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PARALLEL LINES: BIRMINGHAM

17 December 2016

The connections between Albion and Birmingham.


The kits
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Birmingham City’s home kit consisted of blue shirts and blue shorts, combined with white socks. It was a very Chelsea-esque look that was surprisingly used by Brighton and Hove Albion’s players at the FA Cup Final in 1983 against Manchester United. In the following 1983/84 campaign, the Seagulls’ Adidas kit shifted to blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks, a look very much in keeping with what Birmingham City wore during this period and indeed through much of the Blues’ history. Despite some experimentation, Brighton have never had a penguin-style shirt like Birmingham’s iconic kit of the 1970s, nor have Birmingham ever tried out blue and white stripes!

The Buy A Player Funds
Birmingham’s Bert Murray cost Brighton £10,000, with the proceeds raised from Pat Saward’s innovative ‘Buy A Player’ Fund in 1971. It was part of an ambitious plan to involve the local public in the affairs and fortune of the football club. Murray had started his career with Chelsea before moving to the Blues in 1966, making 132 league appearances over the course of five years. After his switch to the Goldstone, the utility player made many impressive performances, leading him to become the club’s player of the season in the Third Division promotion season of 1971/72. Then, in spring 1984, Birmingham City’s own Buy A Player scheme came to fruition. Costing the same £10,000 fee, Coventry defender Brian Roberts moved to St Andrews after ten years at Highfield Road. Nicknamed ‘Harry’, Roberts spent seven years with the club, earning admiration for his wholehearted displays. A similar scheme involving Birmingham supporters led to the purchase of Paul Peschisolido in 1992.

The million pound strikers
Famously, the first seven-figure transfer fee between English clubs was when Nottingham Forest bought Birmingham City star striker Trevor Francis in February 1979. Although Mark Lawrenson’s £900,000 sale in 1981 came close, the first Seagull striker to break the million pound barrier was Bobby Zamora, who left Brighton for Tottenham Hotspur in July 2003. At the time, Bobby had scored 83 times in 136 games for the Albion. Francis later returned to Birmingham City as manager in 1996, while Zamora returned to Brighton as a player from 2015 to 2016.

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The million pound strikers
Famously, the first seven-figure transfer fee between English clubs was when Nottingham Forest bought Birmingham City star striker Trevor Francis in February 1979. Although Mark Lawrenson’s £900,000 sale in 1981 came close, the first Seagull striker to break the million pound barrier was Bobby Zamora, who left Brighton for Tottenham Hotspur in July 2003. At the time, Bobby had scored 83 times in 136 games for the Albion. Francis later returned to Birmingham City as manager in 1996, while Zamora returned to Brighton as a player from 2015 to 2016.

The managers
Seagulls boss Chris Hughton managed Birmingham for a single season in 2011/12. Freddie Goodwin was another manager who has been in the hotseat for both clubs. After the Albion shocked Birmingham with a comfortable 2-0 win in the League Cup in September 1969, Goodwin left the Albion along with full-back Willie Bell and junior team coach George Dalton at the end of the 1969/70 campaign. When Goodwin was sacked at St Andrews in September 1975, Bell became his successor.

UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES

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