Tag Archives: Birmingham City

Premier League Files: Maik Taylor

Premier League Career: Southampton (1997), Fulham (2002-2003), Birmingham City (2003-2006, 2007-2010)

Goalkeeping has been a part of Maik Taylor’s professional football life. He kept goal for the likes of Fulham and Birmingham City during a career that was underrated but enjoyable. Since 2014, he has been the goalkeeping coach for the Northern Ireland international football team, a country that he served for 88 times as a player between 1999 and 2011.

Born in Hildesheim in Germany to a German mother and English father, Taylor spent his early infancy in Germany but moved to England as a schoolboy and made his Football League breakthrough in June 1995 when he signed for Barnet for a fee of just £700 from Farnborough Town. Southampton and in particular, Graeme Souness were impressed with his displays at Underhill and they made a move for him in 1997, prizing him away from Barnet for £500,000.

It showed the confidence Souness had in him straightaway that he put Taylor straight into the first-team on his arrival, displacing veteran Dave Beasant in the process. Maik kept a clean sheet on his debut in the 1-0 away victory at Middlesbrough and remained the first-choice keeper for the remainder of the season as Southampton narrowly avoided relegation. When Souness left, Dave Jones replaced him and signed Paul Jones from his former club, Stockport County in the summer of 1997. Jones immediately took the no.1 goalkeeper jersey and Taylor was restricted to warming the bench.

Kevin Keegan knew a talent was there and bought Taylor to Fulham in November 1997 for £800,000. It did mean a drop of two divisions but the guarantee of first-team football. He helped the Cottagers win the Second Division title and remained the first-choice goalkeeper even when Jean Tigana arrived to succeed Keegan in the Fulham hotseat. Taylor’s consistency in the 2000-2001 season helped Fulham win a place in the Premier League as Division One champions. However, when Tigana saw the opportunity to snap up experienced Dutchman Edwin van der Sar from Juventus, he wasn’t going to see that chance slip away. As frustrating as this must have been for Taylor, he simply couldn’t compete with someone with world-class abilities that Van der Sar possessed.

Maik stayed with Fulham and actually played a bulk of their 2002-2003 games when Van der Sar sustained an injury in December 2002 at St James’ Park that would keep him on the sidelines for a few months. However, it was Taylor who would move in the summer of 2003 to Birmingham City. The deal was initially a loan period but his outstanding displays saw Steve Bruce waste no time in triggering a £1.5 million buying fee in March 2004. Taylor’s performances were recognised by his peers and he was in the running to be included as the goalkeeper in the PFA Team of the Year before losing out to Manchester United’s Tim Howard.

Taylor remained the regular first-choice for Bruce at Birmingham for the next four seasons and despite experiencing two painful Premier League relegations, his knowledge of the Football League was vital in Birmingham ensuring they won two instant promotions under the guidance of first Bruce, then Alex McLeish. However, he spent the 2009-2010 campaign  playing second-fiddle again after McLeish signed Joe Hart on-loan for the season from Manchester City. Taylor would only play two league matches that season – both games against City as Hart was ineligible to play against his parent team. They were to be his final top-flight appearances.

He remained a squad member in 2010-2011 but never played as Ben Foster had joined from Manchester United to take the first-choice goalkeeping position and Maik was released following their third Premier League relegation. He had spells with Leeds United and Millwall before hanging up his gloves in May 2013. Two months later, he moved into coaching with Northern Ireland.

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Premier League Files: DJ Campbell

Premier League Career: Birmingham City (2005-2006), Blackpool (2010-2011), Queens Park Rangers (2011-2012)

Forward DJ Campbell played for three Premier League teams, experienced the heartache of relegation twice and actually experienced his most prolific scoring days in the non-league. Campbell did impress though in Blackpool’s one-season dalliance in the Premier League, scoring 13 goals in the 2010-2011 campaign.

Born in Hammersmith, Campbell started his career as a trainee at Aston Villa but failed to impress enough to get a professional deal. He went down into the non-league and came to prominence with a devastating spell at Yeading. He scored 83 times in 109 appearances in all competitions and managed to showcase his skills in a televised FA Cup tie with Newcastle United in 2005.

Brentford manager Martin Allen took a gamble on him in the summer of 2005, paying Yeading £5,000 and nine goals in 23 appearances was good returns for a player who was making a major jump upto League One level.

After scoring twice for the Bees to dump Premier League strugglers Sunderland out of the FA Cup in January 2006, DJ was sold to Birmingham City just three days after this fantastic moment for him personally. The Blues paid £500,000 for his services but he failed to score in the 11 appearances he made as Birmingham dropped out of the Premier League.

Campbell scored nine times in the 2006-2007 season as he helped Birmingham back to the top-flight at the first attempt but he was moved on by Steve Bruce that summer and spent the next three years with moves to Leicester City and loan periods at Derby County and Blackpool. It seemed like he’d finally found a settled home at the latter and Blackpool paid a club-record £1.25m to sign him permanently on transfer deadline day in August 2010.

In his first game as a permanent Blackpool player, he scored the second goal in a sensational 2-0 away win at St James’ Park against Newcastle United. He then went on to score matchwinning strikes away at Stoke City and Sunderland and a winner to send Liverpool FC crashing to a second league defeat of the season against the Tangerines. At this stage, Blackpool were punching well above their weight in mid-table. Unfortunately, they slid down the table and ended up going down. Campbell didn’t help their cause with a red card for violent conduct in a 4-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He moved to Queens Park Rangers in August 2011, joining the club he’d supported as a boy. Injuries restricted him to just 11 appearances, scoring once in an away win at Wolves. That was his final Premier League season. Campbell was loaned to Ipswich Town for the 2012-2013 campaign and went on to have spells with Blackburn Rovers, Millwall and Maidenhead United in the Conference South.

The latter part of DJ’s career was overshadowed by a spot-fixing scandal which saw him arrested in December 2013 along with five other men by the National Crime Agency. He was released without charge in August 2014 but it seriously damaged his relationship and love with the game of football.

Premier League Files: Jesper Gronkjaer

Premier League Career: Chelsea (2001-2004), Birmingham City (2004)

A tricky winger who was once the most expensive Danish player in history, Jesper Gronkjaer might have had his detractors during his time with Chelsea but he will go down as having scored one of the most important goals in the club’s proud and distinguished history.

Pace was one of the main characteristics of Gronkjaer’s game and early on in his career; he was told by youth coaches that he could become a sprinter. He stuck with football though and sparkled with his first club, AaB. He scored 10 times in 86 matches for the club and played in the UEFA Champions League before moving to Dutch powerhouses Ajax in July 1998. Coached by Morten Olsen, Jesper won the Dutch Cup in his first full season in Amsterdam and a year later, the fans voted him as the Ajax Player of the Year.

His next calling was English football as Chelsea snapped him up for £7.8 million in October 2000. He arrived in west London with an injury, so didn’t make his first start for the Blues until January 2001, scoring twice in his first full appearance for the club in an FA Cup tie away to Gillingham. It was the first of just 11 goals he’d score in Chelsea colours and at times, some of his form was heavily inconsistent. However, he did have a knack of scoring crucial goals when the Londoners needed them most.

On the final day of the 2002-2003 season, Chelsea played host to Liverpool FC in what was a straight shootout for the final Champions League qualification place. Liverpool had to win to snatch fourth spot and took the lead early on, only for Chelsea to equalise virtually straightaway through their skipper, Marcel Desailly.

Just before the half hour mark, Gronkjaer escaped the attentions of John Arne Riise and bent a curling shot past Jerzy Dudek which sank Liverpool. Chelsea qualified for the Champions League for the first time in four years and it was such an important moment. On the brink of financial meltdown, this made Chelsea attractive to foreign investors. Less than two months later, Roman Abramovich bought the club and life at Stamford Bridge wouldn’t be the same again. Had it not been for Gronkjaer’s goal, the chances are Abramovich would have come into the English game but invested elsewhere.

It was nearly a full year before the flying Dane scored again as he opened the scoring in the UEFA Champions League semi-final, second leg against AS Monaco. It was all in vain though, as the French side prevailed over two legs. Gronkjaer, who had looked short of confidence throughout the 2003-2004 campaign, finished his season in style. He crashed home an effort at Old Trafford in the draw with Manchester United which secured Chelsea’s best finish in the league since 1955. A week later, his diving header beat Leeds United in Claudio Ranieri’s final match in-charge. This also turned out to be Gronkjaer’s final game for Chelsea.

He joined Birmingham City for £2.2 million in July 2004 but never settled and lasted just six months in the Midlands. He transferred to Atletico Madrid before the year was out and after one season in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart, returned to his homeland in 2006. He retired professionally in 2011 with FC Copenhagen, winning four Danish league titles.

Seasonal Records: 2009-2010

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2009-2010 Premier League campaign. After three years of Manchester United dominance, Chelsea managed to wrestle the title back to the capital as Carlo Ancelotti achieved the league and FA Cup double in his first season as manager. Chelsea also became the first team to score 100 goals in a PL season.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 38 27 5 6 103 32 +71 86
2 Manchester United 38 27 4 7 86 28 +58 85
3 Arsenal 38 23 6 9 83 41 +42 75
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 21 7 10 67 41 +26 70
5 Manchester City 38 18 13 7 73 45 +28 67
6 Aston Villa 38 17 13 8 52 39 +13 64
7 Liverpool FC 38 18 9 11 61 35 +26 63
8 Everton 38 16 13 9 60 49 +11 61
9 Birmingham City 38 13 11 14 38 47 -9 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 13 11 14 41 55 -14 50
11 Stoke City 38 11 14 13 34 48 -14 47
12 Fulham 38 12 10 16 39 46 -7 46
13 Sunderland 38 11 11 16 48 56 -8 44
14 Bolton Wanderers 38 10 9 19 42 67 -25 39
15 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 9 11 18 32 56 -24 38
16 Wigan Athletic 38 9 9 20 37 79 -42 36
17 West Ham United 38 8 11 19 47 66 -19 35
18 Burnley 38 8 6 24 42 82 -40 30
19 Hull City 38 6 12 20 34 75 -41 30
20 Portsmouth* 38 7 7 24 34 66 -32 19

*Portsmouth were docked 10 points for entering administration in February 2010

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1053
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester City (UEFA Europa League)

Aston Villa (UEFA Europa League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 6 games (Arsenal & Chelsea)
Longest unbeaten run 12 games (Birmingham City)
Longest winless run 14 games (Sunderland)
Longest losing run 7 games (Portsmouth)
Highest attendance 75,316 (Manchester United vs. Stoke City)
Lowest attendance 14,323 (Wigan Athletic vs. Portsmouth)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year James Milner (Aston Villa)
Football Writers’ Award Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
PFA Team of the Year Joe Hart, Richard Dunne, Patrice Evra, Branislav Ivanovic, Thomas Vermaelen, Darren Fletcher, Cesc Fabregas, James Milner, Antonio Valencia, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney
Manager of the Year Harry Redknapp (Tottenham Hotspur)
Premier League Goal of the Season Maynor Figueroa (Stoke City vs. WIGAN ATHLETIC)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Jermain Defoe Hull City vs. Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 19th August 2009
Yossi Benayoun Liverpool FC vs. Burnley 4-0 12th September 2009
Robbie Keane (4) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley 5-0 26th September 2009
Fernando Torres Liverpool FC vs. Hull City 6-1 26th September 2009
Aruna Dindane Portsmouth vs. Wigan Athletic 4-0 31st October 2009
Jermain Defoe (5) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wigan Athletic 9-1 22nd November 2009
Wayne Rooney Portsmouth vs. Manchester United 1-4 28th November 2009
Carlos Tevez Manchester City vs. Blackburn Rovers 4-1 11th January 2010
Wayne Rooney (4) Manchester United vs. Hull City 4-0 23rd January 2010
Darren Bent Sunderland vs. Bolton Wanderers 4-0 9th March 2010
Frank Lampard (4) Chelsea vs. Aston Villa 7-1 27th March 2010
Carlos Tevez Manchester City vs. Wigan Athletic 3-0 29th March 2010
Salomon Kalou Chelsea vs. Stoke City 7-0 25th April 2010
Didier Drogba Chelsea vs. Wigan Athletic 8-0 9th May 2010

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Didier Drogba Chelsea 29
2 Wayne Rooney Manchester United 26
3 Darren Bent Sunderland 24
4= Carlos Tevez Manchester City 23
4= Frank Lampard Chelsea 22
6= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 18
6= Fernando Torres Liverpool FC 18
6= Cesc Fabregas Arsenal 15
6= Emmanuel Adebayor Manchester City 14
10= Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 13
10= Louis Saha Everton 13
10= Florent Malouda Chelsea 12
10= Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United 12
10= Nicolas Anelka Chelsea 11
10= Andrey Arshavin Arsenal 10
16= Craig Bellamy Manchester City 10
16= John Carew Aston Villa 10
16= Cameron Jerome Birmingham City 10
16= Hugo Rodallega Wigan Athletic 10
16= Carlton Cole West Ham United 10
16= Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC 9
16= Robin van Persie Arsenal 9
16= David Dunn Blackburn Rovers 9
16= Kenwyne Jones Sunderland 9
25 Kevin Doyle Wolverhampton Wanderers 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic 22nd November 2009
Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic 9th May 2010
Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City 25th April 2010
Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa 27th March 2010
Chelsea 7-2 Sunderland 16th January 2010
Everton 1-6 Arsenal 15th August 2009
Burnley 1-6 Manchester City 3rd April 2010
Liverpool FC 6-1 Hull City 26th September 2009
Chelsea 5-0 Blackburn Rovers 24th October 2009
Wigan Athletic 0-5 Manchester United 22nd August 2009

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
10 Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic 22nd November 2009
9 Chelsea 7-2 Sunderland 16th January 2010
8 Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic 9th May 2010
8 Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa 27th March 2010
8 Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers 4th October 2009
8 West Ham United 5-3 Burnley 28th November 2009
7 Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City 25th April 2010
7 Everton 1-6 Arsenal 15th August 2009
7 Burnley 1-6 Manchester City 3rd April 2010
7 Liverpool FC 6-1 Hull City 26th September 2009
7 Aston Villa 5-2 Burnley 21st February 2010
7 Sunderland 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27th September 2009
7 Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City 20th September 2009
7 Manchester City 4-3 Sunderland 19th December 2009
6 Manchester City 5-1 Birmingham City 11th April 2010
6 Aston Villa 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 7th November 2009
6 Everton 5-1 Hull City 7th March 2010
6 Arsenal 4-2 Bolton Wanderers 20th January 2010
6 Manchester City 4-2 Arsenal 12th September 2009
6 Burnley 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 9th May 2010

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Jack Robinson Hull City 0-0 Liverpool FC 16 years, 8 months, 7 days 9th May 2010
Lennard Sowah Portsmouth 0-0 Blackburn Rovers 17 years, 7 months, 11 days 3rd April 2010
Jack Wilshere Arsenal 3-1 Birmingham City 17 years, 9 months, 15 days 17th October 2009
Louis Moult Burnley 1-1 Stoke City 17 years, 9 months, 24 days 10th March 2010
Frank Nouble Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 West Ham United 17 years, 10 months, 22 days 15th August 2009
Jose Baxter Everton 2-0 Manchester City 17 years, 11 months, 9 days 16th January 2010
Jeffrey Bruma Chelsea 5-0 Blackburn Rovers 17 years, 11 months, 11 days 24th October 2009
Mark Cullen Hull City 0-1 Sunderland 18 years, 3 days 24th April 2010
Phil Jones Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month 21st March 2010
Liam Cooper Liverpool FC 6-1 Hull City 18 years, 1 month, 23 days 26th September 2009

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David James Portsmouth 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 years, 8 months, 30 days 1st May 2010
Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 4-0 Stoke City 39 years, 6 months, 10 days 9th May 2010
Brad Friedel Aston Villa 0-1 Blackburn Rovers 38 years, 11 months, 21 days 9th May 2010
Maik Taylor Manchester City 5-1 Birmingham City 38 years, 7 months, 7 days 11th April 2010
Graham Alexander Burnley 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 years, 6 months, 29 days 9th May 2010
Mike Pollitt Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic 38 years, 2 months, 10 days 9th May 2010
Marcus Hahnemann Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Sunderland 37 years, 10 months, 24 days 9th May 2010
Mark Schwarzer Arsenal 4-0 Fulham 37 years, 7 months, 3 days 9th May 2010
Kevin Phillips Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham City 36 years, 9 months 25th April 2010
Ryan Giggs Manchester United 4-0 Stoke City 36 years, 5 months, 10 days 9th May 2010

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1= Petr Cech Chelsea 17
1= Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 17
3 Brad Friedel Aston Villa 15
4= Heurelho Gomes Tottenham Hotspur 13
4= Paul Robinson Blackburn Rovers 13
6= Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 12
6= Thomas Sorensen Stoke City 12
6= Mark Schwarzer Fulham 12
9= Shay Given Manchester City 11
9= Tim Howard Everton 11

Premier League Files: David Dunn

Premier League Career: Blackburn Rovers (1998-2003, 2007-2012), Birmingham City (2003-2006)

David Dunn’s football career will always be linked with Blackburn Rovers. He made his professional debut with the former Premier League champions, had two separate playing spells with them and is the current assistant manager to Tony Mowbray as the Lancastrians aim for an instant return to the Championship.

The midfielder joined the club as a trainee in 1997. A year later, he made his debut at Goodison Park against Everton but it would turn out to be a very brief cameo. Roy Hodgson brought Dunn onto the field of play in the 70th minute. 11 minutes later, forward Martin Dahlin was sent off and in order to protect a point, Hodgson had to sacrifice Dunn for a more defensively-minded player. Nevertheless, he had made a first-team appearance and as the season went on, he got more chances. His first goal came in February 1999 during a 3-1 victory at Villa Park over Aston Villa. The season ended though in disappointment with relegation from the top-flight, just four seasons after Blackburn had become the champions of England.

David stuck with the club and they stuck by him too, seeing a young talent blossoming very nicely despite the team’s lack of direction. After two seasons in the First Division, Blackburn regained their place in the Premier League and Dunn put in a string of performances that earned him international recognition from England. He made one appearance for the senior side, replacing Kieron Dyer in the 1-1 draw with Portugal in September 2002.

He scored twice in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Highbury with Arsenal and starred in Blackburn’s 7-1 thrashing of West Ham United as they finished 10th in their first season back in the elite, along with winning the League Cup. He started the 2002-2003 season in good form but was one of a number of players to eventually fall out with manager Graeme Souness. Dunn decided he needed a fresh challenge in the summer of 2003. Despite interest from Everton and Middlesbrough, he eventually moved to the west Midlands, signing for Birmingham City in a £5.5 million deal.

His career with Birmingham started promisingly. He scored the solitary goal on his debut against Tottenham Hotspur and also scored a winning goal at St James’ Park in a victory over Newcastle United. In October 2003, he produced one of the ‘viral’ moments of the season when his attempted ‘rabona’ skill ended embarrassingly in the Second City Derby. He fell over, leaving manager Steve Bruce smiling at this clumsy skill attempt!

In total, Dunn made 58 league appearances for Birmingham, scoring seven times but he was unable to feature as prominently as was liked due to a succession of injury setbacks, especially with hamstring trouble. Birmingham were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2005-2006 season and after nearly joining Bolton Wanderers, he would move back to Blackburn Rovers in the 2007 January transfer window.

He played 11 times in the remainder of the 2006-2007 season, winning a late free-kick which Morten Gamst Pedersen scored from to defeat Sheffield United in February 2007. David would stay with Blackburn for the next eight years, even remaining with them after a crushing relegation from the Premier League in 2012. His best campaign came in 2009-2010, where he scored nine times. He became a leader in the dressing room too, being appointed vice-captain during Paul Ince’s short tenure as manager in 2008.

He finished his playing days with a brief spell at Oldham Athletic which led to a three-month stint as the club’s manager. When he was sacked in January 2016 with the Latics sitting 22nd in League One, he returned to Blackburn in a coaching capacity. He first worked as assistant manager to former teammate Damien Johnson in the club’s Under-23 setup before being promoted to first-team duties when Mowbray succeeded Owen Coyle as the manager of the team in February 2017.

Memorable Matches: Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Birmingham City (December 2007)

Goalscorers: Gary McSheffrey 24 PEN, Robbie Keane 50 PEN, 53, Cameron Jerome 62, Sebastian Larsson 90

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Pascal Chimbonda, Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul (Tom Huddlestone 46), Gareth Bale (Lee Young-Pyo 75), Didier Zokora, Steed Malbranque, Aaron Lennon, Darren Bent (Jermain Defoe 46), Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane (SENT OFF)

Birmingham City: Maik Taylor, Johan Djourou, Stephen Kelly, Rafael Schmitz (Stuart Parnaby 63), Liam Ridgewell, Daniel De Ridder (Mikael Forssell 66), Fabrice Muamba, Mehdi Nafti, Sebastian Larsson, Gary McSheffrey (Olivier Kapo 77), Cameron Jerome

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 35,635

Birmingham City had a new manager in the dugout for their trip to White Hart Lane in December 2007. Alex McLeish had left his position as the Scotland boss to take over the vacancy in the Midlands following Steve Bruce’s departure for Wigan Athletic. His side travelled to Tottenham who were on a six-game unbeaten streak in all competitions under their new manager Juande Ramos. Both teams had goals in their armoury. Cue a Premier League classic.

Tottenham did all of the early pressing and should have taken the lead on numerous occasions inside the opening 25 minutes. Maik Taylor deflected a shot away from Darren Bent and when Bent and Keane combined brilliantly, the Irishman should have scored but hit a terrible shot that went well over the crossbar. Birmingham silenced the home faithful by taking the lead against the run of play. Gary McSheffrey broke down the left-hand side and was tripped in the penalty area by Younes Kaboul. Phil Dowd had no doubts in awarding the penalty. Kaboul’s mistake was fully punished when McSheffrey convincingly beat England goalkeeper Paul Robinson to score the first goal of the McLeish era.

It was a lead they’d hold until half-time but Ramos changed formation and personnel for the second half. Off went Bent and Kaboul and on came Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe. Within the first eight minutes of the second half, Spurs had turned the deficit into an advantage. When Berbatov went to ground in the Birmingham penalty area, Dowd pointed to the spot for the second time in the afternoon. Keane made no mistake to level the scores on 50 minutes. Three minutes later, the Tottenham talisman had his 12th goal of the season in all competitions, finishing comprehensively after Huddlestone’s cute ball into the box evaded all Birmingham defenders. The margin could have been greater. Taylor made a brilliant save to deny Gareth Bale from a free-kick and then Berbatov hit the post after Rafael Schmitz made a mess of a clearance from another surging Bale cross.

However, Birmingham kept plugging away and got a shock equaliser. Cameron Jerome forced his way into the penalty area and drilled a low shot past Robinson. In the 68th minute, the home side were reduced to 10 men. Two-goal hero Keane became the villain when he was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Fabrice Muamba. Whilst it was a poorly-timed tackle, many in the ground were surprised by Dowd’s decision to send the forward off.

The ebb-and-flow to this match continued. Birmingham substitute Mikael Forssell hit the crossbar and Schmitz had to clear a Berbatov effort off the line. Just when it looked like the honours were going to be shared, a winner arrived right at the end. Berbatov was robbed of possession and Sebastian Larsson tried his luck from 25-yards out. It was a spectacular shot that flew into the top corner and ensured a winning start for McLeish in a breathless contest.

Birmingham completed the league double over Tottenham in the season with a 4-1 success in March but they’d finish in the bottom three come the end of the 2007-2008 campaign.

The Clubs: Birmingham City

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
266 73 82 111 273 360 -87 301 7

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Damien Johnson 150
Maik Taylor 142
Kenny Cunningham 134
Matthew Upson 104
Sebastian Larsson 103
Liam Ridgewell 102
Cameron Jerome 99
Stan Lazaridis 97
Mikael Forssell 93
Stephen Clemence 87

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Mikael Forssell 29
Cameron Jerome 20
Clinton Morrison 14
Emile Heskey 14
Sebastian Larsson 14
Robbie Savage 11
Stern John 9
James McFadden 9
Craig Gardner 9
Lee Bowyer 9

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Birmingham City 5-0 Portsmouth 21st January 2006 2005-2006
Birmingham City 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 18th December 2004 2004-2005
Birmingham City 4-1 Leeds United 27th March 2004 2003-2004
Birmingham City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur 1st March 2008 2007-2008
Birmingham City 4-1 Blackburn Rovers 11th May 2008 2007-2008
Birmingham City 3-0 Aston Villa 16th September 2002 2002-2003
Birmingham City 3-0 Middlesbrough 26th April 2003 2002-2003
Birmingham City 3-0 Everton 11th February 2004 2003-2004
Birmingham City 3-0 Middlesbrough 26th December 2007 2007-2008
Birmingham City 3-1 Bolton Wanderers 2nd November 2002 2002-2003

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Manchester United 5-0 Birmingham City 22nd January 2011 2010-2011
Liverpool FC 5-0 Birmingham City 23rd April 2011 2010-2011
Aston Villa 5-1 Birmingham City 20th April 2008 2007-2008
Manchester City 5-1 Birmingham City 11th April 2010 2009-2010
Birmingham City 0-4 Arsenal 12th January 2003 2002-2003
Birmingham City 0-4 Blackburn Rovers 6th December 2003 2003-2004
Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Birmingham City 7th January 2004 2003-2004
Manchester City 4-1 Birmingham City 17th December 2005 2005-2006
Chelsea 3-0 Birmingham City 9th November 2002 2002-2003
Manchester United 3-0 Birmingham City 4th October 2003 2003-2004

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Steve Bruce 5 23rd November 2007
Alex McLeish 3 12th June 2011

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Birmingham City 0-3 Arsenal 22nd November 2003 29,588 2003-2004
Birmingham City 0-3 Liverpool FC 8th May 2004 29,553 2003-2004
Birmingham City 1-2 Manchester United 10th April 2004 29,548 2003-2004
Birmingham City 0-0 Aston Villa 19th October 2003 29,546 2003-2004
Birmingham City 2-1 Manchester City 26th December 2003 29,520 2003-2004
Birmingham City 1-1 Newcastle United 31st January 2004 29,513 2003-2004
Birmingham City 3-0 Aston Villa 16th September 2002 29,505 2002-2003
Birmingham City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur 30th November 2002 29,505 2002-2003
Birmingham City 1-1 Everton 26th December 2002 29,505 2002-2003
Birmingham City 0-4 Arsenal 12th January 2003 29,505 2002-2003

 

Intro

After several near-misses, Birmingham City finally made it to the Premier League in 2002. Steve Bruce guided the club to three successive mid-table finishes before an unexpected relegation in 2006. Two promotions and two relegations have followed for the Blues, who have enjoyed some famous top-flight victories over their Second City rivals, Aston Villa. Currently struggling near the foot of the Championship table after a host of recent unsuccessful managerial appointments, Birmingham supporters will hope to return to the elite one day.

 

2002-2003

Favourites to be relegated with many bookmakers before a ball had been kicked, Birmingham City’s debut Premier League season saw them finish in 13th position and achieve comfortable survival despite some bumps along the way.

The highlights of the season included home victories over Liverpool FC and Leeds United but for the supporters, the Second City Derby was the most important success. In September, Birmingham beat Aston Villa 3-0 at St. Andrew’s with a comical own goal by Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman the most iconic moment of the evening. In the return fixture at Villa Park in March, Dion Dublin’s crazy head-butt on Robbie Savage saw the Villans implode. Goals from Stan Lazaridis and Geoff Horsfield helped Birmingham to a 2-0 success and complete a famous league double over their rivals from across the city.

Manager Steve Bruce made the most of the January transfer window and his signings of Stephen Clemence and former French World Cup winner Christophe Dugarry were two of the best bits of business. Dugarry scored four goals in the run-in, whilst Clemence headed the opener against Liverpool and shored up the midfield. All in all, it was a very successful debut campaign in the Premier League for the Blues.

 

2003-2004

Birmingham signalled their intentions in the summer of 2003 by paying Blackburn Rovers £5.5 million to sign midfielder David Dunn. They stayed unbeaten until early October and were in the shake-up for the European positions throughout the season. Mikael Forssell sparkled in his debut campaign in the city. On-loan from Chelsea, the Finn scored 17 Premier League goals and was a threat throughout the season.

A 4-1 home victory over struggling Leeds United in late March took Birmingham into the top six and right onto the coattails of perennial top four challengers, Liverpool FC and Newcastle United. Unfortunately, their season tailed off with no wins from their last eight games but Birmingham still finished an excellent 10th in the final standings.

 

2004-2005

Emile Heskey, Jesper Gronkjaer, Mario Melchiot and Darren Anderton were among the summer acquisitions and many were tipping Birmingham to finish in the top 10 again and potentially launch an even stronger tilt at the European qualifying positions in pre-season. However, a catalogue of injuries and inconsistency saw their season never hit the heights of 2003-2004. This included a devastating knee injury to Forssell that saw his second successive loan stint abruptly cut short.

For the fans, another league double over Aston Villa was much appreciated and a four-game winning sequence in December did take Birmingham into 9th place at the end of 2004. However, that would be their highest position all season. A final day victory over Arsenal ensured a 12th place final result in a campaign that promised a lot before a ball was kicked but never quite fulfilled on the pre-season expectations.

 

2005-2006

The 2005-2006 campaign for Birmingham City was nothing short of disastrous. The lack of momentum throughout the closing months of the previous season carried on into the new campaign. The Blues managed just one victory in the first three months of the season (3-2 away to West Bromwich Albion) and also experienced the painful defeat for the first time in the Second City Derby, losing at home 1-0 to Aston Villa.

Home form was a problem all campaign. Birmingham didn’t win at home until a diving Nicky Butt header beat Fulham in mid-December. Just five further victories followed, although both Liverpool FC and eventual champions Chelsea were held to draws.

Birmingham did beat Portsmouth 5-0 in January to record their biggest Premier League victory but remained in the relegation positions for much of the season and Pompey’s end of season surge was the determining factor. A goalless draw with Newcastle United at the end of April saw Birmingham relegated to the Championship after four seasons at Premier League level.

 

2007-2008

After one season in the second-tier, Birmingham returned to the Premier League in 2007-2008 and this saw the first involvement in the club from the Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung, who bought a 29.9% stake in the club’s shares. Steve Bruce stayed on as manager but quit in mid-November after an agonising 2-1 home defeat to local rivals Aston Villa. Bruce would take the vacant post at Wigan Athletic and his successor would be the former Scotland manager, Alex McLeish.

McLeish made a winning start with a Sebastian Larsson screamer in stoppage-time steering Birmingham to a 3-2 victory at White Hart Lane over Tottenham. When they beat the same opposition 4-1 in March thanks to a Mikael Forssell hat-trick, Birmingham looked more than likely to avoid a swift return to the Championship. However, despite some late season heroics from on-loan signing Mauro Zarate, just two more wins were achieved and a 4-1 final day victory over Blackburn Rovers was not enough to avoid relegation.

Yet again, Birmingham had been victims to a late revival from a relegation rival as Fulham’s run of three wins in a row at the end of the season kept the Cottagers in the Premier League at the expense of the Blues.

 

2009-2010

Despite the 2008 relegation, Alex McLeish remained as manager and guided Birmingham back to the Premier League at the first attempt. He broke the club’s transfer record to sign Ecuadorian forward Christian Benitez in July and also acquired promising goalie Joe Hart on a loan deal from Manchester City.

Results didn’t come early on, with just two victories in their first nine games but Carson Yeung completed his takeover of the club in mid-October and a 2-1 victory over Sunderland started the club’s best-ever top-flight run of 12 games undefeated. This included a stunning sequence of five straight victories which took Birmingham as high as sixth in the table and earned McLeish the Manager of the Month award for December.

Although they only scored 38 goals and achieved just one win in their last 10 games, Birmingham finished in a best-ever Premier League position of ninth with a best points tally too of 50 points.

 

2010-2011

For the first time since 1963, Birmingham City won a major competition when a Frenchman ran into a Pole and Obafemi Martins was gifted a winning goal against Arsenal in the League Cup final. A run to the FA Cup quarter-finals was another positive but Birmingham’s league campaign was another struggle.

Birmingham dropped into the bottom three in November and it was clear a relegation battle was on the cards, despite the high points of a 1-0 victory over champions Chelsea and a late equaliser at home to Manchester United with Lee Bowyer scoring on both occasions. In mid-April, a 2-0 victory over Sunderland did lift Birmingham into 14th place. However, they collected just a single point from their last six matches which including a 5-0 thumping at Anfield by Liverpool FC.

On the final day, Birmingham travelled to Tottenham needing a positive result and did level the game up through Craig Gardner’s long-distance effort. However, former transfer target Roman Pavlyuchenko’s double with his second in stoppage-time sealed a 2-1 win for Tottenham and condemned Birmingham to a third Premier League relegation. McLeish resigned a month later for Aston Villa and like current Championship sides Hull City and Sunderland; Birmingham could become another ex-Premier League side playing in League One in 2018-2019.

Premier League Files: Mikael Forssell

Premier League Career: Chelsea (1998-1999, 2001-2002, 2005), Birmingham City (2003-2004, 2007-2008)

Still playing in his home country for HIFK Fotboll, Mikael Forssell didn’t win any major honours in the English game but he was a talented forward who knew where the back of the net was. He was an example to how fruitful the loan system can be when he scored 17 goals for Birmingham City in the 2003-2004 campaign.

Although he was born in Germany, Forssell came through the youth ranks with Finnish team HJK Helsinki and he made his professional debut for them in 1997. Just when it looked like he would continue his education in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea were quick to bring him into their team a year later. Managed at the time by Gianluca Vialli, he was the perfect mentor for Forssell to learn his trade, given Vialli’s experience at the highest level. He made his Premier League debut in January 1999 against Arsenal as a substitute and scored his first top-flight goal later that season away to Nottingham Forest.

Vialli’s expensive purchase of Chris Sutton for the 1999-2000 season pushed Forssell down the pecking order. He would go out on-loan for the next two seasons to Crystal Palace, scoring 16 league goals in just over 50 appearances. He returned to Chelsea and figured around their first-team squad in 2001-2002. Now managed by Claudio Ranieri, he featured 22 times that season and scored four Premier League goals. However, he was still largely a substitute with the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Gianfranco Zola often selected ahead of this raw talent.

He went out on-loan again in the spring of 2003, scoring seven times for Borussia Monchengladbach in just 16 matches and keeping them clear of relegation danger. He returned to England that summer and made another temporary move, this time to Birmingham City. It was here where Forssell really sparkled. He scored 17 times in the Premier League and only Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Louis Saha and Ruud van Nistelrooy managed a higher goal tally that season. Birmingham finished in the top 10 thanks to his predatory instincts infront of goal. One criticism was his lack of team play at home to Leeds United in March 2004. Birmingham were already 3-1 up and Bryan Hughes had scored twice. When the Blues were awarded a penalty, Hughes wanted to take it to complete the first hat-trick of his club career. Regular penalty-taker Forssell was not interested and Hughes was seen storming away in frustration at not being given this opportunity. Luckily, Forssell converted the spot-kick.

He returned to Birmingham for another loan campaign in 2004-2005 but sustained a serious knee injury away at Middlesbrough in September. Steve Bruce had little choice but to cancel the loan agreement due to the lengthy spell he was going to experience on the sidelines. He returned to Chelsea to recuperate and even played a part in the club’s final home match of the season, a 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic. Although he could take part in the team’s celebrations of winning their first top-flight title in 50 years, this was his solitary league appearance for Chelsea, so he didn’t qualify for a championship-winning medal.

Jose Mourinho decided the forward did not fit into his long-term plans and when Everton withdrew from a potential deal because of concerns over his fitness, Birmingham paid Chelsea £3 million to sign him in the summer of 2005. Unfortunately, more knee problems meant he was never quite the same player that scored all those goals in his first loan season in the Midlands. He did score his first hat-trick at club level against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2008 and scored nine times in 2007-2008 but couldn’t stop Birmingham sliding to a second Premier League demise in just three campaigns.

He has since played for Hannover 96, Leeds United and VfL Bochum along with two separate spells back at HJK Helsinki. He won 87 caps for his country, scoring 29 times between 1999 and 2014.

There was talent in Mikael Forssell’s game and it is impressive to see him still playing at the age of 36 but his career could have gone better if it hadn’t been for his constant knee problems.

Iconic Moments: Arsenal’s awful day at St Andrew’s (February 2008)

Arsenal arrived at St Andrew’s in February 2008 as favourites to win the Premier League title. Arsene Wenger’s side were playing some swashbuckling football and had established a handy seven-point lead over Manchester United. They had lost just once all season and were facing a Birmingham side that looked like a team who would be scrapping for survival right until the end of the campaign. They left a broken side and it was a psychological blow they wouldn’t recover from.

The game was just over a minute old when Arsenal forward Eduardo was tackled by Birmingham defender Martin Taylor. It wasn’t a good challenge and a red card was immediately brandished by Mike Dean. As Taylor received his marching orders, Arsenal players and experienced physio Gary Lewin immediately called for the stretcher. Eduardo had suffered a dreadful double leg fracture in the tackle and it was so gruesome, none of the TV companies broadcasting the match live could show what had happened. Although Eduardo would go onto play professionally again, he never looked the same after these events.

The Arsenal players looked haunted by what they had just witnessed and there was more to come. A double from Theo Walcott meant they’d battled into a 2-1 lead but then, they conceded a penalty in injury-time. Captain William Gallas was so disgusted with the decision; he threw a petty strop, walking to the other side of the pitch. James McFadden would convert the spot-kick to earn a share of the spoils for Birmingham. Afterwards, Wenger couldn’t hide his anger at the Eduardo injury, saying: “That is a joke. The tackle was horrendous and I don’t think that Taylor should play again. When these tackles happen, they always say that he is not that sort of player. But you only have to kill someone once and you have a dead person.”

He would later retract those comments on an awful day for Arsenal. They wouldn’t win any of their next four matches and ultimately finished third, four points behind champions Manchester United.

Premier League Files: Cameron Jerome

Premier League Career: Birmingham City (2007-2008, 2009-2011), Stoke City (2011-2013), Crystal Palace (2013-2014), Norwich City (2015-2016)

Cameron Jerome has played for Birmingham City, Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Norwich City during his Premier League career. He has experienced the pain of three relegations from the top-flight and the joy of three promotions from the Championship. He isn’t the most prolific forward but one thing Jerome has already been capable of is scoring some spectacular goals.

Born in West Yorkshire, Jerome moved about in his youth days, spending time on the books of Huddersfield Town, Grimsby Town and Sheffield Wednesday. However, it was Cardiff City where he would make his first-team breakthrough, making his debut in a goalless draw with Leeds United in October 2004. He finished as the Bluebirds’ top goalscorer in 2005-2006 with 20 goals and this form earned him a move to Birmingham City, who had just dropped out of the top-flight under the guidance of Steve Bruce.

His debut for the Blues was instantly forgettable, lasting a paltry five minutes before being sent off for elbowing a Colchester United opponent in the face. It wasn’t the impact he wanted to make and he scored just nine times in 44 appearances. Nevertheless, Birmingham were promoted back to the Premier League at the first attempt of asking, finishing runners-up to Sunderland. He stayed with the club in 2007-2008 and scored his first Premier League goal after only 32 seconds of a game away at Derby County, which Birmingham won 2-1. He added a further six to that strike at Pride Park but Birmingham were relegated back to the Championship on the final day of the season.

A decent partnership with veteran Kevin Phillips helped Birmingham back once more to the top-flight for 2009-2010 and this was his best campaign to-date. Cameron helped Birmingham to a fine ninth-place finish in the final table. This included a goal in a lifetime strike away at Anfield. Collecting possession from around 30-yards out, he held off Javier Mascherano and produced a dipping volley that flew over Pepe Reina and into the back of the net. This helped Birmingham pinch a 2-2 draw and was part of a club-record unbeaten run in the top-flight. Jerome finished with 11 goals – easily his best return in the Premier League.

The goalscoring boots disappeared again in 2010-2011. He notched just three goals and was reduced to a substitute role for Birmingham’s glorious League Cup final victory over Arsenal. Just two wins in their last 11 games after that Wembley victory saw Alex McLeish’s side relegated and this time, he wasn’t going to stick around for another Championship campaign.

Jerome moved to Stoke City for £4 million on transfer deadline day but struggled to hold down a first-team place under Tony Pulis’ stewardship. His impact came largely from the bench and he didn’t score in the league for Stoke until New Years’ Eve 2011 against Wigan Athletic. His best form was saved for the club’s only European adventure to-date, scoring to earn a creditable draw in Kiev and finding the net twice in a home win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

In 2012-2013, Cameron might have made 30 Premier League appearances but only started nine games. He scored three times, including a corking strike to rescue a point in a 3-3 draw with Southampton. Pulis left at the end of that campaign and Jerome was glad to see the back of him. He told BBC Radio Stoke: “No matter what happened, how you trained or if you came on and did well in the games you were involved in, you were still never going to start.”

Mark Hughes decided he was surplus to requirements at Stoke and Jerome moved to Crystal Palace on-loan in September 2013. Ironically, when Ian Holloway quit a month later, he would be replaced by…Tony Pulis! Despite the forward’s previous criticism of the manager, he did feature 29 times at Selhurst Park but only scored twice. His loan wasn’t extended and Stoke would sell him to Norwich City for £1.5 million in August 2014.

18 goals for the Norfolk side would help Norwich into the play-offs, where they prevailed over Middlesbrough to earn an instant return to the Premier League. Yet again, the step-up found Jerome wanting. He found the back of the net a meagre three times in 34 games as Norwich ended the season in the bottom three positions. He remains at Carrow Road nowadays but seems to be playing only a rotation role under current coach Daniel Farke.

He could produce the spectacular from time-to-time but Cameron Jerome is a forward who has always looked good in the second-tier but never quite made the substantial breakthrough in the Premier League.

Premier League Files: Jordon Mutch

Premier League Career: Birmingham City (2010-2011), Cardiff City (2013-2014), Queens Park Rangers (2014), Crystal Palace (2014-PRESENT)

Jordon Mutch’s career has stalled in recent times. Still on the books at Crystal Palace, Mutch will be hoping that his persistence will pay off, having turned down the chance to move on-loan to Championship clubs this summer. His best spell in the Premier League was during Cardiff City’s single season dalliance at this level in 2013-2014.

From Derby, Mutch began his football career in the youth system at his local club and built a close working relationship with the Rams’ Academy director Terry Westley. They would link up again in the summer of 2007 when Mutch decided to ditch Derby for Birmingham, where Westley had gone as Academy director earlier in the calendar year. There was interest from Aston Villa and Liverpool FC but Mutch wasn’t going to turn his back on taking his development to a club that might not give him the opportunities to progress.

A year later, he made his first-team debut as a substitute in a League Cup tie at Southampton. He became Birmingham’s second-youngest debutant of all-time, aged 16 years and 268 days. The only Birmingham player to have featured at a younger age was the first £1 million footballer, Trevor Francis. Loan spells would follow at Hereford United, Doncaster Rovers and Watford.

2011 was Mutch’s big breakthrough at Birmingham. He made his debut in the Premier League in January, playing all 90 minutes at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The Red Devils’ won 5-0 but it was an afternoon that Mutch will look back on with pride. Days later, he signed a three-year extension to his contract which had been due to run out that summer.

He stuck with the Blues’ despite their relegation to the Championship but with the club experiencing a transfer embargo and having just lost manager Chris Hughton to Norwich City; Mutch was sold to ease financial worries. He joined Cardiff City for an undisclosed fee. This meant he would work under Malky Mackay again. Mackay had been manager at Watford when Mutch had a loan spell at Vicarage Road. A persistent foot injury would keep him out of action for five months. However, Mutch did get himself fit to play the final eight games of the season as Cardiff gained promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Cardiff’s first Premier League away victory was one of Mutch’s finest Premier League moments. In the 92nd minute, he struck a spectacular winner away to Fulham in September 2013. His 25-yard strike ensured the Bluebirds’ achieved their first win away from home since November 1961. His individual performances were brilliant. He scored seven times, including two goals in a home defeat to Liverpool FC. He hasn’t scored a Premier League goal since Cardiff’s relegation.

Cardiff went down but Mutch’s performances were enough for Queens Park Rangers to pay the Welsh club £6 million on the eve of the 2014-2015 season. He started the opening day defeat to Hull City but failed to settle in west London and would eventually move to Crystal Palace towards the end of the January 2015 transfer window. QPR were able to recoup £4.75 million of the transfer fee they’d paid Cardiff from Palace.

He has featured 40 times for Palace in all competitions but has struggled to breakthrough regularly into the first-team at Selhurst Park. He joined Reading on-loan in the second part of the 2016-2017 campaign but didn’t do enough for the Royals’ to be tempted to fork out a permanent deal for the midfielder. In August 2017, he turned down loan moves to Bristol City and Burton Albion in an effort to establish himself in the capital.

Current evidence would suggest he might need to reconsider his thoughts on moving for the good of his career. All he can do is work hard in training and hope former England manager Roy Hodgson takes a chance on him.

Premier League Files: Geoff Horsfield

Premier League Career: Birmingham City (2002-2003), West Bromwich Albion (2004-2006)

Geoff Horsfield was one of those players who would always give a workmanlike effort. His hold-up ability and talent to back into defenders allowed his strike partners to get onto the end of decent opportunities. Horsfield’s career has been through a varied rollercoaster of emotions; from the joy of helping Birmingham City to the Premier League in 2002 to a battle with testicular cancer six years later.

His Football League breakthrough came as a teenager at the now-defunct club Scarborough before being released in 1994. Geoff had to earn his living then in part-time football with the likes of Witton Albion and Halifax Town whilst holding down a job as a bricklayer. A serious knee injury whilst in the non-league briefly threatened his longer-term football career but Horsfield would never let adversity get him down. After helping Halifax return to the Football League, he joined Fulham for £300,000 in October 1998 who were managed at the time by Kevin Keegan.

There was an immediate impact at Craven Cottage. Fulham won the Second Division title by 14 points and Horsfield was voted into the division’s PFA Team of the Year after chipping in with 15 goals from 28 games. Before leaving to take the England job, Keegan made a bold prediction: “Geoff’s your old-fashioned centre forward and we love him. He will score goals in the next divisions. He chases a lot of lost causes.”

Keegan’s successor, Jean Tigana disagreed and sold him to Birmingham City in July 2000. Horsfield proved the Frenchman wrong, featuring in the 2001 League Cup final and scoring the equaliser in the 2002 First Division playoff final against Norwich City which saw Birmingham promoted to the Premier League for the first time.

He will always be fondly remembered by Birmingham supporters for his contributions in the two Second City derbies in the 2002-2003 campaign. He capitalised on a dreadful mistake from Alpay to score the third goal in Birmingham’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at St Andrews. That was his first goal at this level. Six months later, he beat Peter Enckelman to a loose ball to score the second goal in a 2-0 win at Villa Park to ensure a famous league double for Birmingham as they finished a creditable 13th in their first season at this level.

However, he was slightly frustrated about his lack of starts in the top-flight and moved on in the closing days of the 2003 August transfer window, eventually to Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion via a brief unhappy spell at Wigan Athletic.

On signing Horsfield, Gary Megson suggested: “I actually went out on a bit of a limb by saying to the chairman that I think [Horsfield] would get us promoted … I think he just gave us that little something that was missing in getting hold of the ball, a little bit of cuteness up the front that enabled us to bring other people into the game.”

Megson was correct with his view. Geoff scored seven times and helped West Brom back to the Premier League at the first attempt of asking. 2004-2005 would see him have another go at the top-flight.

It started slowly for both player and club but Geoff became a Baggies’ cult figure forever with his impact on ‘Survival Sunday’ in 2005. Going into the final day of the season, none of the bottom four were safe and two points adrift of safety, it was West Brom who were the bookies’ favourites for relegation. By now, Bryan Robson was in charge and he left Horsfield on the bench for the crucial match against Portsmouth. The scoreline was 0-0 when Robson decided early in the second half to bring Horsfield on.

Within seconds, he had scored with his first touch to haul West Brom ahead and out of the bottom three. Kieran Richardson added a second goal, set-up by Horsfield and when Crystal Palace conceded late at Charlton, the party could begin. West Bromwich Albion survived and Horsfield later admitted this was the best achievement of his football career, despite the promotions he’d achieved with Halifax, Fulham and Birmingham.

He started 2005-2006 with this confidence, scoring twice against Portsmouth again and adding another against former club Birmingham but that was to be his last goal in the Premier League. He was loaned to Sheffield United in February 2006 and although he was a member of the Blades’ Premier League squad of 2006-2007, he never played for the club at the highest level.

In October 2008, Geoff revealed he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and was advised to retire from football. After successful treatment, he returned to the game with spells at Lincoln City and Port Vale. After doing some coaching with the latter, he walked away from football completely in May 2012 to pursue his business interests.

He was a no-nonsense footballer and there is no doubt that Geoff Horsfield left his mark on the Premier League chapters of both Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion.