Birmingham City F.C.

Birmingham City Football Club is a professional football club in Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, it was renamed Small Heath in 1888, Birmingham in 1905, and Birmingham City in 1943.[6] Since 2011, the first team have competed in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football.

Birmingham City F.C.
Full nameBirmingham City Football Club
  • 1875 (1875)
  • as Small Heath Alliance
GroundSt Andrew's
Coordinates52°28′32″N 1°52′04″W
OwnerTrillion Trophy Asia[4]
Head CoachPep Clotet[5]
2018–19Championship, 17th of 24
WebsiteClub website

As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members and first champions of the Football League Second Division. The most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They achieved their highest finishing position of sixth in the First Division in the 1955–56 season and reached the 1956 FA Cup Final. Birmingham played in two Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals, in 1960, as the first English club side to reach a major European final, and again the following year. They won the League Cup in 1963 and again in 2011. Birmingham have played in the top tier of English football for around half of their history:[7] the longest period spent outside the top division, between 1986 and 2002, included two brief spells in the third tier of English football, during which time they won the Football League Trophy twice.

St Andrew's has been their home ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, with whom they play the Second City derby. The club's nickname is Blues, after the colour of their kit, and the fans are known as Bluenoses.


The early years (1875–1943)

Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, and from 1877 played their home games at Muntz Street. The club turned professional in 1885,[8] and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors,[9] under the name of Small Heath F.C. Ltd.[10] From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League. In 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly formed Football League Second Division. They finished as champions, but failed to win promotion via the test match system; the following season promotion to the First Division was secured after a second-place finish and test match victory over Darwen.[11] The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrew's Ground, the following year.[12] Matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for re-election two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War.[11]

Frank Womack's captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21.[13] Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career.[14] 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England.[15] In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final, which they lost 2–1 to Second Division club West Bromwich Albion. Though Birmingham remained in the top flight for 18 seasons, they struggled in the league, with much reliance placed on England goalkeeper Harry Hibbs to make up for the lack of goals, Bradford excepted, at the other end.[16] They were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War.

Birmingham City: Post-war success (1943–1965)

The name Birmingham City F.C. was adopted in 1943.[6] Under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later they won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season.[17] Storer's successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, brought in players who made a major contribution to the club's successes of the next decade.[18] When Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions.[19] In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for City's goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a broken bone in his neck. The following season the club lost in the FA Cup semifinal for the third time since the war, this time beaten 2–0 by Manchester United's "Busby Babes".[19]

Birmingham became the first English club side to take part in European competition when they played their first group game in the inaugural Inter-Cities Fairs Cup competition on 15 May 1956;[20][21][22] they went on to reach the semifinal where they drew 4–4 on aggregate with Barcelona, losing the replay 2–1. They were also the first English club side to reach a European final, losing 4–1 on aggregate to Barcelona in the 1960 Fairs Cup final and 4–2 to A.S. Roma the following year.[22] In the 1961 semifinal they beat Internazionale home and away;[22] no other English club won a competitive game in the San Siro until Arsenal managed it more than 40 years later.[23] Gil Merrick's side saved their best form for cup competitions. Though opponents in the 1963 League Cup final, local rivals Aston Villa, were pre-match favourites, Birmingham raised their game and won 3–1 on aggregate to lift their first major trophy.[24] In 1965, after ten years in the top flight, they returned to the Second Division.

Investment, promotion and decline (1965–1993)

Businessman Clifford Coombs took over as chairman in 1965, luring Stan Cullis out of retirement to manage the club.[25] Cullis's team played attractive football which took them to the semifinal of the League Cup in 1967 and the FA Cup in 1968, but league football needed a different approach.[26] Successor Freddie Goodwin produced a team playing skilful, aggressive football that won promotion as well as reaching an FA Cup semifinal.[27] Two years later, the club raised money by selling Bob Latchford to Everton for a British record fee of £350,000, but without his goals the team struggled.[28] Sir Alf Ramsey briefly managed the club before Jim Smith took over in 1978. With relegation a certainty, the club sold Trevor Francis to Nottingham Forest, making him the first player transferred for a fee of £1 million;[29] Francis had scored a total of 133 goals in 329 appearances over his nine years at Birmingham.[30] Smith took Birmingham straight back to the First Division, but a poor start to the 1981–82 season saw him replaced by Ron Saunders, who had just resigned from league champions Aston Villa. Saunders' team struggled to score goals and in 1984 they were relegated.[31] They bounced back up, but the last home game of the 1984–85 promotion season, against Leeds United, was marred by rioting, culminating in the death of a boy when a wall collapsed on him. This was on the same day as the Bradford City stadium fire, and the events at St Andrew's formed part of the remit of Mr Justice Popplewell's inquiry into safety at sports grounds.[32] The club lacked stability both on and off the field. Saunders quit after FA Cup defeat to non-League team Altrincham, staff were laid off, the training ground was sold, and by 1989 Birmingham were in the Third Division for the first time in their history.[33]

In April 1989 the Kumar brothers, owners of a clothing chain, bought the club.[33] A rapid turnover of managers, the absence of promised investment, and a threatened mass refusal of players to renew contracts was relieved only by a victorious trip to Wembley in the Associate Members Cup.[34] Terry Cooper delivered promotion, but the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) put the Kumars' businesses into receivership; in November 1992 BCCI's liquidator put up for sale their 84% holding in the football club.[35]

Sale and reconstruction (1992–2007)

The club continued in administration for four months, until publisher David Sullivan bought it for £700,000,[36] installed the then 23-year-old Karren Brady as managing director and allowed Cooper money for signings. On the last day of the season, the team avoided relegation back to the third tier,[37] but after a poor start to the 1993–94 season Cooper was replaced by Barry Fry. The change did not prevent relegation, but Fry's first full season brought promotion back to the second tier as champions, and victory in the Football League Trophy at Wembley, beating Carlisle United with a Paul Tait golden goal,[38] completed the "lower-league Double". After one more year, Fry was dismissed to make way for the return of Trevor Francis.[39]

Francis introduced players with top-level experience such as Manchester United skipper Steve Bruce. In his second season the club narrowly missed out on a play-off position, followed by three years of play-off semifinal defeats.[8] They also reached the 2001 League Cup final against Liverpool at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Birmingham equalised in the last minute of normal time, but the match went to a penalty shoot-out which Liverpool won.[40] By October 2001, lack of progress had made Francis's position untenable. After a 6–0 League Cup defeat to Manchester City, he left by mutual consent,[41] replaced two months later by Steve Bruce.[42] Bruce shook up a stale team, taking them from mid-table into the play-offs where they beat Norwich City on penalties to win promotion to the Premier League.[43]

Motivated by the inspirational Christophe Dugarry,[44] Birmingham's first top-flight season for 16 years finished in mid-table. Loan signing Mikael Forssell's 17 league goals helped Birmingham to a top-half finish in 2003–04, but when he was injured, the 2004–05 team struggled for goals. In July 2005, chairman David Gold said it was time to "start talking about being as good as anyone outside the top three or four" with "the best squad of players for 25 years".[45] Injuries, lack of form, and lack of transfer window investment saw them relegated in a season whose lowlight was a 7–0 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool.[46] Jermaine Pennant and Emile Heskey left for record fees,[47][48] many more were released,[49] but Bruce's amended recruitment strategy, combining young "hungry" players with free-transfer experience and shrewd exploitation of the loan market, brought automatic promotion at the end of a season which had included calls for his head.[50]

The Chinese years (2007–present)

In July 2007, Hong Kong-based businessman Carson Yeung bought 29.9% of shares in the club, making him the biggest single shareholder, with a view to taking full control in the future.[51] Uncertain as to his future under possible new owners, Bruce left in mid-season.[52] His successor, Scotland national team manager Alex McLeish, was unable to stave off relegation, but achieved promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.[53] Yeung's company completed the takeover in 2009,[54] and the team finished in ninth place, their highest for 51 years.[55] In 2011, they combined a second victory in the League Cup, defeating favourites Arsenal 2–1 with goals from Nikola Žigić and Obafemi Martins and securing qualification for the Europa League,[56] with relegation back to the second tier.

After McLeish resigned in June 2011 to join Aston Villa,[57] Birmingham narrowly failed to reach the knockout rounds of the Europa League and the play-off final. With the club in financial turmoil and under a transfer embargo, manager Chris Hughton left.[58] Under Lee Clark, Birmingham twice retained their divisional status, albeit through Paul Caddis's 93rd-minute goal in the last match of 2013–14 to avoid relegation on goal difference,[59] but continued poor form saw him dismissed in October 2014.[60] Gary Rowett stabilised the team and led them to two tenth-place finishes before being controversially dismissed by new owners Trillion Trophy Asia in favour of the "pedigree" of Gianfranco Zola, who would aid the club's "strategic, long-term view" to take the club in a new direction.[61] Two wins from 24 matches under Zola left Birmingham needing two wins from the last three games to stay up, which they achieved under the managership of Harry Redknapp.[62] Redknapp lasted another month,[63] his former assistant Steve Cotterill five months, leaving successor Garry Monk another  ultimately successful  relegation battle.[64][65] Despite budgetary restrictions and a nine-point deduction for breaches of the League's Profitability and Sustainability rules, the team finished 17th in 2018–19. However, Monk was sacked in June after conflict with the board,[66] and was succeeded by his assistant, Pep Clotet, initially as caretaker.[67]

Colours and badge

Small Heath Alliance original kit

The Small Heath Alliance members decided among themselves that their colours would be blue; in the early days, they wore whatever blue shirt they had.[68] Their first uniform kit was a dark blue shirt with a white sash and white shorts.[69] Several variations on a blue theme were tried; the one that stuck was the royal blue shirt with a white "V", adopted during the First World War and retained until the late 1920s. Though the design changed, the royal blue remained. In 1971 they adopted the "penguin" strip – royal blue with a broad white central front panel – which lasted five years.[70] Since then they have generally worn plain, nominally royal blue shirts, though the actual shade used has varied. Shorts have been either blue or white, and socks usually blue, white or a combination. White, yellow, red and black, on their own or in combination, have been the most frequently used colours for the away kit.[69][71]

There have been aberrations. The 1992 kit, sponsored by Triton Showers, was made of a blue material covered with multicoloured splashes which resembled a shower curtain.[72][73] Birmingham have only worn stripes on their home shirt once; in 1999 they wore a blue shirt with a front central panel in narrow blue and white stripes, a design similar to the Tesco supermarket carrier bag of the time.[71][74]

When the club changed their name from Small Heath to Birmingham in 1905 they adopted the city's coat of arms as their crest, although this was not always worn on the shirts. The 1970s "penguin" shirt carried the letters "BCFC" intertwined at the centre of the chest. The Sports Argus newspaper ran a competition in 1972 to design a new badge for the club. The winning entry, a line-drawn globe and ball, with ribbon carrying the club name and date of foundation, in plain blue and white,[75] was adopted by the club but not worn on playing shirts until 1976. An experiment was made in the early 1990s with colouring in the globe and ball, but the club soon reverted to the plain version.[76]

The 2019–20 home kit consists of a royal blue shirt with navy sleeves, white stripes on the shoulders and yellow trim at the collar and cuffs, white shorts with blue stripes down the side seams, and navy socks with white trim at the turnover. The away kit is charcoal, with white stripes on the shoulders, the side seams of the shorts, and the sock turnovers. The kits are supplied by Adidas and bear the logo of the club's new principal sponsor, Irish bookmaker BoyleSports.[77]

Sponsors' names or logos have appeared on the shirts since 1982. Tables of shirt sponsors and kit suppliers appear below.[76]


Small Heath Alliance played their first home games on waste ground off Arthur Street, Bordesley Green. As interest grew, they moved to a fenced-off field in Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, where admission could be charged. A year later, they moved again, to a field adjoining Muntz Street, Small Heath, near the main Coventry Road, with a capacity of about 10,000. The Muntz Street ground was adequate for 1880s friendly matches, and the capacity was gradually raised to around 30,000, but when several thousand spectators scaled walls and broke down turnstiles to get into a First Division match against Aston Villa, it became clear that it could no longer cope with the demand.[78]

Director Harry Morris identified a site for a new ground in Bordesley Green, some three-quarters of a mile (1 km) from Muntz Street towards the city centre. The site was where a brickworks once operated; the land sloped steeply down to stagnant pools, yet the stadium was constructed in under twelve months from land clearance to opening ceremony on Boxing Day 1906. Heavy snow nearly prevented the opening; volunteers had to clear pitch and terraces before the match, a goalless draw against Middlesbrough, could go ahead.[78] The ground is reputed to have been cursed by gypsies evicted from the site;[79] although gypsies are known to have camped nearby,[80] there is no contemporary evidence for their eviction by the club.

The original capacity of St Andrew's was reported as 75,000, with 4,000 seats in the Main Stand and space for 22,000 under cover.[78] By 1938 the official capacity was 68,000, and February 1939 saw the attendance record set at the fifth round FA Cup tie against Everton, variously recorded as 66,844 or 67,341.[upper-alpha 1] On the outbreak of the Second World War, the Chief Constable ordered the ground's closure because of the danger from air raids; it was the only ground to be thus closed, and was only re-opened after the matter was raised in Parliament. It was badly damaged during the Birmingham Blitz: the Railway End and the Kop as a result of bombing, while the Main Stand burnt down when a fireman mistook petrol for water.[78]

The replacement Main Stand used a propped cantilever roof design, which meant fewer pillars to block spectators' view of the pitch. Floodlights were installed in 1956, and officially switched on for a friendly match against Borussia Dortmund in 1957.[84] By the early 1960s a stand had been built at the Railway End to the same design as the Main Stand, roofs had been put on the Kop and Tilton Road End, and the ground capacity was down to about 55,000.[84]

Resulting from the 1986 Popplewell Report into the safety of sports grounds and the later Taylor Report, the capacity of St Andrew's was set at 28,235 for safety reasons,[32][84] but it was accepted that the stadium had to be brought up to modern all-seated standards. After the last home game of the 1993–94 season, the Kop and Tilton Road terraces were demolished – fans took home a significant proportion as souvenirs – to be replaced at the start of the new season by a 7,000-seat Tilton Road Stand, continuing round the corner into the 9,500-seat Kop which opened two months later.[78] The 8,000-seat Railway Stand followed in 1999;[85] ten years later, this was renamed the Gil Merrick Stand, in honour of the club's appearance record-holder and former manager[86] – but the Main Stand has still to be modernised. In 2019, the club website listed the stadium capacity as 29,409.[3]

In 2004 a proposal was put forward to build a "sports village" comprising a new 55,000 capacity stadium for the club, to be known as the City of Birmingham Stadium, other sports and leisure facilities, and a super casino. The project would be jointly financed by Birmingham City Council, Birmingham City F.C. (via the proceeds of the sale of St Andrew's) and the casino group Las Vegas Sands. The feasibility of the plan depended on the government issuing a licence for a super casino, and Birmingham being chosen as the venue,[87] but this did not happen. The club have planning permission to redevelop the Main Stand,[88] but club and council have continued to seek alternative sources of funding for the City of Birmingham Stadium project.[89]

In 2013, the Birmingham City Supporters' Trust's application for listing St Andrew's as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) – a building or other land whose main use "furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community" and where it is realistic to believe it could do so in the future.[90] – under the Localism Act 2011 was approved by Birmingham City Council.[91] This requires any proposed sale to be notified to the Council, and provides for a six-month moratorium on that sale to allow the Trust and other community groups to submit their own bid.[91] In 2018, the club's owners agreed a three-year sponsorship deal under which the name became St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium.[92]


Birmingham fans consider their main rivals to be Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours geographically, with whom they contest the Second City derby. Lesser rivalries include fellow West Midlands clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion. According to a 2003 Football Fans Census survey, Aston Villa fans thought of Birmingham City as their main rivals, though this was not always the case.[93]

Birmingham's supporters are generally referred to as "Bluenoses" in the media and by the fans themselves; the name is also used in a derogatory manner by fans of other clubs.[93][94] A piece of public sculpture in the form of a ten-times-life-size head lying on a mound near the St Andrew's ground, Ondré Nowakowski's Sleeping Iron Giant, has been repeatedly defaced with blue paint on its nose.[95] Between 1994 and 1997 the club mascot took the form of a blue nose,[96] though it is now a dog called Beau Brummie, a play on the name Beau Brummell and Brummie, the slang word for a person from Birmingham.

A number of supporters' clubs are affiliated to the football club, both in England and abroad.[97] An action group was formed in 1991 to protest against chairman Samesh Kumar,[34] the club blamed an internet petition for the collapse of the purchase of player Lee Bowyer in 2005,[98] and antipathy towards the board provoked hostile chanting and a pitch invasion after the last match of the 2007–08 season,[99] but when the club was in financial difficulties, supporters contributed to schemes which funded the purchase of players Brian Roberts in 1984[100] and Paul Peschisolido in 1992.[34] A supporters' trust was formed under the auspices of Supporters Direct in 2012.[101]

There have been several fanzines published by supporters. Made in Brum, first issued in 2000, was the only one regularly on sale in 2013.[102] The Zulu began some years earlier and ran for at least 16 seasons.[103] The hooligan firm associated with the club, the Zulus, were unusual in that they had multi-racial membership at a time when many such firms had associations with racist or right-wing groups.[104][105]

The fans' anthem,[106] an adaptation of Harry Lauder's Keep right on to the end of the road,[107] was adopted during the 1956 FA Cup campaign. The Times' football correspondent described in his Cup Final preview how

the Birmingham clans swept their side along to Wembley – the first side ever to reach a final without once playing at home – on the wings of the song "Keep right on to the end of the road".[108]

Player Alex Govan is credited with popularising the song, by singing it on the coach on the way to the quarter-final[109] and when he revealed in an interview that it was his favourite.

In the build-up to the 1956 FA Cup semi-final with Sunderland I was interviewed by the press and happened to let slip that my favourite song was Harry Lauder's old music hall number "Keep Right on to the End of the Road". I thought no more about it, but when the third goal went in at Hillsborough the Blues fans all started singing it. It was the proudest moment of my life.[110]


Small Heath F.C. became a limited company in 1888; its first share issue was to the value of £650.[111] The board was made up of local businessmen and dignitaries until 1965, when the club was sold to Clifford Coombs.[112] By the mid-1980s the club was in financial trouble. Control passed from the Coombs family to former Walsall F.C. chairman Ken Wheldon, who cut costs, made redundancies, and sold off assets, including the club's training ground. Still unable to make the club pay, Wheldon sold it to the Kumar brothers, owners of a clothing chain.[33] Debt was still increasing when matters came to a head; the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) put the Kumars' businesses into receivership. The club continued in administration for four months until Sport Newspapers' proprietor David Sullivan bought the Kumars' 84% holding for £700,000 from BCCI's liquidator in March 1993.[35][36] Birmingham City plc, of which the football club was a wholly owned subsidiary, was floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 1997 with an issue of 15 million new shares,[113] raising £7.5 million of new investment.[114] It made a pre-tax profit of £4.3M in the year ending 31 August 2008.[115]

In July 2007, Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung, via the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK)-listed company Grandtop International Holdings Limited (GIH), bought 29.9% of the plc from its directors. Although his intention to take full control of the club initially came to nothing,[116] GIH completed the purchase in October 2009 at a total cost of £81.5M, re-registered the club as a private company, and renamed the holding company Birmingham International Holdings (BIH).[117][118][119]

Trading in BIH shares was suspended in June 2011 after Yeung's arrest on charges of money-laundering.[120] Publication of financial results was repeatedly delayed,[121] which led the Football League to impose a transfer embargo,[122] and offers for the club were entertained from 2012 onwards.[123] After Yeung resigned his positions with both club and company in early 2014, share trading resumed,[124] and following his conviction,[125] efforts intensified to dispose of the club, which had to be done piecemeal in order to retain BIH's share listing.[126]

Going into 2015, the Football League made public their concerns over Yeung's attempts to impose his choice of directors on the BIHL board despite his conviction disqualifying him from exerting influence over a club.[127] Relationships became increasingly factional, as illustrated by the failure of three directors, including the club's de facto chief executive Panos Pavlakis, to gain re-election, followed the next day by their reinstatement.[128] On 17 February, the board voluntarily appointed receivers from accountants Ernst & Young to take over management of the company. Their statement stressed that no winding-up petition had been issued and the company was not in liquidation.[129][130]

In June 2015, the receivers granted a two-year exclusivity period to their preferred bidder, the British Virgin Islands-registered investment vehicle Trillion Trophy Asia (TTA), wholly owned by Chinese businessman Paul Suen Cho Hung. After striking deals with the previous major shareholders such that legal action against them would be dropped in return for their agreement not to obstruct any transfer of ownership, the receivers released a document in June 2016 setting out a timescale for the company restructure, share relisting and takeover, to be completed by the end of October. It confirmed that Suen would hold 60.78% of BIH shares and the Yeung faction no more than 14%, and that the company would not be sold on within two years.[131] The process completed on 17 October, leaving TTA owning 50.64% of BIH's share capital, a level of ownership that required them to make an offer for the remainder.[4]


Birmingham City's honours include the following:[132]

Second Division / Division One / The Championship (level 2)

Third Division / Division Two (level 3)

FA Cup

Football League Cup

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup

Associate Members Cup / Football League Trophy

Birmingham Senior Cup

  • Winners: 1905
Small Heath first entered the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1878–79  ten years before the foundation of the Football League  and won for the first time in 1905, defeating West Bromwich Albion 7–2 in the final. Its importance declined with the increase in League fixtures, and from 1905–06 onwards, Birmingham fielded teams containing reserve-team players.[133][134]

Football League South (wartime)

Preparatory to the Football League resuming in 1946–47, the First and Second Division clubs from the last pre-war season were divided geographically between the Leagues North and South for 1945–46. Going into the last day of the season, Aston Villa were top of League South but had finished their programme two points (one win) ahead of the chasers but with a worse goal average. Charlton Athletic were second, above Birmingham by 0.002 of a goal.[135] While Charlton could only draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham won away at Luton Town, so claimed the title by 0.3 of a goal.[136][137]

Records and statistics

Frank Womack holds the record for Birmingham league appearances, having played 491 matches between 1908 and 1928, closely followed by Gil Merrick with 485 between 1946 and 1959. If all senior competitions are included, Merrick has 551, less closely followed by Womack's 515 which is the record for an outfield player.[138] The player who won most international caps while at the club is Maik Taylor with 58 for Northern Ireland.[139]

The goalscoring record is held by Joe Bradford, with 249 league goals, 267 altogether, scored between 1920 and 1935; no other player comes close. Walter Abbott holds the records for the most goals scored in a season, in 1898–99, with 34 league goals in the Second Division and 42 goals in total.[47]

The club's widest victory margin in the league was 12–0, a scoreline which they achieved once in the Football Alliance, against Nottingham Forest in 1899, and twice in the Second Division, against Walsall Town Swifts in 1892 and Doncaster Rovers in 1903. They have lost a league match by an eight-goal margin on eight occasions: twice in the Football Alliance and five times in the First Division, all away from home,[140] and once at home, beaten 8–0 by Bournemouth in the Championship in 2014.[141] Their record FA Cup win was 10–0 against Druids in the fourth qualifying round of the 1899 competition;[142] their record FA Cup defeat was 7–0 at home to Liverpool in the 2006 quarter-final.[141]

Birmingham's home attendance record was set at the fifth-round FA Cup tie against Everton on 11 February 1939. It is variously recorded as 66,844 or 67,341.[upper-alpha 1] The highest transfer fee received for a Birmingham player is, according to the BBC Sport website, £15 million from Southampton for Che Adams in July 2019,[143] while the most expensive player bought was Jota, who joined from Brentford in August 2017 for a fee in excess of £6 million.[144]


Current squad

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of 6 November 2019.[145][146][147]

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Lee Camp  Northern Ireland
2 Defender Wes Harding  England
3 Defender Kristian Pedersen  Denmark
4 Defender Marc Roberts  England
5 Defender Maxime Colin  France
6 Midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld  Netherlands
7 Midfielder Dan Crowley  England
8 Midfielder Craig Gardner  England
10 Forward Lukas Jutkiewicz  England
11 Forward Jérémie Bela  France
12 Defender Harlee Dean  England
13 Goalkeeper David Stockdale  England
14 Defender Jake Clarke-Salter (on loan from Chelsea for the season[148])  England
15 Midfielder Jefferson Montero (on loan from Swansea City for the season[149])  Ecuador
16 Midfielder Josh McEachran  England
17 Midfielder Fran Villalba  Spain
18 Midfielder Kerim Mrabti  Sweden
19 Midfielder Jacques Maghoma  DR Congo
20 Midfielder Gary Gardner  England
21 Midfielder Agus Medina  Spain
22 Midfielder Jude Bellingham  England
23 Goalkeeper Moha Ramos (on loan from Real Madrid for the season[150])  Spain
24 Forward Álvaro Giménez  Spain
26 Midfielder David Davis  England
27 Goalkeeper Connal Trueman  England
29 Defender Jonathan Grounds  England
33 Defender Cheick Keita  Mali
34 Midfielder Ivan Šunjić  Croatia
37 Midfielder Odin Bailey  England
42 Defender Steve Seddon  England
43 Defender Geraldo Bajrami  Albania
44 Midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce  Northern Ireland
45 Defender Ryan Burke  Ireland
46 Defender Joe Redmond  Ireland
47 Midfielder Ryan Stirk  Wales

Out on loan

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth.

No. Position Player Nation
25 Defender Josh Dacres-Cogley (on loan to Crawley Town for the season[151])  England
30 Defender Corey O'Keeffe (on loan to Macclesfield Town for the season[152])  Ireland
31 Midfielder Charlie Lakin (on loan to Stevenage for the season[153])  England

Reserves and Academy

Birmingham City Women

Birmingham City Ladies Football Club was formed in 1968. The first team worked their way through the leagues until promoted to the FA Women's Premier League in 2002. After Birmingham City F.C. withdrew financial support in 2005, the club were only able to continue because of a personal donation. They re-affiliated with Birmingham City in 2010, were founder members of the FA WSL the following year, and won the FA Women's Cup in 2012.[154][155][156]

Club officials

Owner: Trillion Trophy Asia[4]

CEO: Xuandong Ren[64]


As of 26 June 2017[157]
    • Wenqing Zhao
    • Chun Kong Yiu
    • Gannan Zheng
    • Yao Wang
    • Xuandong Ren

Coaching staff:

As of 4 December 2019[158]

Notable managers

Gil Merrick was the first Birmingham manager to win a major trophy, the League Cup in 1963. Merrick also led the club to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final in 1961, following Pat Beasley who had done the same in 1960.[159] Leslie Knighton took the club to the final of the FA Cup in 1931;[16] Arthur Turner did likewise in 1956, as well as taking charge of the club's highest league finish, sixth place in the 1955–56 First Division.[19] Birmingham reached the 2001 Football League Cup Final under Trevor Francis,[40] whose successor as permanent manager, Steve Bruce, twice achieved promotion to the Premier League.[43][50] Birmingham won the League Cup for the second time under Alex McLeish in 2011.[56] The 1966 World Cup-winning manager, Sir Alf Ramsey, took charge of the club briefly in 1977.[159]


  1. Some sources give the record attendance as 66,844: these include the records page of Birmingham City F.C.'s website[47] and Rothman's Football Yearbook.[81] Others, including the history page of Birmingham City F.C.'s website,[8] Matthews' Encyclopedia,[82] and The Times newspaper from the Monday following the match,[83] say 67,341.



  • Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9.
  • Matthews, Tony (October 2000). The Encyclopedia of Birmingham City Football Club 1875–2000. Cradley Heath: Britespot. ISBN 978-0-9539288-0-4.
  • Lewis, Peter, ed. (2000). Keeping right on since 1875. The Official History of Birmingham City Football Club. Lytham: Arrow. ISBN 1-900722-12-7.


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