Francis recovering well, family thank fans
Former England striker Trevor Francis is recovering well after suffering a heart attack yesterday, his old club Birmingham have announced. Francis is in a stable condition in Birmingham Heartlands Hospital after undergoing surgery and could be well enough to return home within the next week.
Trevor Francis' family today thanked the public for their "overwhelming messages of support" for the former the 57-year-old England striker. A tweet from his former club Birmingham this morning read: "Trevor Francis' family have contacted the club to express their thanks at the overwhelming messages of support from Blues fans." The club said yesterday they had been told Francis had undergone surgery to have a stent fitted and that he had made good progress.
Francis starred for Blues from 1970-79 before becoming the first £1m player when he joined Nottingham Forest. He later managed City between 1996 and 2001.
Another of Francis' former clubs, Sheffield Wednesday, also expressed their best wishes. A tweet from the South Yorkshire club read: "All at Sheffield Wednesday would like to wish former player and manager Trevor Francis a speedy recovery."
Francis guided the Owls to the FA Cup and League Cup finals in 1993 after taking over as player-manager at Hillsborough. Mark Bright, a member of that Wednesday team, tweeted: "I'm stunned to hear that my former #swfc manager Trevor Francis is in hospital after suffering a heart attack. #getwellSoon."
Former England team-mate Gary Lineker also used Twitter to convey his thoughts. Lineker said: "Shocked to hear Trevor Francis has suffered a heart attack. Thoughts are with him and his family #getwellTrevor."
Mick Rathbone, a former Birmingham team-mate, said last night: "Just heard bad news about Trevor Francis.... spoke to him at length last sat... best player in england in late seventies #getwellsoon." Francis remains the youngest player to have featured in a first-team game for Birmingham having made his debut in September 1970 at the age of 16 years and 139 days.
He is regarded as one of the finest players to have represented the club and helped them win promotion back to the old Division One in 1972. He went on to score the winning goal for Forest in the 1979 European Cup final against Malmo, before helping the team reach the 1980 final against Hamburg, although he missed the showpiece through injury.
He left Forest in 1981, going on to play for Manchester City, Sampdoria, Atalanta and Rangers. He won 52 England caps and represented his country at the 1982 World Cup before his player manager spells with QPR and Wednesday.
He took over as Birmingham boss in 1996 and led them to the 2001 League Cup final. Since leaving Blues he has had a spell as manager of Crystal Palace from 2001 to 2003 and worked extensively as a television pundit.