1977–78 Birmingham City F.C. season

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Birmingham City F.C.
1977–78 season
Chairman Keith Coombs
Manager Willie Bell
(until September 1977)
Sir Alf Ramsey
(until March 1978)
Jim Smith thereafter
Ground St Andrew's
Football League First Division 11th
FA Cup Fourth round
(eliminated by Derby County)
League Cup Second round
(eliminated by Notts County)
Anglo-Scottish Cup Group stage
Top goalscorer League: Trevor Francis (25)
All: Trevor Francis (29)
Highest home attendance 37,625 vs Nottingham Forest, 29 April 1978
Lowest home attendance 9,512 vs Bristol City, Anglo-Scottish Cup, 12 August 1977
Average home league attendance 23,910

The 1977–78 Football League season was Birmingham City Football Club's 75th in the Football League and their 44th in the First Division. They finished in 11th position in the 22-team division. They entered the 1977–78 FA Cup at the third round proper and lost to Derby County in the fourth, and lost to Notts County in their opening second-round match in the League Cup. They entered the Anglo-Scottish Cup but failed to progress past the group stage.

Twenty-two players made at least one appearance in nationally organised first-team competition, and there were ten different goalscorers. Forward pairing Keith Bertschin and Trevor Francis played in all 48 first-team matches of the season – midfielder Terry Hibbitt missed only one – and Francis was the club's top scorer with 29 goals, of which 25 were scored in the league. Both Francis and Hibbitt had been ever-present in the previous season.

After defeats in the first four league matches of the season, Willie Bell was sacked in September and succeeded by former England national manager Sir Alf Ramsey, a member of the club's board of directors. Ramsey lasted only six months, leaving the club ostensibly for health reasons,[1] but his biography suggests he was "locked in an increasingly bitter three-way dispute with his star player, Trevor Francis, and the board". After initially accepting a transfer request from Francis, the board changed their minds, reluctant to "incur the wrath of already disgruntled fans", so Ramsey handed in his notice.[2] The Times reported that "Sir Alf said he told the board [in February] that he intended to quit and sever his links with the club. ... He said at a board meeting on February 20 he recommended both Francis and the defender, Joe Gallagher, should be transfer listed. The board agreed but three days later changed their minds about Francis. Sir Alf said he then decided to opt out because of the board's policy."[3] Blackburn Rovers manager Jim Smith took over, having decided, according to the Rovers' website, that "Birmingham City offered better career prospects".[4]

Football League First Division[edit]

Date League
position
Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance
20 August 1977 21st Manchester United H L 1–4 Hibbitt 28,005
24 August 1977 22nd Chelsea A L 0–2 18,108
27 August 1977 22nd Leeds United A L 0–1 24,551
3 September 1977 22nd Liverpool H L 0–1 28,239
10 September 1977 20th Middlesbrough A W 2–1 Francis 2 19,240
17 September 1977 18th Newcastle United H W 3–0 Connolly, Bertschin 2 19,259
24 September 1977 19th West Bromwich Albion A L 1–3 Connolly 29,115
1 October 1977 16th Aston Villa A W 1–0 Bertschin 45,436
4 October 1977 13th Queens Park Rangers H W 2–1 Francis 2 21,304
8 October 1977 16th Coventry City H D 1–1 Francis pen 27,412
15 October 1977 16th Ipswich Town A L 2–5 Francis 2 21,313
22 October 1977 15th Derby County H W 3–1 Hibbitt 2, Towers 23,108
29 October 1977 14th Arsenal A D 1–1 Bertschin 31,355
5 November 1977 11th Wolverhampton Wanderers H W 2–1 Francis, Hibbitt 28,103
12 November 1977 14th Everton A L 1–2 Bertschin 37,743
19 November 1977 14th Leicester City H D 1–1 Francis 21,208
26 November 1977 16th Norwich City A L 0–1 16,800
3 December 1977 16th Nottingham Forest H L 0–2 29,925
10 December 1977 18th Manchester City A L 0–3 36,671
17 December 1977 18th Everton H D 0–0 22,177
26 December 1977 18th West Ham United A L 0–1 25,572
27 December 1977 18th Bristol City H W 3–0 Gallagher, Towers, Francis 24,110
31 December 1977 18th Chelsea H L 4–5 Bertschin, Francis 2, Hibbitt 19,876
2 January 1978 16th Manchester United A W 2–1 Dillon, Francis 53,501
14 January 1978 18th Leeds United H L 2–3 Bertschin, Connolly 23,703
21 January 1978 17th Liverpool A W 3–2 Emmanuel, Bertschin, Francis 48,401
4 February 1978 18th Middlesbrough H L 1–2 Gallagher 14,302
25 February 1978 17th Aston Villa H W 1–0 Francis 33,679
28 February 1978 17th West Bromwich Albion H L 1–2 Francis 26,633
4 March 1978 18th Coventry City A L 0–4 22,925
15 March 1978 18th Newcastle United A D 1–1 Francis 19,486
18 March 1978 18th Derby County A W 3–1 Connolly, Francis, Bertschin 19,843
21 March 1978 18th Arsenal H D 1–1 Francis 22,087
25 March 1978 15th Bristol City A W 1–0 Francis 21,434
28 March 1978 13th West Ham United H W 3–0 Francis 2 (1 pen), Bertschin 23,554
1 April 1978 12th Wolverhampton Wanderers A W 1–0 Francis 19,926
8 April 1978 12th Norwich City H W 2–1 Gallagher, Francis 20,858
11 April 1978 10th Ipswich Town H D 0–0 19,289
15 April 1978 9th Leicester City A W 4–1 Hibbitt, Pendrey, Bertschin, Francis 15,431
22 April 1978 11th Manchester City H L 1–4 Sbragia 25,294
25 April 1978 11th Queens Park Rangers A D 0–0 16,049
29 April 1978 11th Nottingham Forest A D 0–0 37,625

League table (part)[edit]

Final First Division table (part)
Pos Club Pld W D L F A GD Pts
9th Leeds United 42 18 10 14 63 53 10 46
10th Manchester United 42 16 10 16 67 63 4 42
11th Birmingham City 42 16 9 17 55 60 −5 41
12th Derby County 42 14 13 15 54 59 −5 41
13th Norwich City 42 11 18 13 52 66 −14 40
Key Pos = League position; Pld = Matches played;
W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost;
F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points
Source [5]

FA Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance
Third round 7 January 1978 Wigan Athletic H W 4–0 Francis 2, Bertschin 2 29,202
Fourth round 1 February 1978 Derby County A L 1–2 Bertschin 31,955

League Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance
Second round 30 August 1977 Notts County H L 0–2 14,993

Anglo-Scottish Cup[edit]

Round Date Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance
Group stage 5 August 1977 Plymouth Argyle A D 1–1 Craven og 5,176
Group stage 9 August 1977 Bristol Rovers A D 1–1 Francis 2,317
Group stage 12 August 1977 Bristol City H W 1–0 Francis 9,512

Appearances and goals[edit]

Numbers in parentheses denote appearances as substitute.
Players with name struck through and marked Left club during playing season left the club during the playing season.
Players with names in italics and marked * were on loan from another club for the whole of their season with Birmingham.
Players having played at least one first-team match
Pos. Nat. Name League FA Cup League Cup Anglo-Scottish Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK  ENG Dave Latchford 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
GK  ENG Jimmy Montgomery 41 0 1 0 1 0 3 0 46 0
GK  ENG Steve SmithLeft club during playing season 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
DF  SCO Jimmy Calderwood 36 0 2 0 1 0 0 (1) 0 39 (1) 0
DF  ENG Joe Gallagher 21 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 23 3
DF  ENG Pat Howard 35 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 38 0
DF  ENG Garry Pendrey 37 1 1 0 1 0 3 0 42 1
DF  ENG Mick Rathbone 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 0
DF  SCO Ricky Sbragia 5 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 7 1
DF  ENG Archie Styles 5 (1) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 (1) 0
DF  ENG Tony WantLeft club during playing season 18 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 22 0
MF  ENG Kevan Broadhurst 9 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 (1) 0
MF  SCO John Connolly 12 (8) 4 1 0 0 0 3 0 16 (8) 4
MF  ENG Kevin Dillon 16 (1) 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 18 (1) 2
MF  WAL Gary Emmanuel 20 (2) 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 21 (2) 1
MF  ENG Steve Fox 10 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 (1) 0
MF  ENG Terry Hibbitt 41 6 2 0 1 0 3 0 47 6
MF  ENG Gary JonesLeft club during playing season 3 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 6 (2) 0
MF  WAL Malcolm Page 29 (1) 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 33 (1) 0
MF  ENG Tony Towers 37 (1) 2 2 0 1 0 2 0 42 (1) 2
FW  ENG Keith Bertschin 42 11 2 3 1 0 3 0 48 14
FW  ENG Trevor Francis 42 25 2 2 1 0 3 2 48 29

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
  • 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. 
  • Source for match dates and results: "Birmingham City 1977–1978 : Results". Statto Organisation. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  • Source for lineups, appearances, goalscorers and attendances: Matthews (2010), Complete Record, pp. 390–91, 478.
Specific
  1. ^ "Birmingham City Managers". Birmingham City F.C. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  2. ^ McKinstry, Leo (2006). Sir Alf. London: Harper Sport. pp. 486–87. ISBN 978-0-00-719378-3. 
  3. ^ "Francis issue caused Sir Alf to quit". The Times. 9 March 1978. p. 14. 
  4. ^ "1975–1984: The bald eagle has landed". Blackburn Rovers F.C. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Birmingham City 1977–1978 : English Division One (old) Table". Statto Organisation. Retrieved 17 February 2012.