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Birmingham City Football Club

With a history that every self-respecting Blues fan knows by heart Birmingham City Football Club [map] has had many ups and downs since its formation in 1875.

Originally known as The Small Heath Alliance, Birmingham has never won either a League Championship or the FA but that’s not to say that there hasn’t been plenty of drama in the club’s history.

In 1905 the club became known as Birmingham City, and in the following year the growth in interest led to a move to the current St Andrews stadium site.

Birmingham’s first appearance at Wembley came in the 1931 FA Cup Final, but with a cruel irony it was local rivals West Bromwich Albion who were victorious.

This cup final came during the glory reign of the club’s record goal-scorer Joe Bradford who managed an extraordinary strike-rate of 267 goals in 445 appearances as well as finding the net seven times in his 12 England caps.

Prior to the current era under Steve Bruce, Birmingham’s golden spell came in the mid-1950s and began with the promotion to the top flight under Arthur Turner in 1955.

The following year the club achieved its highest ever league position - finishing sixth.

Ten years later City fans began their long love affair with the striker Trevor Francis. The youngster went on to score 133 goals for the club before becoming English football's first million pound player as he joined Nottingham Forest. He was to return two decades later to enthuse life into the club once more as its manager.

Birmingham City Football Club under-achieved until the arrival of David Sullivan and the Gold brothers in 1993 - and the steady rise since then, together with the stunning redevelopment of the St Andrews ground is now seeing them established as genuine Premiership players.

The colourful Barry Fry helped the club achieve promotion to the First Division as manager in 1995, then Francis arrived to make the side play-off perennials only for a series of defeats in the semi-finals.

Francis did lead Birmingham out at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in February 2001 for the final of the Football League Cup - another agonising defeat on penalties against Liverpool proving scant reward for a stunning cup run.

Steve Bruce succeeded Francis in late 2001, and few people could have imagined the immediate success the former Manchester United captain would bring. After just six months in charge he led the Blues to play-off success and they took their place in Premiership for the 2002/03 season.

Unfortunately after four years in the top flight they were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2005/06 season.

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