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Britain’s first £1million footballer Trevor Francis cut his two estranged son’s out of his will when he left £1.9million after dying aged 69


Britain’s first £1million footballer Trevor Francis cut his two estranged son’s out of his will when he left his £1.9million fortune after dying aged 69.

The former England player, who died last July aged 69, left strict instructions in his will that his two sons would not get a penny of his millions.

Instead the football star, who died after a heart attack in Spain, left his hard-earned money to his brother Ian and sister Carolyn.

His wife Helen, a hairdresser died from breast cancer two years before him.

The ex-Nottingham Forest player, who drew up his will in February 2019 stated: ;I wish to make it clear in this my will that I have not included my children as beneficiaries due to the fact that we have become estranged following family differences over the last several months.

Trevor Francis  posing with the trophy after winning 1-0 against Malmo in the European Cup Final at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, 1979

Trevor Francis  posing with the trophy after winning 1-0 against Malmo in the European Cup Final at the Olympic Stadium in Munich, 1979

Ex-England striker Francis died last year aged 69 and left strict instructions that his son's were not to receive a penny of his £1.9million fortune

 Ex-England striker Francis died last year aged 69 and left strict instructions that his son’s were not to receive a penny of his £1.9million fortune

The former footballer pictured in 1984. The striker became Britain's first £1million player after he was signed to nottingham Forest in 1979

The former footballer pictured in 1984. The striker became Britain’s first £1million player after he was signed to nottingham Forest in 1979

Francis holding up a Birmingham City scarf. The former player became their manager in 1996

Francis holding up a Birmingham City scarf. The former player became their manager in 1996

‘Neither of my children are financially dependent on me.’

The widower, who signed for Nottingham Forest for £1million in 1979 – more than £4million today, left his British estate to his siblings who live in Plymouth.

His decision does not cover his Spanish estate which includes a Marbella apartment.

While the cause of the family rift were not given, the ex-England striker’s son James, then 26, was charged with burgling his Warwickshire home in 2013 The Sun reported.

He was cleared after his father spoke for him in court

Despite their differences his sons, James and Matthew, gathered to pay tribute along with family and friends at the star’s Spanish home last year.

The hour-long service, conducted by a UK-born Church of England chaplain now based on the Costa del Sol, took place at a chapel in San Pedro de Alcantara near Marbella.

Francis’ remains were then transferred to Manilva for a private cremation a short drive away.

James Francis is greeting a guest at his father's funeral last year in Marbella

James Francis is greeting a guest at his father’s funeral last year in Marbella 

Matthew Francis and Graeme Souness talking outside the funeral of Matthew's father

Matthew Francis and Graeme Souness talking outside the funeral of Matthew’s father

Francis  during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Sunderland in 2015 at Villa Park

Francis was a top goal scorer for Nottingham Forest where he was signed for £1million in 1979

The England forward became a manager in his later years, coaching QPR in 1988, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham and Crystal Palace

The football star in 1971 as a player for Birmingham City FC

The football star in 1971 as a player for Birmingham City FC

Francis celebrating  his first goal in the World Cup Finals against Spain in 1982

Francis celebrating  his first goal in the World Cup Finals against Spain in 1982

Nottingham Forest paid tribute to the late footballing legend. The team bought the player in 1979, making him Britain's first £1million footballer

Nottingham Forest paid tribute to the late footballing legend. The team bought the player in 1979, making him Britain’s first £1million footballer

Leading the tributes to Francis following his death, former England forward and BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker 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.’ 

England star Jude Bellingham, who also began his career in Birmingham, wrote: ‘A very sad day for @BCFC and all of football. Beyond legendary, a trailblazer, a great and an icon of the game.

‘The only thing that could exceed his quality and accolades on the pitch was his class off it. ‘Thank you for all the guidance and benchmarks you set. Rest in peace, King Trevor!’

After becoming Britain’s first £1m footballer when he moved from the Blues to Nottingham Forest in 1979, Francis then scored the winner in that year’s European Cup final in Munich, when Forest beat Malmo 1-0.

Francis also enjoyed spells at Sampdoria and Atalanta in Italy, before returning to the UK to play for Rangers.

He became player-manager at QPR in 1988, and then held the same role at Sheffield Wednesday between 1991 and 1994.

Francis lost his wife Helen in 2017, and spoke of the profound effect that had on him

Francis lost his wife Helen in 2017, and spoke of the profound effect that had on him 

He helped Nottingham Forest win back-to-back European Cups under Brian Clough

He helped Nottingham Forest win back-to-back European Cups under Brian Clough

Graeme Souness and Francis on holiday in Portofino in 1984

Graeme Souness and Francis on holiday in Portofino in 1984

Francis, pictured with football royalty Pele in 1972, doubled the British transfer record to £1million

Francis, pictured with football royalty Pele in 1972, doubled the British transfer record to £1million

After leaving Wednesday the following year, he had a five-year spell as Birmingham manager, before coaching Crystal Palace between 2001 and 2003.

Francis, who spoke to Mail Sport in a wide-ranging, emotional and fascinating interview in 2019, went into management after his playing career, most notably with Sheffield Wednesday before working for more than two decades in broadcasting.

In a pre-cursor to the explosion of the transfer market’s astronomical sums of today, Francis was a superstar in his time.

His move from Birmingham City to Forest in 1979 was monumental. The forward had racked up 118 goals in 280 games for his boyhood side when he left.

Brian Clough’s side splashed out the enormous fee for Francis, making him the first British player to be transferred for that amount in history.

Clough told everyone the fee — twice the previous British record — was a pound under the £1m mark. It was in fact £1,150,000 and the manager was trying to take pressure off his big-money man,’ Francis later revealed.

Giuseppe Savoldi was the world’s first million pound man when he went from Bologna to Napoli in 1975.

Francis had spoken about his remarkable career and personal struggle following the death of his wife in 2017.

‘When you get in the first team as a footballer you don’t think football will ever stop,’ he previously told Mail Sport’s Ian Ladyman.

‘In the same way, I didn’t think Helen and I would ever stop. She was my best friend and I couldn’t have done any of what I did without her.

‘We were married 43 years. You know, every day is difficult. I do get quite lonely. But I am trying to adapt. I have to.’

HIs family and friends including longtime pal Graeme Souness, Scottish former football player and manager, paid their respects at his SPanish funeral. 



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