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Frank Swift was a Manchester City legend and former England goalkeeper who was one of the 23 people killed in the Munich air disaster on 6 February, 1958. Among the dead were eight Manchester United players while Mr Swift was one of eight journalists to die, having been reporting on United’s European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade for the News of the World. In his playing days he made a total of 376 appearances for City and 33 England caps. He was rated as one of the greatest English goalkeepers of all time and was among the game’s greatest characters. Frank Victor Swift was born on Boxing Day, 1913, in Blackpool, Lancashire. He began his career with non-league side Fleetwood Town while working at the local mine before being signed by City in 1932. He made his debut the following year and aged just 20 he played in the 1934 FA Cup Final in which his side came from behind to beat Portsmouth 2-1 in torrential conditions. Swift had been petrified before and during the game and forward Fred Tilson had to calm him down by promising to score in the second half, a promise he fulfilled with two late strikes. At the final whistle Swift was so overcome with emotion that he fainted, prompting George V to enquire about his health in a telegram. In 1937 Man City won their first ever league title, beating Charlton to win the championship by three points and for four consecutive seasons he didn’t miss a game. He won another medal with City when they secured the Second Division Championship in 1947. He made his England debut in 1939 and won 14 wartime caps, gaining another 19 before his retirement in 1949. He played in memorable victories such as an 8-2 thrashing of Holland in 1946 and a 10-0 demolition away at Portugal in 1947. He captained his country twice, the first goalkeeper to have this honour. Swift, who is considered to be one of the greatest English goalkeepers of all time, was a big man, with a tall and bulky physique which gave the impression he was filling the goal. He also had unusually big hands, making the task of scoring past him harder still. He was also known for being one of the first keepers to throw rather than kick the ball out of his area. As well as being an entertaining figure on the pitch, he had a friendly, boisterous character and a reputation as a gentleman. During summer breaks he and his brother Fred, a goalie for Oldham, ran a pleasure boat in Blackpool. After retiring from playing in 1949, he embarked on a career in footballing journalism, becoming a respected reporter for the News of the World. He died at the age of 44 working for the paper after the United team plane crashed on the runway in Munich following a fuelling stop. He was pulled from the wreckage alive but died on the way to hospital. He is a member of the Manchester City Hall of Fame and was named as one of the Football League’s top 100 legends in 1998.
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Viewed by: 4031 visitors. Uploaded: 60 years ago
Published in: Online.
Published from: February 06, 1958.
Region: National
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Left by michael flynn :
18/02/2014
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Left by Tina whetton :
06/02/2013
My husbands father knew Frank Swift and said he was the finest goalkeeper he had ever seen, he could catch a football at pace, with one hand in mid air and hold on to it. My father in law signed for Stockport in the 1950's as a professional goalkeeper but a road traffic accident ended his career before he had played a single game. Frank's untimely death (along with many others) was indeed a tragedy. God bless them all.
Left by Tina Whetton: 06/02/2013
As a boy in 1940's Liverpool I remember getting a football album for Xmas - one of the names on the team photos that stick with me is Frank Swift and his 'big hands' - it's a cosy memory
Left by Geoff Unwin: 01/03/2012
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Left by Geoff Unwin :
01/03/2012
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