1977–78 Birmingham City F.C. season
(until September 1977)
Sir Alf Ramsey
(until March 1978)
Jim Smith thereafter
|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, 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. 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." Blackburn Rovers manager Jim Smith took over, having decided, according to the Rovers' website, that "Birmingham City offered better career prospects".
Football League First Division
|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)
|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
|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|
|Second round||30 August 1977||Notts County||H||L||0–2||14,993|
|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
- Numbers in parentheses denote appearances as substitute.
- Players with name struck through and marked 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.
|Pos.||Nat.||Name||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Anglo-Scottish Cup||Total|
|DF||SCO||Jimmy Calderwood||36||0||2||0||1||0||0 (1)||0||39 (1)||0|
|DF||ENG||Archie Styles||5 (1)||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||6 (1)||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||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|
- 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.
- "Birmingham City Managers". Birmingham City F.C. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- McKinstry, Leo (2006). Sir Alf. London: Harper Sport. pp. 486–87. ISBN 978-0-00-719378-3.
- "Francis issue caused Sir Alf to quit". The Times. 9 March 1978. p. 14.
- "1975–1984: The bald eagle has landed". Blackburn Rovers F.C. 2 July 2007. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Birmingham City 1977–1978 : English Division One (old) Table". Statto Organisation. Retrieved 17 February 2012.