Arsenal players who perished in the war, including him.
- Joe Webster
Joe Webster was a member of the British Footballers’ Battalion during World War I, one of the soccer players who volunteered. After serving in the British Army for three years, the West Ham and Watford stopper saw action in the Somme, Ypres, Vimy Ridge, and Cambrai campaigns. After the war, Webster died at the early age of 44.
- Fritz Walter
Kaiserslautern’s greatest ever player, Fritz Walter played his whole professional career for the German club. In honor of him, the team renamed their stadium. In 364 games for Kaiserslautern, Walter scored 357 goals and cemented his place in German football lore. While serving as a Nazi soldier, the attacking midfielder had to fight against the Soviets on the Eastern Front. After the battle, Walter was taken prisoner and given a five-year life expectancy. He had a chance to show off his football talents in the holding camp.
- Frank Buckley
The Footballers’ Battalion was founded by Buckley, the first soccer player to enlist. Having previously served in the military, Buckley was given the rank of lieutenant and swiftly rose to the position of major. When a gas attack severely damaged Major Buckley’s lungs in 1917, he was returned to the United Kingdom. Rumor has it that he paid for the schooling of the three sons of a man who was slain by a sniper because he cared so much for the folks in his care. After his playing days were over, Buckley went on to manage Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hull City, and other clubs.