1978–79 Birmingham City F.C. season
|Football League First Division||21st|
|FA Cup||Third round
(eliminated by Burnley)
|League Cup||Second round
(eliminated by Southampton)
|Top goalscorer||League: Alan Buckley (8)
All: Alan Buckley (8)
|Highest home attendance||36,145 vs Aston Villa, 21 October 1978|
|Lowest home attendance||12,168 vs Norwich City, 27 March 1979|
|Average home league attendance||20,164|
The 1978–79 Football League season was Birmingham City Football Club's 76th in the Football League and their 45th in the First Division. They were in the bottom two positions in the 22-team division from 9 September onwards, eventually finishing 21st position, so were relegated to the Second Division for 1979–80. They lost in their opening matches in both the 1978–79 FA Cup and the League Cup, eliminated by Burnley and Southampton respectively.
Twenty-seven players made at least one appearance in nationally organised first-team competition, and there were thirteen different goalscorers. Defender Joe Gallagher played in every game but one over the season, and Alan Buckley was the club's top scorer with 8 goals, all scored in the league. Jim Smith, in his first full season as Birmingham's manager, brought Argentina's World Cup-winning full-back Alberto Tarantini to the club.
Trevor Francis, who joined Birmingham as a 15-year-old, became the first British footballer to be transferred for a fee of at least £1 million when Brian Clough signed him for league champions Nottingham Forest in February 1979. The basic fee was below £1m – Clough claimed in his autobiography to have set the fee at £999,999 because he did not want the idea of being the first £1m player going to Francis's head – but VAT and the transfer levy raised the total payable to £1.18m. Within three months he scored the winning goal in the 1979 European Cup Final.
Football League First Division
|19 August 1978||19th||Manchester United||A||L||0–1||56,139|
|22 August 1978||21st||Middlesbrough||H||L||1–3||Bertschin||24,409|
|26 August 1978||20th||Derby County||H||D||1–1||Givens||21,973|
|2 September 1978||17th||Bolton Wanderers||A||D||2–2||Francis 2||20,284|
|9 September 1978||21st||Liverpool||H||L||0–3||31,740|
|16 September 1978||22nd||Norwich City||A||L||0–4||15,701|
|23 September 1978||21st||Chelsea||H||D||1–1||Givens||18,458|
|30 September 1978||22nd||Leeds United||A||L||0–3||23,331|
|7 October 1978||22nd||Manchester City||H||L||1–2||Ainscow||18,378|
|14 October 1978||22nd||Tottenham Hotspur||A||L||0–1||41,230|
|21 October 1978||22nd||Aston Villa||H||L||0–1||36,145|
|28 October 1978||22nd||Coventry City||A||L||1–2||Givens||25,429|
|4 November 1978||22nd||West Bromwich Albion||A||L||0–1||32,130|
|11 November 1978||22nd||Manchester United||H||W||5–1||Dillon, Buckley, Givens, Calderwood||23,550|
|18 November 1978||22nd||Derby County||A||L||1–2||Givens||24,720|
|21 November 1978||22nd||Bolton Wanderers||H||W||3–0||Dillon, Buckley, Jones og||21,643|
|25 November 1978||21st||Liverpool||A||D||1–1||Tarantini||21,152|
|2 December 1978||21st||Southampton||A||L||0–1||18,957|
|9 December 1978||21st||Everton||H||L||1–3||Buckley||23,391|
|16 December 1978||21st||Nottingham Forest||A||L||0–1||25,224|
|26 December 1978||22nd||Wolverhampton Wanderers||A||L||1–2||Buckley||26,872|
|30 December 1978||22nd||Arsenal||A||L||1–3||Francis pen||27,877|
|3 February 1979||22nd||Chelsea||A||L||1–2||Bertschin||22,511|
|10 February 1979||22nd||Leeds United||H||L||0–1||17,388|
|13 February 1979||22nd||Liverpool||A||L||0–1||35,207|
|24 February 1979||22nd||Tottenham Hotspur||H||W||1–0||Towers||20,980|
|3 March 1979||22nd||Aston Villa||A||L||0–1||42,419|
|6 March 1979||22nd||Queens Park Rangers||H||W||3–1||Buckley, Towers pen, Broadhurst||12,605|
|10 March 1979||22nd||Coventry City||H||D||0–0||17,528|
|24 March 1979||22nd||Middlesbrough||A||L||1–2||Givens||15,013|
|27 March 1979||21st||Norwich City||H||W||1–0||Givens||12,168|
|31 March 1979||21st||Bristol City||A||L||1–2||Gallagher||16,453|
|3 April 1979||21st||Ipswich Town||H||D||1–1||Gallagher||12,449|
|7 April 1979||21st||Southampton||H||D||2–2||Barrowclough 2 (1 pen)||12,825|
|14 April 1979||21st||Wolverhampton Wanderers||H||D||1–1||Ainscow||20,556|
|17 April 1979||21st||Ipswich Town||A||L||0–3||17,677|
|21 April 1979||21st||Nottingham Forest||H||L||0–2||22,189|
|24 April 1979||21st||West Bromwich Albion||H||D||1–1||Gallagher||19,897|
|28 April 1979||21st||Everton||A||L||0–1||23,048|
|1 May 1979||21st||Manchester City||A||L||1–3||Lynex||27,366|
|5 May 1979||21st||Arsenal||H||D||0–0||14,015|
|7 May 1979||21st||Queens Park Rangers||A||W||3–1||Buckley 2, Dark||9,600|
League table (part)
|20th||Queens Park Rangers||42||6||13||23||45||73||−28||25|
|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||6 January 1979||Burnley||H||L||0–2||19,034|
|Second round||29 August 1978||Southampton||H||L||2–5||Gallagher, Francis||18,464|
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||Total|
|DF||ENG||Kevan Broadhurst||13 (3)||1||1||0||1||0||15 (3)||1|
|DF||SCO||Jimmy Calderwood||24 (1)||1||0||0||0||0||24 (1)||0|
|DF||ENG||Garry Pendrey||9 (1)||0||0||0||1||0||10 (1)||0|
|DF||WAL||Pat Van Den Hauwe||7 (1)||0||0||0||0||0||7 (1)||0|
|MF||ENG||Alan Ainscow||27 (4)||2||0||0||1||0||28 (4)||2|
|MF||ENG||Stewart Barrowclough||26 (3)||2||0||0||1||0||27 (3)||2|
|MF||ENG||Trevor Dark||2 (3)||1||0||0||0||0||2 (3)||1|
|MF||ENG||Kevin Dillon||36 (1)||2||1||0||0||0||37 (1)||2|
|MF||WAL||12 (1)||0||0||0||1||0||13 (1)||0|
|MF||ENG||13 (1)||0||0||0||0||0||13 (1)||0|
|MF||ENG||Tony Towers||31 (1)||2||1||0||0 (1)||0||32 (2)||2|
|FW||ENG||Keith Bertschin||9||2||0 (1)||0||1||0||10 (1)||2|
|FW||ENG||Malcolm Briggs||0 (1)||0||0||0||0||0||0 (1)||0|
|FW||ENG||Alan Buckley||24 (4)||8||1||0||0||0||25 (4)||8|
|FW||ENG||8 (1)||3||1||0||1||1||10 (1)||4|
|FW||IRL||Don Givens||38 (1)||7||1||0||1||0||40 (1)||7|
|FW||ENG||Paul Ivey||3 (2)||0||0||0||0||0||3 (2)||0|
- 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 1978–1979 : Results". Statto Organisation. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Source for lineups, appearances, goalscorers and attendances: Matthews (2010), Complete Record, pp. 392–93.
- Lyons, Andy (January 2002). "The importer". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Clough, Brian (1995). Clough: The Autobiography. Corgi. ISBN 978-0-552-14003-4.
- Harris, Nick (4 February 2004). "Landmark £1m fee for Francis was no big deal for Clough" (reprint hosted at NewsBank). The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- "Birmingham City 1978–1979 : English Division One (old) Table". Statto Organisation. Retrieved 16 February 2012.