1945–46 Birmingham City F.C. season
|Chairman||Harry Morris Jr|
|Football League South||1st|
(eliminated by Derby County)
|Top goalscorer||League: Charlie Wilson Jones (20)
All: Charlie Wilson Jones (25)
|Highest home attendance||FA Cup: 49,858 vs Bradford Park Avenue, 9 March 1946|
|Lowest home attendance||FA Cup: 25,054 vs Watford, 29 March 1946|
The 1945–46 season was Birmingham City Football Club's first season played under that name in nationally-organised football. The club had been called Birmingham F.C. since 1905, and the City suffix was added in 1943. Although the Football League did not resume until the 1946–47 season, the FA Cup restarted in 1945. Birmingham reached the semi-final, in which they lost to Derby County after extra time in a replay, played at Maine Road, Manchester, in front of 80,407 spectators. In league competition, Birmingham were champions of the first and only edition of the Football League South, taking the title on goal average from local rivals Aston Villa.
Twenty-four players made at least one Football League South appearance, though only twelve appeared regularly, the remaining twelve making just 36 appearances between them. Full-back Dennis Jennings missed only one of the 42 matches over the season. Charlie Wilson Jones was leading scorer with 20 goals in league competition. In the FA Cup, the same eleven players were selected for all the ties, apart from Sid King replacing Gil Merrick in goal for two of the ten matches.
Football League South
The Football League North and South were set up as a precursor to the resumption of the Football League proper the following season. They included those teams playing in the First and Second Divisions in the 1939–40 Football League season abandoned when war broke out, divided on a regional basis. Because registration rules had not been strictly observed during the war, and with many players still away on military service, teams were permitted to field guest players.
On the last day of the season, Aston Villa had already completed their fixtures. Both Birmingham and Charlton Athletic were two points behind them with a game to play and a superior goal average. In the event, Birmingham won 3–0 away at Luton Town to finish level on points with Aston Villa with a better goal average. Charlton were 1–0 ahead of Wolverhampton Wanderers when they heard that Birmingham had scored twice, so they needed another goal to overhaul them on goal average. They went on an all-out attack, but Wanderers' Dicky Dorsett broke away to score, thus confirming Charlton in third place. The Birmingham Evening Despatch said:
The best tribute that can be paid to Birmingham City FC is that 12 players were mainly responsible for taking the club through to this much envied football distinction. ... A grandstand finish to an exciting football race as has ever taken place found City on top, worthy of the championship because of their consistency."
|25 August 1945||West Ham United||H||L||0–1|
|1 September 1945||West Ham United||A||L||2–3||Massart, Edwards|
|3 September 1945||Luton Town||H||W||3–2||Dougall, Bodle|
|8 September 1945||West Bromwich Albion||H||W||4–0||Edwards, Mulraney, Duckhouse, Jones|
|15 September 1945||West Bromwich Albion||A||D||0–0|
|17 September 1945||Coventry City||A||W||3–2||Bodle, Duckhouse, Mulraney|
|22 September 1945||Swansea Town||A||W||4–2||Mulraney, Dougall, Massart 2|
|29 September 1945||Swansea Town||H||W||5–0||Bodle 2, Duckhouse, Jones, Mulraney|
|6 October 1945||Tottenham Hotspur||H||W||8–0||Duckhouse, Massart 2, Dougall, Bodle, Edwards, Mulraney 2|
|13 October 1945||Tottenham Hotspur||A||W||1–0||Mulraney|
|20 October 1945||Brentford||A||L||1–2||White|
|27 October 1945||Brentford||H||W||1–0||Massart|
|3 November 1945||Chelsea||H||W||5–2||Bodle 2, Jones, Turner pen, Edwards|
|10 November 1945||Chelsea||A||W||3–2||Jones 2, Turner pen|
|17 November 1945||Millwall||A||L||1–5||Jones|
|24 November 1945||Millwall||H||W||4–0||Bodle, Jones, Edwards 2|
|1 December 1945||Southampton||A||D||1–1||Duckhouse|
|8 December 1945||Southampton||H||W||4–0||Bodle 2, Duckhouse, Edwards|
|15 December 1945||Derby County||A||W||2–0||Edwards, Jones|
|22 December 1945||Derby County||H||W||1–0||Bodle|
|25 December 1945||Leicester City||H||W||6–2||Jones 2, Dougall, Bodle, Edwards, Mulraney|
|26 December 1945||Leicester City||A||W||1–0||Mulraney|
|29 December 1945||Coventry City||H||W||2–0||Edwards, Dougall|
|12 January 1946||Aston Villa||A||D||2–2||Dearson, Dougall|
|19 January 1946||Aston Villa||H||W||3–1||Jones 2, Mulraney|
|2 February 1946||Arsenal||A||W||3–0||Jones, Edwards 2|
|16 February 1946||Charlton Athletic||H||W||1–0||Jones|
|23 February 1946||Fulham||H||W||2–0||Laing, White|
|13 March 1946||Arsenal||H||L||0–1|
|16 March 1946||Plymouth Argyle||H||L||0–1|
|30 March 1946||Portsmouth||A||W||4–3||Mulraney, Jones, Dougall, Bodle|
|1 April 1946||Plymouth Argyle||A||W||3–2||Jones 3|
|6 April 1946||Nottingham Forest||A||L||0–1|
|10 April 1946||Portsmouth||H||W||1–0||Jones|
|13 April 1946||Nottingham Forest||H||W||3–1||Bodle, Jones, Harris|
|15 April 1946||Fulham||A||L||2–3||Dougall 2|
|19 April 1946||Newport County||H||W||3–2||Mulraney, Massart 2|
|20 April 1946||Wolverhampton Wanderers||A||D||3–3||Bodle, Edwards, Harris|
|22 April 1946||Newport County||A||W||1–0||Massart|
|27 April 1946||Wolverhampton Wanderers||H||L||0–1|
|29 April 1946||Charlton Athletic||A||D||0–0|
|4 May 1946||Luton Town||A||W||3–0||Bodle, Mitchell pen, Mulraney|
League table (part)
|5th||West Bromwich Albion||42||22||8||12||104||69||1.51||52|
|Key||Pos = League position; Pld = Matches played;
W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost;
F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points
From the first round proper to the sixth round of the 1945–46 FA Cup, the first edition of the competition to be completed since war broke out, matches were played over two legs. Birmingham defeated Portsmouth, Watford, Sunderland and Bradford Park Avenue to reach the semi-final, in which they drew with Derby County at Hillsborough, Sheffield, in front of 65,000 spectators. In an exciting match that "did not produce a great deal of high-class play [but] was very keenly contested", Raich Carter opened the scoring from Derby's first attack, Jock Mulraney "hit the angle of bar and post with a glorious shot from twenty yards", and the same player equalised early in the second half "after one of the best movements of the game".
The replay, at Maine Road, Manchester, attracted huge interest. The second half of the match was scheduled for live radio broadcast, and the gates were closed on safety grounds about an hour before kickoff, with thousands locked out. "Several thousands" of the official attendance of 80,407 "were allowed to sit on the ground almost up to the touch line". The match went goalless to the last half-minute of normal time, when Harold Bodle was unmarked 20 yards (18 m) from goal. Derby goalkeeper Vic Woodley stayed on his line, and "Bodle took the ball to within eight yards of goal but hit the ball so near to Woodley that he was able to beat the ball away." Six minutes into extra time, defender Ted Duckhouse arrived just too late to stop Peter Doherty scoring Derby's first goal and sustained a broken leg in the collision with his opponent. No substitutes were allowed, and Birmingham went on to lose 4–0.
|Third round||Portsmouth||5 January 1946||H||W||1–0||Flewin og||33,845|
|9 January 1946||A||D||0–0||23,716|
|Fourth round||Watford||26 January 1946||H||W||5–0||Mulraney 3, Jones, Bodle||25,054|
|30 January 1946||A||D||1–1||Jones||6,126|
|Fifth round||Sunderland||9 February 1946||A||L||0–1||44,820|
|13 February 1946||H||W||3–1||Jones 2, Mulraney||39,880|
|Sixth round||Bradford Park Avenue||2 March 1946||A||D||2–2||Dougall, Jones||19,732|
|9 March 1946||H||W||6–0||Dougall 2, Bodle 2, Mulraney 2||49,858|
|Semi-final||Derby County||23 March 1946||Hillsborough, Sheffield||D||1–1||Mulraney||65,013|
|Semi-final replay||Derby County||27 March 1946||Maine Road, Manchester||L||0–4
Appearances and goals
- Players marked * were guests, not registered Birmingham City players.
|GK||ENG||Ted Ditchburn *||1||0||0||0||1||0|
|FW||WAL||Charlie Wilson Jones||27||20||10||5||37||25|
|FW||—||I. McPherson *||1||0||0||0||1||0|
|FW||ENG||Frank White *||4||2||0||0||4||2|
- Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9.
- Matthews, Tony (2010). Birmingham City: The Complete Record. Derby: DB Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85983-853-2.
- Rollin, Jack (2005). Soccer at War 1939–45. London: Headline. ISBN 978-0-7553-1431-7.
- Source for match dates, results, lineups, appearances, and goalscorers: Matthews (1995), Complete Record, p. 240.
- Source for attendances: Matthews (2010), Complete Record, pp. 482–83.
- "Final League Matches". The Times (London). 4 May 1946. p. 8.
- "The End of the Season". The Times (London). 6 May 1946. p. 2.
- Bolton, J.T. (5 May 1946). "End-of-Season Soccer". The Observer (London). p. 8.
- Birmingham Evening Despatch, quoted in Rollin, Soccer at War, p. 109.
- Rollin, Soccer at War, p. 247.
- "Association Football. Charlton in the Final". The Times (London). 25 March 1946. p. 2.
- Bale, Chris (24 March 1946). "Charlton Cup Triumph". The Sunday Times (London). p. 8.
- "Derby may have missed a chance". The Manchester Guardian. 25 March 1946. p. 3.
- "Broadcasting. The Light Programme". The Times (London). 27 March 1946. p. 6.
- "Cup-tie crowd". The Manchester Guardian. 28 March 1946. p. 6.
- "Association Football. Derby County in the Cup Final". The Times (London). 28 March 1946. p. 2.
- Gil Merrick, quoted in Rollin, Soccer at War, p. 109.
- "Derby County win in extra time". The Manchester Guardian. 28 March 1946. p. 2.
- Rollin, Soccer at War, p. 276.