Saturday, October 13, 2012
Birmingham City Football Club
Birmingham City Football Club ( /ˈbɜrmɪŋɡəm ˈsɪti/) is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, thenBirmingham in 1905, finally becoming Birmingham City in 1943. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery
In the 2012–13 season they will compete in the Football League Championship, the second tier of league football in England.
As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members and first ever champions of the Football League Second Division. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery
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, progressed to the final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1960 and 1961, and won their first major trophy, the League Cup, in 1963, beating Aston Villa 3–1 on aggregate. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery
They won the latter competition for the second time in 2011. They have played in the top tier of English football for the majority of their history. Their longest period spent outside the top division, between 1986 and 2002, included two brief spells in the third tier of the English League, during which time they twice won the Football League Trophy. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery
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, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses.
Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, and from 1877 played their home games at Muntz Street. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery
The club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F.C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery
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 matchsystem; the following season promotion to the First Division was secured after a second place finish and test match victory over Darwen. Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery
The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrew's Ground, the following year. 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. Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery
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. Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for anoutfielder, over a twenty-year career. Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery
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. 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, Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery
they struggled in the league, with much reliance placed on England goalkeeperHarry Hibbs to make up for the lack of goals, Bradford excepted, at the other end. They were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War.
The name Birmingham City F.C. was adopted in 1943. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery
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. Storer's successor Bob Brocklebank, Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery
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. 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. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery
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".Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery
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; they went on to reach the semifinal where they drew 4–4 on aggregate with Barcelona, losing the replay 2–1. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery
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. In the 1961 semifinal they beat Internazionale home and away; no other English club won a competitive game in the San Siro until Arsenalmanaged it more than 40 years later. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery
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. In 1965, after ten years in the top flight, they returned to the Second Division. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery
Businessman Clifford Coombs took over as chairman in 1965, luring Stan Cullis out of retirement to manage the club. Cullis's team played attractive football which took them to the semifinals of the League Cup in 1967 and the FA Cup in 1968, but league football needed a different approach. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery
Successor Freddie Goodwin produced a team playing skilful, aggressive football that won promotion as well as reaching an FA Cup semifinal. 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. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery
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; Francis had scored a total of 133 goals in 329 appearances over his nine years at Birmingham. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery
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. They bounced back up, but the last home game of the 1984–85 promotion season, against Leeds United, Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery
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. The club lacked stability both on and off the field. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery
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.
In April 1989 the Kumar brothers, owners of a clothing chain, bought the club. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery
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. Terry Cooper delivered promotion, but the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) put the Kumars' businesses into receivership; Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery
in November 1992 BCCI'sliquidator put up for sale their 84% holding in the football club. The club continued in administration for four months, until publisher David Sullivanbought it for £700,000, installed the then 23-year-old Karren Brady as managing director and allowed Cooper money for signings. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery
On the last day of the season, the team avoided relegation back to the third tier, 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 and victory in the Football League Trophy at Wembley, beatingCarlisle United with a Paul Tait golden goal. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery
After one more year, Fry was sacked to make way for the return of Trevor Francis.
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. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery
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 shootout which Liverpool won.By October 2001, lack of progress had made Francis's position untenable. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery
After a 6–0 League Cup defeat to Manchester City, he left by mutual consent,replaced two months later by Steve Bruce. 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 thePremier League.
Motivated by the inspirational Christophe Dugarry,Birmingham's first top-flight season for 16 years finished in mid-table. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery
Loan signing Mikael Forssell's 17 league goals helped Birmingham to a top-half finish in 2003–04, though performances and results tailed off badly towards the end of the season. First-team coach Mark Bowen was sacked and replaced by Eric Black, international players were signed, but an injury to Forssell left the 2004–05 team struggling for goals. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery
More transfer window loan signings ensured another mid-table finish. Only two months later, 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".Injuries, lack of form, and a lack of investment during the transfer window saw them relegated before the last game of a season whose lowlight was a 0–7 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool.[ Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery
Jermaine Pennant and Emile Heskey left for record fees, many more were released, but Bruce retained the confidence of the board. His 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. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery
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. Uncertain as to his future under possible new owners, Bruce left in mid-season to become manager of Premier League rivals Wigan Athletic. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery
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, and a ninth-place finish, their best for 51 years, the following season. In 2011, they combined a second victory in the League Cup, Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery
defeating favourites Arsenal 2–1 with goals from Nikola Žigić and Obafemi Martins and securing qualification for the Europa League, with relegation back to the second tier. McLeish resigned in June 2011 to join Aston Villa. Successor Chris Hughton narrowly failed to reach the knockout rounds of the Europa League and the playoff final before, with the club in financial turmoil and under a transfer embargo, leaving for Norwich City in June 2012.Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery
He was replaced by Lee Clark.
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. Their first uniform kit was a dark blue shirt with a white sash and white shorts. Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery
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. 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. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery
The winning entry, a line-drawn globe and ball, with ribbon carrying the club name and date of foundation, in plain blue and white, 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. Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery
In 2010, the club signed a contract with Chinese sportswear company Xtep, reportedly worth £7.8 million over five years, to supply the club's playing and training kit and associated leisurewear.Following numerous supply and contractual issues, the deal was cancelled by mutual consent after only two years, and the club agreed that Diadora would supply the kit for the next three years. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
The 2012–13 home kit has royal blue shirt and socks with white shorts, the change kit is all black, and there is a pink third shirt. Each shirt bears the name of sponsors EZE Group, an entertainment and leisure company.Sponsors' names or logos have appeared on the shirts since 1982.
Small Heath Alliance played their first home games on waste ground off Arthur Street, Bordesley Green. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery
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, Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery
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.
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. Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery
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. Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery
The ground is reputed to have been cursed by gypsies evicted from the site; although gypsies are known to have camped nearby, 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. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
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.[A] On the outbreak of the Second World War, the Chief Constable ordered the ground's closure because of the danger from air raids; Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
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.
The replacement Main Stand used a propped cantilever roof design, which meant fewer pillars to block spectators' view of the pitch. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery