THIS WEEK IN BLUES HISTORY
Forty-seven years ago today, a 16-year-old Trevor Francis announced his talent with a four-goal haul against Bolton Wanderers.
Birmingham City On This Day revisits the most magical and memorable moments from the club's distinguished history, mixing in a maelstrom of anecdotes and characters to produce an irresistibly dippable Blues diary - with an entry for every day of the year.
In it you will discover when winning the Second Division title was not enough to get Blues promoted; which Blues player was the first to win an England cap; what inspired Sir Harry Lauder to compose Keep Right On to the End of the Road; what was the score when Blues took on Aston Villa in a cricket match, and how a tragedy for Blues raised awareness for vaccinations against polio across Britain.
But first, here's a sneak preview from the book - a special selection of events from this week in Birmingham City history:
Saturday 5th September 1970 Boy wonder Trevor Francis made his Blues debut coming on as a second half for Bob Latchford at Ninian Park in a 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City. Francis was just 16 years and 139 days old and he remains the youngest ever player to have represented Birmingham City in a competitive fixture.
Thursday 5th September 1991 Blues manager Terry Cooper signed his son Mark Cooper from his former club Exeter City. The midfielder played a total of 44 games, and scored five goals for Birmingham City before leaving for Fulham in a £40,000 deal in November 1992.
Saturday 6th September 1980 Champions Liverpool visited St Andrew’s and were held to a 1-1 draw by Birmingham City. Frank Worthington’s goal earned Blues a point as he levelled the match just four minutes after Kenny Dalglish had given the visitors the lead.
Saturday 7th September 1889 Small Heath made a winning start in the Football Alliance with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham St Georges. Forwards Charlie Short, Eddy Stanley and Will Devey shared Blues’ goals. The Football Alliance ran for three seasons before merging with the Football League to create the Second Division. Blues finished 10th in the first two seasons but improved to take third place in the final edition of the Alliance.
Saturday 7th September 1968 Blues striker Geoff Vowden became the first substitute in the history of the Football League to score a hat-trick. Blues were two goals up against Huddersfield Town when Vowden was brought on for Ron Wylie in the 50th minute. Future Birmingham City striker Frank Worthington pulled a goal back for the Terriers but after that it was all Vowden. The striker scored two headers in three minutes to kill off any hopes the visitors had of mounting a comeback before sealing a 5-1 win by pouncing on a goalkeeping error in the 89th minute.
Thursday 8th September 1977 Blues appointed Sir Alf Ramsey, the man who had guided England to World Cup glory in 1966, as the club’s manager following the dismissal of Willie Bell. Ramsey, who was a Birmingham City director, became the first knight of the realm to manage a Football League club, but his reign only lasted seven months before poor health forced him to step down.
Wednesday 9th September 1953 Inside-left Peter Murphy smashed a nine-minute hat-trick, as Luton Town were thrashed 5-1. Murphy’s treble is one of the fastest hat-tricks in Blues history. South African-born Ted Purdon scored City’s other goals in this Second Division victory.
Saturday 10th September 1892 Small Heath visited Walsall Town Swifts’ new home at The Chuckery for the first ever Football League meeting between the two sides and came away with a comfortable 3-1 victory. Goals from ‘Diamond’ Freddie Wheldon and Caesar Jenkyns, as well as an Alf Pinches own goal, gave the visitors the points.
Tuesday 11th September 1877 Small Heath Alliance played at Muntz Street for the first time beating Saltley College 5-0 in a friendly match. It was the start of a 22-match unbeaten run that began life at the ground. The ground, which was known as Coventry Road while in use by Small Heath, had few facilities when it opened. However, the club built one stand and bought another stand from Aston Villa’s Wellington Road ground for £90 to give the stadium a capacity of 30,000.
Saturday 12th September 1970 Trevor Francis scored the first of his 133 Blues goals to give City the lead against Oxford United at St Andrew’s. Birmingham were held to a 1-1 draw after Roy Clayton cancelled out Francis’ opener while Bob Latchford had a goal ruled out.
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