Tag Archives: Second City Derby

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.


Great Goals: Gary Cahill – ASTON VILLA vs. Birmingham City (April 2006)

The Second City Derby is one of the most passionate rivalries in English football. This match in April 2006 was of massive significance to both Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Neither club was safe from relegation. With Portsmouth’s improvement in form; it was becoming more likely that one of these sides would finish the campaign in the bottom three.

The game was finely poised at 1-1 after Milan Baros and Chris Sutton had exchanged goals in the first half. In the 56th minute, a tame header from Olivier Tebily started a pinball battle in the Birmingham penalty area. Kevin Phillips had two attempts blocked. The ball span in the air and youngster Gary Cahill then improvised – in breathtaking fashion.

He leapt highest in the air and produced a sensational volley that flew past Maik Taylor. He was mobbed by his teammates and supporters and rightly so. It was the perfect time and place for him to score his first Aston Villa goal. David O’Leary’s side eventually won 3-1. They stayed up and Birmingham went down at the end of the season.

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



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



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

Iconic Moments: Derby nightmare for Enckelman (September 2002)

In September 2002, Birmingham City and Aston Villa faced each other for the first time in the Premier League era. There was plenty at stake and it was more than just three points too. Birmingham led 1-0 through a Clinton Morrison strike but there was all to play for with just 15 minutes remaining. Then, step forward one of the most bizarre goals in Premier League history.

Villa defender Olof Mellberg takes a throw-in and throws the ball back to his goalkeeper, Peter Enckelman. The Finnish goalie makes a complete meal of a simple opportunity to trap the ball and start a fresh attack. The ball rolls underneath his foot and trickles all the way into the back of the net. Enckelman puts his hands on his head as Birmingham supporters rejoice in their delight.

Geoff Horsfield later adds a third goal and Birmingham go onto win four of their first six Premier League encounters with their rivals in the Second City. Enckelman now works as a field sales executive for DHL. Earlier this year, he was asked whether he knew he’d touched the ball on its way into the net. He said: “The actual truth is I’m not 100 percent sure. I’m 90 percent sure I didn’t touch the ball, but I couldn’t swear I did.”

It gave us a derby moment in Premier League history that is rarely forgotten.

Memorable Matches: Birmingham City 3-0 Aston Villa (September 2002)

Goalscorers: Clinton Morrison 31, Peter Enckelman OG 77, Geoff Horsfield 83


Birmingham City: Nico Vaesen, Martin Grainger, Darren Purse, Kenny Cunningham, Jeff Kenna, Paul Devlin (Darryl Powell 79), Damien Johnson, Aliou Cisse, Robbie Savage (Bryan Hughes 87), Clinton Morrison (Geoff Horsfield 69), Stern John

Aston Villa: Peter Enckelman, Ulisses de la Cruz, Alpay, Olof Mellberg, Steve Staunton, Ronny Johnsen, Gareth Barry, Mark Kinsella, Jlloyd Samuel, Juan Pablo Angel (Darius Vassell 45), Marcus Allback (Dion Dublin 45)

Referee: David Elleray, Attendance: 29,502

This was the first meeting in the Premier League between these Midlands rivals and the first Second City Derby in the top-flight since 1986. It would turn out to be an evening that Birmingham City fans will remember forever and one that Peter Enckelman has never forgotten…for all the wrong reasons.

Birmingham had adjusted well to life in the big time. Managed by former title winner Steve Bruce, the Blues had already beaten Leeds United and came from 2-0 to grab a point at Anfield against Liverpool FC five days earlier. Graham Taylor was in the Villa dugout for his second stint in charge but his team weren’t exactly sparkling despite a home victory over Charlton Athletic last time out.

The home side were on the front foot from the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead in the first half. Paul Devlin played a ball into the box which deflected off Robbie Savage into the path of Clinton Morrison. The Villa defenders stood waiting for an officials’ flag that never came and the forward made no mistake from seven yards out in dispatching the ball past Enckelman. That was his third goal in two matches.

There was a reaction from the visitors. Ulisses de la Cruz smashed the crossbar and half-time substitute Darius Vassell had a goal chalked off for offside after Martin Grainger and Kenny Cunningham got in each other’s way. The game was still perfectly in the balance as the last 10 minutes approached, before one of the craziest goals we’ve ever seen in the Premier League.

Olof Mellberg took a throw-in and played it back to his goalkeeper. Enckelman took his eye off the ball for a split second, miscontrolled it and the ball trickled into the back of his net. The Finn looked rather sheepish and did well not to react to provocation from some excited supporters that ran onto the pitch to celebrate the goal. Bruce’s reaction on the touchline summed it up. There was a debate on whether the goalkeeper actually touched the ball but judging from Enckelman’s reaction, he clearly did.

Moments later, another calamitous mistake by a Villa defender, this time from Alpay allowed substitute Geoff Horsfield in to score a third goal and power Birmingham to a priceless and magnificent victory. They finished 13th in their debut season and became a stable Premier League side for the next four campaigns. Crucially, they won both matches that season against Aston Villa and finished three places higher in the table too.