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Birmingham odds are amongst the most popular to bet on. With the club’s history of yo-yoing up and down the divisions, odds on Birmingham to get promoted are as popular with bettors as odds on Birmingham to be relegated, with both subject to bookmaker enhanced odds and money back specials on occasion.
Just as Birmingham promotion odds and Birmingham relegation odds are popular, odds on behind-the-scenes changes are also common. With the club’s history of a high turnover of managers, Birmingham manager odds can offer value.
Birmingham City Football Club are a professional outfit from Birmingham, England. They currently play in the country’s second tier, the Championship. Winners of two League Cup titles, and the first winners of the Football League Second Division, most of their history has been played in the top two divisions. They are currently embarking on their sixth consecutive season in the Championship.
Birmingham FC history begins in 1875. The club was founded and named Small Heath Alliance. Small Heath Alliance played amateur football for the first ten years of its existence, before turning professional in 1885.
In 1888, the club became the first in the country to have a board of directors and becoming a limited company. The company was named as Small Heath F.C Ltd. For the following season, the club joined the Football Alliance, and three years later joined the new Football League Second Division.
Small Heath became the first ever Champions of the Second Division, but after losing the promotion/relegation play-off the club didn’t achieve promotion. However, the club didn’t have to wait long for a First Division place, with promotion earned the following season through a runners-up position and the defeat of Darwen in the promotion/relegation play-off.
Their top flight stay lasted just two seasons, and the club were relegated in the 1895/1896 season. Five seasons later followed a promotion, relegation and a promotion in consecutive seasons.
In 1905, the club changed its name from Small Heath to Birmingham Football Club, quickly followed by a move to St. Andrews, the club’s home to this day. The name change and new stadium didn’t inspire success though, and in 1908 the club were relegated once more.
Birmingham remained in the Second Division until a year after the Football League calendar resumed in 1919 after the First World War. A third place finish was quickly followed by another Second Division title, and Birmingham found themselves once more as a First Division club.
The remainder of the 1920’s was an uneventful time for Birmingham, as they fought against relegation more often and rarely challenged for any major titles. That changed in the 1930/1931 season when the club reached its first ever League Cup Final, however a defeat to near neighbours West Bromwich Albion left Birmingham still trophy-less.
During the last full season of Football League action before the Second World War suspended its calendar, Birmingham suffered relegation again. During the course of the war, Birmingham changed their name to Birmingham City F.C, how we know them today.
When the Football League resumed, Birmingham City were promoted once more, but again their pre-war reputation of sliding in and out of the top two divisions was still lived up to. Birmingham City were relegated again in 1950, but promoted as Second Division Champions in 1955.
The following season saw the club finish sixth in the First Division, Birmingham City’s highest ever finish. Birmingham also reached the FA Cup Final, but were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City in a game made famous with Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing on even after breaking a bone in his neck.
In 1956, Birmingham City became the first ever English club to play in a European competition. The club entered the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, eventually losing out at the semi-final stage after being beaten by Barcelona. Birmingham’s European heritage continued when in 1960 they became the first English club to play in a European final, beaten in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final by Barcelona once more and again the following season, this time by Roma.
In 1963, Birmingham City won their first ever major trophy. Up against fierce rivals Aston Villa, they won the League Cup Final 3-1 on aggregate.
Whilst the club were going from strength to strength in cup competitions, their league form was consistently poor. With the first four seasons of the 1960’s resulting in 19th, 17th 20th and 20th positions, the club suffered relegation in 1965.
During their time back in the Second Division, Birmingham City reached the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and the League Cup, but their league form wasn’t good enough for a promotion push. This changed in the 1971/1972 season, when a 2nd place finish saw them back in the First Division.
Again, though, Birmingham couldn’t settle for long in the top flight. Amidst managerial changes and key players being sold, Birmingham City were relegated yet again in the 1978/1979 season.
It was only a one season stay this time in the Second Division for Birmingham, with a 3rd place finish being enough that year for a promotion place.
There was trouble on and off the pitch, with the club struggling with financial issues Birmingham City’s topsy turvy nature continued with relegation again in 1984. An immediate promotion followed by an immediate relegation preceded a further relegation in the 1988/1989 season and the club found themselves in the Third Division for the first time in Birmingham history.
The Kumar brothers bought the club in 1989, a move that eventually led to Birmingham City being liquidated. Their clothing business was put into receivership and the football club entered administration. Despite serious concerns over the club’s future, Birmingham City gained promotion from the Third Division in 1992 to the second tier, from 1992 onwards known as Division One following the formation of the Premier League.
Later that year, David Sullivan bought the club and rescued its future. The club were relegated in the 1993/1994 season, but they bounced back straight away, winning the Division Two title ensuring immediate promotion.
Birmingham City began to make steady progress in Division One. From the 1998/1999 season the club lost three consecutive play-off finals, but finally they were successful in 2000/2001, beating Norwich City on penalties in the play-off final.
The 2002/2003 season was Birmingham City’s first ever in the Premier League, and the first in the English top flight for 17 years. They performed well, with three successive mid-table finishes, but the 2005/2006 season resulted in relegation. In the space of four years, Birmingham were involved in relegation, promotion, relegation and promotion. A second place finish in the second tier, now named the Championship, saw Birmingham play Premier League football again for the 2009/2010 season.
Before this yo-yoing in and out of the Premier League, Carson Yeung bought almost 30% of shares in Birmingham City in 2007. This led to more financial turmoil for the club.
The 2010/2011 season was a time of highs and lows. Birmingham City won their second League Cup trophy, beating Arsenal in the Final, but the club were relegated the same season.
In the 2011/2012 season, Birmingham almost acheived an immediate promotion, but were defeated in the semi-finals of the Championship play-offs. Two seasons later, the club were almost relegated, keeping their Championship place on goal difference only. The two following seasons saw consecutive 10th place finishes.
The first Birmingham City badge was used in 1905, when the club occasionally used the Birmingham city coat of arms.
The Birmingham City FC crest then changed in 1970, when the club used the initials BCFC badge with the letters overlapping and intertwining with each other.
In 1976, the Birmingham City Football Club badge changed again. Following a fan competition, the new Birmingham FC badge featured a globe above a football, with three banners stating the club name and the year of formation.
In 1992, the club altered the colours of the Birmingham football badge, with the globe in yellow and the football in red, but the season after the club changed back to the old Birmingham City badge with the globe and ball back plain.
This is the Birmingham badge still used to this day.
Birmingham City are famous for their royal blue shirts, white shorts and royal blue socks. This has generally been the standard kit for Birmingham since 1922.
When Small Heath Alliance turned professional, their first kit featured similar colours, but with the shirt containing a diagonal white stripe. This kit was worn until 1882, when the white stripe was removed.
For the 1885/1886 season, the kit was completely changed. This new kit featured a black and yellow striped shirt, with white shorts and black socks before reverting back to blue and white the following season.
When the club changed its name to Small Heath, the 1888/1889 season saw the team wear black shirts with a yellow collar, white shorts and black socks. Again, this new design lasted for just one season, before the club returned to its blue and white strips.
From 1893 to 1900, the club wore light blue shirts instead of the darker royal blue. In 1901, the club used royal blue shirts again, and this has stayed Birmingham City’s home shirt colour ever since.
At first, this Birmingham City kit was worn with black socks. It wasn’t until the 1922/1923 season that the club began to wear blue socks regularly.
Shorts and socks colour have alternated over the years, with blue shorts worn or white socks used. The current Birmingham City kit is an all blue affair, royal blue shirts with royal blue shorts and socks.
The current Birmingham City FC Stadium is St. Andrew’s. St. Andrew’s was built in 1905, and Birmingham moved into the new stadium after leaving Muntz Street in 1906.
The Birmingham stadium has four all seater stands. The Main Stand (at one time known as the Garrison Lane Stand) features two tiers, and was built in 1955.
The Railway Stand also features two tiers. The Railway Stand, also known as the Gil Merrick Stand, also houses the away supporters, and was built in 1999.
The Kop Stand features an array of executive boxes and also includes the directors box. This stand was opened in 1994, along with the Tilton Road Stand, which seats 9000 Birmingham supporters.
The club first played just off Arthur Street in Bordesley Green, before they moved to Ladypool Road. Needing a ground with a larger capacity, the club moved to Muntz Street.
Despite the increased capacity of their new ground, the demand was still too high to accommodate everybody and so the club decided to build a new ground. This new ground was named St. Andrew’s, said to have a capacity of 75,000 when it first opened, and the club moved in in 1906.
Birmingham City supporters have a fierce rivalry with those of Aston Villa, their close neighbours. There are also rivalries with fellow Midlands teams Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.
Birmingham City fans are known for their passionate, loyal support. Supporters founded a group to protest against the then owners the Kumar brothers, and also helped the club through its financial difficulties, raising money for player signings on a number of occasions.
There are a number of Birmingham City supporters clubs up and down the country and across the globe. The club also has a popular following on social media, with over 150 thousand followers on twitter alone.
One of the most popular Birmingham City supporters songs is an adaptation of ‘Keep Right On To The End Of The Road’, made popular during the club’s run to the 1956 FA Cup Final.
Birmingham City have had a number of owners since inception. When the club changed its name to Small Heath in 1888, they became a limited company, with the board consisting of a number of local businessmen.
In 1965, Birmingham City was sold to Clifford Coombs. During Coombs’ tenure, the club suffered with financial problems and in the 1980’s Ken Wheldon took control.
To try and ease the financial pressure on the club, Wheldon sold a number of the club’s assets, including their training ground. However, these attempts at improving the club’s finances weren’t successful, and Wheldon sold the club to the Kumar brothers.
The Kumar brothers couldn’t improve Birmingham City’s financial situation either. In fact, things got worse for the club. The Kumar brothers’ clothing chain went into receivership, and the club into administration.
In 1993, David Sullivan bought the 84% of shares that the Kumar brothers owned. Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady oversaw the running of the club up until 2009.
In 2007, Carson Yeung bought nearly 30% of shares through Grandtop International Holdings, later known as Birmingham International Holdings.
The company bought the majority of shares in 2009, leading to the departure of Sullivan, Gold and Brady. However, in 2011, Carson Yeung was arrested for money laundering, eventually leading to a transfer embargo on the club after they failed to provide their financial results.
In 2015, the board appointed receivers to take on the running of the club. There is now a two year exclusivity agreement to sell the club to Trillion Trophy Asia.
Birmingham FC stats begin with their record appearance maker. Gil Merrick made 551 appearances between 1946 and 1959. Only one other player in Birmingham City history has made over 500 appearances for the club, Frank Womack made 515 appearances from 1908 to 1928.
Birmingham City’s all time leading goalscorer is Joe Bradford. Bradford scored 267 in 445 appearances between 1920 and 1935. Bradford is the only player in Birmingham history to score over 200 goals for the club, but five others scored over one hundred. These are Trevor Francis (133 goals), Peter Murphy (127 goals), Fred Wheldon (116 goals), George Briggs (107 goals) and Billy Jones (102 goals).
Birmingham City’s record transfer signing is Nikola Zigic, bought for £6 million from Valencia in 2010. The highest transfer fee Birmingham have received is £6.7 million, a fee paid by Liverpool for Jermaine Pennant in 2006.
Birmingham also received the first £1 million transfer fee when the club sold Trevor Francis to Nottingham Forest.
The two biggest victories in Birmingham history came when the club was known as Small Heath. Small Heath beat both Doncaster Rovers and Walsall Town Swifts 12-0, the former in 1903 and the latter in 1892.
Birmingham’s biggest defeat is 9-1, and this happened on four occasions. Three when the club were known as Small Heath, these being against Sheffield Wednesday in 1889, Newton Heath in 1890 and Blackburn Rovers in 1895. The final 9-1 defeat occurred when the club had changed its name to Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday again beating the club by this scoreline in 1930.
The highest attendance recorded at St. Andrew’s is 67,341, recorded against Everton in the FA Cup in 1939.
The current number of Birmingham City players part of the first team squad is 26. These include a number of international players, as well as some experienced Premier League players.
The current Birmingham City supporters’ Player of the Year is Jon Toral, who spent the 2015/2016 season on loan from Arsenal.
Notable ex Birmingham City players include Gil Merrick, Trevor Francis, Bob Latchford, Jeff Hall, Malcolm Page, Alex Govan, Trevor Smith, Joe Bradford, Garry Pendry and Christophe Dugarry.
Birmingham City also have a Ladies team. Birmingham City Ladies were founding members of the Women’s Super League and in 2012 won the FA Women’s Cup.
The current Birmingham City manager is Gary Rowett. Rowett took the Birmingham managerial reins in October 2014. To date, Rowett has a win percentage of 39.8, after winning 37 of his 93 games in charge.
In terms of trophy success, the most successful Birmingham City manager is Gil Merrick. Merrick won the League Cup in 1963, and took Birmingham to the final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1961.
In terms of win percentage, Harry Storer is the club’s most successful manager. Storer won 59 of his 114 games in charge, giving him a win percentage of 51.8.
Alfred Jones is Birmingham City’s first and longest serving manager. Jones managed the club from 1892 to 1908, taking charge of 566 matches.
The Birmingham City honours list includes two League Cup wins (1963 and 2011); four-time second tier winners (1892/1893, 1920/1921, 1947/1948, 1954/1955); and FA Cup runners up twice (1931 and 1956).
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