2014–15 Birmingham City F.C. season

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Birmingham City F.C.
2014–15 season
Manager
Stadium St Andrew's
Football League Championship 10th
FA Cup Fourth round (eliminated by West Bromwich Albion)
League Cup Second round (eliminated by Sunderland)
Top goalscorer League: Clayton Donaldson (15)
All: Clayton Donaldson (16)
Highest home attendance 28,438 (vs West Bromwich Albion, FA Cup 4th round, 24 January 2015)
Lowest home attendance 9,816 (vs Cambridge United, League Cup 1st round, 12 August 2014)
Average home league attendance 16,111[1]
Football kit image: blue shirt and socks, white shorts
Home colours
Football kit image: white shirt with red front panel, red shorts and socks
Away colours
Football kit image: orange shirt with blue and white trim, blue shorts and socks
Third colours

The 2014–15 season was Birmingham City Football Club's 112th season in the English football league system and fourth consecutive season in the Football League Championship. It ran from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.

On 20 October 2014, with Birmingham 21st in the table and having won at home in the league only once in more than a year, manager Lee Clark and assistant Steve Watson were sacked. Coach Richard Beale and chief scout Malcolm Crosby were put in temporary charge.[2] Gary Rowett, Burton Albion manager and former Birmingham City player, was named as Clark's successor on 27 October.

The team finished in 10th position in the Championship, which was the highest position it had occupied all season. Clayton Donaldson was top scorer with 16 goals, of which all but one were scored in league matches. In the 2014–15 FA Cup, Birmingham lost in the fourth round to Premier League club West Bromwich Albion, and were eliminated by Sunderland, also of the Premier League, in the second round of the League Cup. The average attendance at league matches, of 16,111, was some 4% higher than in 2013–14.[1]

Background and pre-season[edit]

Pre-season match details
Date Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance Refs
8 July 2014 Cork City A W 3–0 Robinson 8', Caddis 83', Novak 89' 1,114 [3][4]
15 July 2014 Forest Green Rovers A W 1–0 Donaldson 18' 1,108 [5]
19 July 2014 Mansfield Town A Cancelled [6]
26 July 2014 Kidderminster Harriers A W 3–0 Thomas (2) 37', 46', Donaldson 75' 3,928 [7]
29 July 2014 Notts County A W 4–0 Donaldson (2) 13', 58', Shinnie 14', Grounds 89' 2,016 [8]
2 August 2014 Inverness Caledonian Thistle H W 3–1 Novak 8', Gray 38', Caddis 89' pen. 4,444 [9]

Ownership[edit]

Trading in shares in the club's parent company, Birmingham International Holdings (BIH), was suspended in June 2011 after the arrest of major shareholder Carson Yeung on charges of money-laundering.[10] Publication of financial results was repeatedly delayed,[11] which led the Football League to impose a transfer embargo,[12] and offers for the club were entertained from 2012 onwards.[13] After Yeung resigned his positions with both club and BIH in early 2014, share trading resumed,[14] and following his conviction,[15] efforts intensified to dispose of the club, which had to be done piecemeal in order to retain BIH's share listing. Interest from a consortium fronted by former Swindon Town F.C. chairman Jeremy Wray and one-time deputy managing director of Birmingham City Peter Day, reported to have North American backing, came to nothing.[16][17] BIH's accounts revealed a £12 million loss over the year ending June 2014.[18]

Chief executive Peter Pannu's service contract expired at the end of September, though he remained a director,[19] and his de facto successor Panos Pavlakis claimed the club was in a sounder financial state than previously.[20] In December, following comments on the Often Partisan website by someone believed to be Pannu, the club issued a statement that "categorically refuted" allegations about their tax affairs and funding status, and the Football League asked the club for an explanation.[21][22][23] A few days later, Pannu resigned his directorship of the club, and his appointment as CEO and MD of BIH was terminated.[24]

Relationships within BIH became increasingly factional. At the company's AGM in January 2015, Pannu was re-elected to the board while three directors, including Pavlakis, were not, yet the next day the three were reinstated.[25] The Football League made public their concerns over Yeung's attempts to impose his choice of directors on the BIHL board despite his conviction disqualifying him from exerting influence over a club.[26] On 17 February, the board voluntarily appointed receivers from accountants Ernst & Young to take over management of the company. Their statement stressed that no winding-up petition had been issued and the company was not in liquidation,[27][28] and the receivers assured the League that the club was not in an "insolvency event" of the type that could trigger a ten-point deduction.[29]

Football League Championship[edit]

August–September[edit]

Going into the opening-day visit to Middlesbrough having lost vice-captain Tom Adeyemi to divisional rivals Cardiff City,[30] manager Lee Clark gave starting debuts to Grant Hall, Jonathan Grounds, David Edgar, Stephen Gleeson and, for the second time, to Wes Thomas, and substitute debuts to Mark Duffy and Clayton Donaldson. Birmingham lost 2–0, and in his post-match interview, Clark said the play was too negative: "the stat of no shots on target tells the story".[31] Blues entered the first home game of the season having not won at St Andrew's in the league since October 2013, a second-tier record of 18 winless matches,[32] and with captain Paul Robinson dropped to the bench. A sound defensive display and Thomas's powerful header from David Cotterill's cross just after the break ended the unwanted run of home results.[33] Two draws followed, at home to Ipswich Town, who equalised in stoppage time, and away at Brentford, where Birmingham had a man advantage for 75 minutes and missed numerous chances to make the game safe.[34][35] August ended with Robinson back in the side and Birmingham in 20th place after a 4–0 defeat at Wigan Athletic, who "could have won even more comprehensively than 4–0 such was their total superiority."[36]

Set up by debutant loanee Brek Shea, Thomas's powerful shot broke the stanchion of the goal, delaying the game by nine minutes. Visitors Leeds United came back to draw, and the 18-year-old Demarai Gray was booked for what the referee perceived as a dive.[37] At home to Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham failed to profit from having the better of the first half, and lost 2–0 in the second.[38] A deflected shot from Callum Reilly on his first appearance of the season and Gray's "composed finish" over the goalkeeper gave Blues a half-time lead at top-of-the-table Norwich City. A strong penalty appeal for a foul on Donaldson was turned down and Grounds headed wide, but after the break, Cameron Jerome scored twice to restrict his former club to one point.[39] At home to Fulham, Birmingham wasted several first-half chances, took the lead through Cotterill's first goal for the club, and let it slip to lose 2–1.[40] September finished with the customary win at Millwall which left Birmingham 19th in the table. The 18-year-old Koby Arthur started the match, his first appearance since his recall from loan at Cheltenham Town.[41][42][43]

October[edit]

After conceding an early goal at previously unbeaten Charlton Athletic, strong performances from Davis and Reilly in midfield and Arthur in attack brought Birmingham back into the game. Arthur's goal was disallowed for offside against Donaldson – opinions varied as to whether he had interfered with play or whether he had indeed been in an offside position at all – but Davis's first goal for the club tied the scores.[44][45] After a break for international matches, Birmingham lost 1–0 at home to Bolton Wanderers. Randolph was sent off for bringing down an opponent after Caddis's back pass had left him little alternative, and with all three substitutes already used, Lee Novak went in goal to face Craig Davies's penalty; Davies missed.[46]

The result left Birmingham in 21st place, having won only once at home in the league for more than a year. The following Monday, 20 October, Clark took his customary press conference prior to the next day's visit to Blackburn Rovers. Hours later, he and assistant Steve Watson were sacked.[2] Chief scout Malcolm Crosby, who had had some managerial experience with Sunderland, and coach Richard Beale took over the team on a caretaker basis for the Blackburn match.[2] With Randolph suspended, Colin Doyle played his first league game since the 2012 play-offs.[47] Birmingham had the better of the first half, but conceded early in the second, Neil Eardley was sent off for a second booking, and Andy Shinnie, in his first appearance since the opening day, shot against the crossbar in stoppage time.[48][49]

Birmingham approached the visit of AFC Bournemouth still in 21st place, above the relegation places by a goal difference of one. They lost 8–0, a goal down inside three minutes and a man down three minutes later when Edgar was deemed the last defender. Caddis missed a 53rd-minute penalty that would have made the score 3–1. Bournemouth continued to score at will, including three in the final ten minutes.[50][51] It was their record league win and Birmingham's record home defeat.[52] Paul Robinson apologised for "that shambles of a game", recognised the fans' disappointment at paying a lot of money to come and watch an unacceptable performance, and promised that he and the rest of the players would take responsibility for putting it right.[53]

MK Dons had refused Birmingham permission to speak to Karl Robinson,[54] and former manager Chris Hughton was reportedly interested in returning, but by the Bournemouth match, the shortlist comprised three men: Owen Coyle, most recently at Wigan Athletic,[55] and the two candidates believed by the media to be joint favourites, Mike Phelan, former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and Burton Albion manager and one-time Birmingham defender Gary Rowett.[50][52] Described by the Birmingham Mail as "by far the most impressive interviewee",[55] Rowett was appointed on 27 October on a one-year rolling contract.[56] He brought his Burton backroom team with him: Kevin Summerfield, Mark Sale and Kevin Poole, all three former Birmingham players themselves, as respectively assistant manager, first-team coach and goalkeeping coach, and appointed Darren Robinson as head of performance.[55] Crosby and previous goalkeeping coach John Vaughan left the club, and Beale returned to a coaching role.[55]

November–December[edit]

Rowett began what he called the "job that I just couldn't turn down" away at Wolverhampton Wanderers,[57] who were level on points at the top of the table. During the week, he had the players working on "defensive shape and a bit of structure",[58] and had brought in Charlton centre-back Michael Morrison on loan. Morrison replaced the suspended Edgar, and the team lined up with Donaldson as lone striker. Birmingham secured a goalless draw: Grounds' header was well saved, but the same player was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty for handball.[59] After two minutes of the home fixture with top-of-the-table Watford, Donaldson's deflected shot produced Birmingham's first goal for more than a month; Watford soon equalised, then with five minutes left, Donaldson headed home from Cotterill's cross to secure a second home league win of the season.[60] A goalless draw with Cardiff City featured disallowed goals for former Birmingham loanee Federico Macheda and substitute Wes Thomas, who was sent off late in the game for striking an opponent.[61]

At Rotherham United, Rowett first picked the starting eleven which was to become his regular selection of choice: in a 4–2–3–1 formation, Randolph in goal, Caddis, Morrison, Robinson and Grounds as a flat back four, Davis and Gleeson in defensive midfield, Cotterill and Gray wide, Shinnie in the hole, and Donaldson as lone striker. Birmingham twice hit the post and missed numerous other chances before Donaldson had time to control the rebound from his saved shot and shoot more accurately for the only goal of the game, and a win that took Birmingham out of the relegation places. Rowett described it as "the most complete performance that we've had since taking over. We played with really good control and some good composure", while his opposite number Steve Evans thought "it looked like two poor teams out there".[62]

At home to Nottingham Forest, a 20-yard (18 m) curled left-footed shot from Cotterill gave Birmingham a lead equalised late in the game by Britt Assombalonga. In the last few minutes, Assombalonga deflected Morrison's header over the bar, and the referee awarded a corner, a decision confirmed by his assistant. When protests continued, the fourth official informed the referee that he had clearly seen the player use his hand to clear the ball, and the referee duly awarded a penalty and sent off the offender. Caddis converted the penalty to give Birmingham a 2–1 win. After the match, it emerged that Forest manager Stuart Pearce had also seen the handball, so accepted that the correct ruling had been made, however unusual it was for a fourth official to become involved in on-field decision-making.[63]

Having gone through November unbeaten, Birmingham began December without Shinnie, who had an ankle problem,[64] and gave Lee Clark's new club, Blackpool, only their second win of the season. Rowett suggested that "a lot of [his players were] playing against their old manager and I think some of them expended a lot of nervous energy in getting up for the game and I don't think that helped them."[65] In contrast, Gray produced a first-half hat-trick at home to Reading, who were three points above them in the table. Rowett praised his "clinical" finishing and his positive response to teasing about his lack of goals.[66] Caddis's powerful shot from Grounds' free kick opened the scoring, Shinnie added a fifth immediately after the interval with a low shot after a dribble from the right, and Cotterill's free kick from wide left that evaded everybody completed a 6–1 win. Nikola Žigić, who had re-signed for the club the previous week for a small fraction of his former salary, was a late substitute.[67] A 1–0 win away to Huddersfield Town courtesy of another Cotterill free kick and some desperate stoppage-time defending preceded an "uninspiring" performance in a 4–0 reverse at home to fifth-placed Derby County in heavy Boxing-Day snow.[68] Two days later, a 10-minute spell just before half-time containing two Cotterill free kicks, one touched in by Donaldson, and a defensive mistake gave Birmingham a three-goal lead, effectively securing their double over Nottingham Forest and taking them into the new year 11 points clear of the relegation places.[69]

January–February[edit]

After a weekend devoted to the third round of the FA Cup, league competition resumed with a Donaldson hat-trick against Wigan Athletic: a second-minute header from Cotterill's cross, a tap-in after Shinnie's shot hit the post, and a claim to the last touch on Gray's goalbound header.[70] The 3–1 win left Birmingham in the top half of the table for the first time since the 2012–13 season.[71] Caddis's early penalty after Donaldson was brought down looked like it would settle the game at Leeds United, but Marco Silvestri's goalkeeping helped Leeds come back into the match, and Luke Murphy equalised when the defence failed to clear a cross.[72] Neither side coped well with a poor Sheffield Wednesday pitch, and what Rowett described as a "fantastic, gritty performance and a very good clean sheet" yielded a point. After fielding the same starting eleven for the previous seven league matches,[73][74] there were two changes for the visit of Norwich City. One was enforced, Jonathan Spector replacing Morrison, who injured an ankle against Sheffield Wednesday,[75] while loanee Lloyd Dyer came in for the rested Shinnie. Neither side could gain ascendancy in a tight match,[76] and the Birmingham Mail reported that Gray, the subject of a series of rejected bids from divisional rivals Bournemouth ranging up to £5 million,[77] "struggled to emulate [Shinnie's] play-making ways".[78]

Shinnie returned for the visit to Fulham, whose early exploitation of a defensive gap on Birmingham's left was equalised by Cotterill's free kick from wide. Donaldson controlled Gleeson's lofted 40-yard (37 m) pass on his chest but shot wide, and later missed a free header, other chances were missed, and Fulham might have been awarded a penalty late in the game.[79][80] Three days later, Millwall won at St Andrew's for the first time since 1968 via a header from a free kick.[81] Top-of-the-table Middlesbrough's goalkeeper conceded a penalty and was sent off in first-half stoppage time, but Birmingham were unable to retain their lead. The prolific Patrick Bamford equalised, and Donaldson headed over from six yards in the 94th minute.[82]

Loanee centre-back Rob Kiernan made his debut in central midfield in place of the injured Davis at Brighton & Hove Albion. Early in the match, Randolph let a near-post shot "squirm out of his grasp and over the line",[83] but Donaldson soon equalised. Chances were missed at both ends in a very open game, before Caddis again took a penalty in first-half stoppage time. This time it was saved, and momentum transferred to the hosts, who soon took a 3–1 lead. The introduction of the mobile Thomas and Novak and adoption of a 4–4–2 formation gave Birmingham a new impetus; both scored, but so did Iñigo Calderón for Albion, and the match finished 4–3.[83][84] Davis returned to midfield for the visit to Ipswich Town, but his presence achieved more in attack than in protecting the defence: he scored twice as Birmingham lost 4–2.[85] Against the background of the club's holding company entering receivership, raising the possibility of a 10-point deduction, Birmingham ended February in 13th position, 11 points above the relegation places, after beating Brentford 1–0 for their first win since 10 January.[86]

March–May[edit]

Loanee Robert Tesche made his debut in midfield in place of the suspended Gleeson against Blackpool in Lee Clark's first return to Birmingham. A single goal decided the match, Tesche's cross landing on the unmarked Shinnie's head.[87] For the visit to Derby County, for whom Rowett had formerly played, he omitted Donaldson for the first time,[88] selecting Novak as the lone striker, and included Dyer in preference to Gray. Derby were in control throughout normal time: they had a two-goal lead,[89] Birmingham had had no shots on target,[90] and Rowett had become "involved in a heated exchange" with opposing players because the ball had not been returned to Birmingham after an injury stoppage. Then Tom Ince tripped Tesche and Caddis converted the penalty in the 93rd minute. Three minutes further into time added on, Thomas pulled the ball back from the byline after a corner, and the ball was scrambled over the line for the equaliser by substitute Donaldson.[89] A rather less eventful home match against Huddersfield Town finished 1–1,[91] and March ended with a poor performance at Cardiff City in which the team lost 2–0 and the manager was sent to the stand for throwing the ball to the ground when disputing a throw-in.[92]

April began with a 2–1 defeat of Rotherham United, featuring a rejected penalty claim that visiting manager Steve Evans called "the worst refereeing decision I've ever seen" and Rowett saw as just a tangle of legs.[93] The trip to AFC Bournemouth started with what Rowett viewed as "some of the best attacking play we've had since I've been here",[94] as the strength of Tesche and Davis in midfield freed Donaldson and Cotterill to give Birmingham a 2–0 lead; the former missed a chance to make it three. By half-time, Bournemouth were level, the first after Randolph had failed to deal with a corner and the second when Callum Wilson "coasted away from Robinson as though the defender was wearing concrete boots",[95] and in the second half, they secured a win that took them top of the table. Robinson "hacked Wilson down" to concede a penalty soon after the break, Bournemouth's fourth came after 74 minutes, and soon afterwards Robinson was sent off for another foul on Wilson.[94] The player – in the side instead of the rested Kiernan, a decision which Rowett later admitted might have been a mistake[96] – assessed the performance as "comfortable and well organised, then we just crumbled for one reason or another", and claimed he was indifferent to criticism from supporters.[97]

Loanee Diego Fabbrini made his debut in the playmaker role at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, wearing a protective mask over the broken nose that forced him to miss the Bournemouth match. The prolific Benik Afobe gave the visitors an early lead, but Birmingham took the win with goals from a Kiernan header – after Grounds' shot crossed the line unnoticed by the officials and was pushed back into play – and Gray's solo run from deep in his own half,[98][99] which won the club's Goal of the Season award.[100] Birmingham twice came from behind to draw with Blackburn Rovers; both Grounds and Gray scored their second in three days, but this time Grounds' effort was allowed.[101] Shinnie returned in place of Fabbrini, ineligible to play against his parent club, and came close to scoring as Birmingham held out for nearly an hour at Watford. As soon as the pacy Ikechi Anya and Odion Ighalo were brought on, Watford won a corner from which defender Craig Cathcart scored with an overhead kick.[102]

At Reading, Rowett set the team up in a 3–5–2 formation, with Thomas alongside Donaldson up front and Spector as the third centre-back. A poor performance, mitigated by Randolph's saves and Reading's lack of penetration – their previous match was an extra-time defeat to Arsenal at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinal – was relieved when they reverted to a system the players were used to and enlivened when Gray came on as a late substitute. Donaldson scored an 83rd-minute winner with a header from Gleeson's cross.[103][104] Fabbrini, who came off after 18 minutes at Reading when his face-mask was split by what Rowett alleged was a punch by Nathaniel Chalobah,[105] returned for the last home match of the season against Charlton Athletic. Birmingham dominated, but scored only once, late in the game, when Dyer shot powerfully across the goalkeeper.[106] The final fixture, away at Bolton Wanderers, was less dramatic than in 2013–14. Tesche scored the only goal of the game after Gray's corner was blocked on the goal-line, to give Birmingham a win that raised them to 10th position, their highest placing of the season.[107]

Match results[edit]

Match results: Championship
Date League
position[71]
Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance Refs
9 August 2014 20th Middlesbrough A L 0–2 18,371 [31]
16 August 2014 16th Brighton and Hove Albion H W 1–0 Thomas 49' 14,995 [33]
19 August 2014 15th Ipswich Town H D 2–2 Edgar 30', Donaldson 63' 14,022 [34]
23 August 2014 16th Brentford A D 1–1 Caddis 17' pen. 9,076 [35]
30 August 2014 20th Wigan Athletic A L 0–4 11,708 [36]
13 September 2014 20th Leeds United H D 1–1 Thomas 37' 15,266 [37]
16 September 2014 20th Sheffield Wednesday H L 0–2 14,085 [38]
20 September 2014 20th Norwich City A D 2–2 Reilly 8', Gray 41' 26,351 [39]
27 September 2014 21st Fulham H L 1–2 Cotterill 38' 14,132 [40]
30 September 2014 19th Millwall A W 3–1 Donaldson 32', Cotterill 40', Thomas 84' 9,086 [43]
4 October 2014 20th Charlton Athletic A D 1–1 Davis 53' 16,369 [45]
18 October 2014 21st Bolton Wanderers H L 0–1 15,149 [46]
21 October 2014 21st Blackburn Rovers A L 0–1 12,852 [48]
25 October 2014 23rd AFC Bournemouth H L 0–8 13,837 [51]
1 November 2014 22nd Wolverhampton Wanderers A D 0–0 25,135 [59]
4 November 2014 22nd Watford H W 2–1 Donaldson (2) 2', 85' 18,309 [60]
8 November 2014 23rd Cardiff City H D 0–0 15,950 [61]
22 November 2014 19th Rotherham United A W 1–0 Donaldson 62' 10,937 [62]
29 November 2014 17th Nottingham Forest H W 2–1 Cotterill 10', Caddis 89' pen. 18,595 [63]
6 December 2014 19th Blackpool A L 0–1 11,672 [65]
13 December 2014 15th Reading H W 6–1 Caddis 4', Gray (3) 11', 24', 45+1', Shinnie 46', Cotterill 60' 15,240 [67]
20 December 2014 15th Huddersfield Town A W 1–0 Cotterill 70' 13,203 [108]
26 December 2014 16th Derby County H L 0–4 23,851 [68]
28 December 2014 14th Nottingham Forest A W 3–1 Cotterill 35', Donaldson (2) 38', 45' 26,212 [69]
10 January 2015 12th Wigan Athletic H W 3–1 Donaldson (3) 2', 14', 64' 16,117 [70]
17 January 2015 11th Leeds United A D 1–1 Caddis 8' pen. 23,534 [72]
27 January 2015 11th Sheffield Wednesday A D 0–0 18,385 [73]
31 January 2015 11th Norwich City H D 0–0 17,835 [76]
7 February 2015 11th Fulham A D 1–1 Cotterill 14' 19,086 [109]
10 February 2015 11th Millwall H L 0–1 14,186 [110]
18 February 2015 12th Middlesbrough H D 1–1 Caddis 45+1' pen. 15,101 [82]
21 February 2015 15th Brighton & Hove Albion A L 3–4 Donaldson 13', Thomas 76', Novak 90+2' 25,768 [111]
24 February 2015 17th Ipswich Town A L 2–4 Davis 57', 79' 17,161 [85]
28 February 2015 13th Brentford H W 1–0 Tarkowski 40' o.g. 15,333 [86]
4 March 2015 13th Blackpool H W 1–0 Shinnie 36' 15,111 [87]
7 March 2015 14th Derby County A D 2–2 Caddis 90+3' pen., Donaldson 90+6' 31,522 [89]
14 March 2015 15th Huddersfield Town H D 1–1 Cotterill 10' 14,747 [91]
21 March 2015 15th Cardiff City A L 0–2 20,602 [92]
3 April 2015 15th Rotherham United H W 2–1 Tesche 27', Donaldson 43' 16,569 [93]
6 April 2015 15th AFC Bournemouth A L 2–4 Donaldson 18', Cotterill 21' 11,084 [94]
11 April 2015 14th Wolverhampton Wanderers H W 2–1 Kiernan 25', Gray 61' 19,330 [112]
14 April 2015 14th Blackburn Rovers H D 2–2 Grounds 64', Gray 78' 15,066 [101]
18 April 2015 14th Watford A L 0–1 19,156 [102]
22 April 2015 13th Reading A W 1–0 Donaldson 83' 14,604 [103]
25 April 2015 11th Charlton Athletic H W 1–0 Dyer 82' 17,775 [106]
2 May 2015 10th Bolton Wanderers A W 1–0 Tesche 42' 18,614 [107]

Final league table[edit]

Pos Club Pld W D L F A GD Pts
8 Derby County 46 21 14 11 85 56 29 77
9 Blackburn Rovers 46 17 16 13 66 59 7 67
10 Birmingham City 46 16 15 15 54 64 −10 63
11 Cardiff City 46 16 14 16 57 61 −4 62
12 Charlton Athletic 46 14 18 14 54 60 −6 60
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 [71]

Results summary[edit]

Overall Home Away
Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts W D L GF GA GD W D L GF GA GD
46 16 15 15 54 64  −10 63 10 7 6 29 31  −2 6 8 9 25 33  −8

Source: [71]

FA Cup[edit]

Birmingham, along with all first- and second-tier teams, entered the competition at the third-round (last-64) stage. They were drawn to visit the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition, former giant-killer Blyth Spartans of the seventh-tier Northern Premier League. Rowett made ten changes from the side that beat Nottingham Forest, only acting captain Michael Morrison keeping his place. Mitch Hancox, included in the matchday squad for the first time this season, started at left back. Žigić, making his first start since rejoining the club, had an early goal disallowed because of Morrison's foul, and then missed a clear chance from six yards. After Doyle's clearance rebounded just wide of his goal off the nearest Blyth player, home captain Robbie Dale scored twice when Birmingham's defence failed to cope with determined dribbling, and a fine save from Doyle kept the half-time lead down to two. After the break, Birmingham took the lead when a more positive approach led to three goals in a seven-minute spell, one from Novak and two by Thomas. Blyth had more chances, but Birmingham held on.[113]

Before a sell-out crowd of 28,438 at home to local Premier League club West Bromwich Albion in the fourth round, Rowett rested top scorer Donaldson and Demarai Gray, who had just been named December's Football League Young Player of the Month, in favour of Novak and debutant loan signing Lloyd Dyer, and started Randolph for his first cup appearance for Birmingham. The visitors took a two-goal lead; on each occasion, Paul Robinson was unable to prevent the powerful Victor Anichebe converting Saido Berahino's pass. In first-half stoppage time, Dyer's low centre was steered past Boaz Myhill via the post by Grounds for his first goal for the club. After an hour, a collision between Dyer and Myhill left the latter with a split finger, and he was replaced by Albion's other former Birmingham goalkeeper, Ben Foster. Randolph saved well from Joleon Lescott's header and was fortunate when Chris Brunt hit a post, Myhill saved Novak's volleyed shot, and Foster saved twice from substitute Gray, but despite having the better of the second half, Birmingham failed to score.[114][115]

FA Cup match details
Round Date Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance Refs
Third 3 January 2015 Blyth Spartans A W 3–2 Novak 52', Thomas 55', 58' 3,644 [116]
Fourth 24 January 2015 West Bromwich Albion H L 1–2 Grounds 45+1' 28,438 [114]

Football League Cup[edit]

In the first round, Birmingham were drawn at home to Cambridge United, newly promoted to the Football League via the Conference play-offs.[117] After taking an early lead through Clayton Donaldson's neat finish from a Paul Caddis pass, Birmingham's defence was disrupted by debutant Gavin Gunning's failed attempt to continue after injury – posterior cruciate ligament damage initially expected to keep him out for several months[118] – and Ryan Donaldson ran through to equalise. Saves from regular cup-match goalkeeper Colin Doyle and goalline clearances from Cambridge players took the match into extra time. Five minutes in, Caddis hit a low shot through a crowd of defenders, and ten minutes later, Mark Duffy made the score 3–1.[119]

At home to Premier League club Sunderland in the second round, Birmingham had the better of the match until well into the second half. Caddis drew an early save, Wes Thomas shot wide from close range, and David Cotterill struck the woodwork. After 77 minutes, the Birmingham contingent thought the ball had gone out of play in Sunderland's defensive third, but the referee disagreed; the visitors broke and Jordi Gómez beat Doyle from 25 yards (23 m). In the last few minutes of the match, Donaldson shot wide with an overhead kick, Sunderland broke and doubled their lead, adding a third shortly afterwards.[120]

League Cup match details
Round Date Opponents Venue Result Score
F–A
Scorers Attendance Refs
First 12 August 2014 Cambridge United H W 3–1
a.e.t.
Donaldson 16', Caddis 96', Duffy 105+1' 9,816 [119]
Second 27 August 2014 Sunderland H L 0–3 11,245 [120]

Transfers[edit]

In[edit]

Date Player Clubdagger Fee Ref
1 July 2014 Jonathan Grounds (Oldham Athletic) Free [121]
1 July 2014 Stephen Gleeson (Milton Keynes Dons) Free [122]
1 July 2014 Wes Thomas (Rotherham United) Free [123]
1 July 2014 David Edgar (Burnley) Free [123]
1 July 2014 Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) Free [123]
1 July 2014 Mark Duffy (Doncaster Rovers) Free [124]
1 July 2014 David Cotterill (Doncaster Rovers) Free [125]
1 July 2014 Clayton Donaldson (Brentford) Free [126]
30 July 2014 Denny Johnstone (Celtic) Undisclosed compensation [127]
11 August 2014 David Davis Wolverhampton Wanderers Undisclosed [128]
20 November 2014 Guy Moussi (Nottingham Forest) Free [129]
4 December 2014 Nikola Žigić (Birmingham City) Free [130]
5 January 2015 Michael Morrison Charlton Athletic Undisclosed [131]
dagger Brackets around club names indicate the player's contract with that club had expired before he joined Birmingham.

Out[edit]

Date Player Clubdagger Fee Ref
7 August 2014 Tom Adeyemi Cardiff City Undisclosed [30]
17 January 2015 Guy Moussi (HJK Helsinki) Contract expired [132]
6 May 2015 Will Packwood Released [133]
22 May 2015 Matt Green Mansfield Town Released [134][135]
5 June 2015 Callum Reilly Burton Albion Released [136]
30 June 2015 Amari'i Bell (Fleetwood Town) Released [137]
30 June 2015 Colin Doyle (Blackpool) Released [134][138]
30 June 2015 Gavin Gunning (Oldham Athletic) Released [134][139]
30 June 2015 Olly Lee (Luton Town) Released [134][140]
30 June 2015 Nikola Žigić Released [134]
30 June 2015 Darren Randolph (West Ham United) Contract expired [141]
dagger Brackets round a club denote the player joined that club after his Birmingham City contract expired.

Loan in[edit]

Date Player Club Return Ref
6 June 2014 Grant Hall Tottenham Hotspur Terminated early 5 January 2015 [142]
12 September 2014 Brek Shea Stoke City 13 December 2014 [143]
31 October 2014 Michael Morrison Charlton Athletic Made permanent 5 January 2015 [131][144]
19 January 2015 Lloyd Dyer Watford End of season [145]
2 March 2015 Robert Tesche Nottingham Forest End of season [146]
26 March 2015 Diego Fabbrini Watford End of season [147]

Loan out[edit]

Date Player Club Return Ref
9 July 2014 Amari'i Bell Mansfield Town Recalled 17 August 2014 [148]
25 July 2014 Koby Arthur Cheltenham Town Recalled 14 September 2014 [42]
5 August 2014 Nick Townsend Lincoln City Recalled 5 January 2015 [149][131]
28 August 2014 Reece Brown Notts County 27 September 2014 [150]
12 September 2014 George McGee Rushall Olympic 14 October 2014 [151]
26 September 2014 James Fry Leamington 7 March 2015 [152]
26 September 2014 Amari'i Bell Swindon Town 3 January 2015 [153]
14 November 2014 Charlee Adams Lincoln City Recalled 3 March 2015 [154]
21 November 2014 Connal Trueman Leamington 3 January 2015 [155]
24 November 2014 Will Packwood Colchester United Recalled 11 December 2014 [156]
27 November 2014 Denny Johnstone Macclesfield Town Recalled 2 February 2015 [157][158]
8 January 2015 Reece Webb Stourbridge 7 February 2015 [159]
9 January 2015 Nat Kelly Kidderminster Harriers 9 February 2015 [160]
12 January 2015 George McGee Hednesford Town 12 February 2015 [161]
16 January 2015 Olly Lee Plymouth Argyle End of season [162]
21 January 2015 David Edgar Huddersfield Town End of season [163]
22 January 2015 Neal Eardley Leyton Orient Recalled 9 February 2015 [164]
2 February 2015 Denny Johnstone Cheltenham Town Recalled by 9 March 2015 [158]
2 February 2015 Mark Duffy Chesterfield 1 March 2015 [165]
13 February 2015 Callum Preston AFC Telford United 14 March 2015 [166]
11 March 2015 Callum Reilly Burton Albion End of season [167]
11 March 2015 Will Packwood Cheltenham Town End of season [167]
20 March 2015 Amari'i Bell Gillingham End of season [168]
26 March 2015 James Fry Kidderminster Harriers 25 April 2015 [169]
26 March 2015 Nat Kelly Kidderminster Harriers 25 April 2015 [169]
26 March 2015 Liam Truslove Leamington 25 April 2015 [170]
26 March 2015 Denny Johnstone Burton Albion End of season [169]

Appearances and goals[edit]

Sources:[171]
Numbers in parentheses denote appearances as substitute.
Players with name and squad number 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 listed with no appearances have been in the matchday squad but only as unused substitutes.
Key to positions: GK – Goalkeeper; DF – Defender; MF – Midfielder; FW – Forward
Players included in matchday squads
No. Pos. Nat. Name League FA Cup League Cup Total Discipline
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals A yellow rectangle, denoting the yellow penalty card shown to a player being cautioned A red rectangle, denoting the red penalty card shown to a player being sent off
1 GK  IRL Darren Randolph 45 0 1 0 0 0 46 0 0 1
2 DF  WAL Neal Eardley 4 0 1 0 1 0 6 0 2 1
3 DF  ENG Jonathan Grounds 45 1 1 1 1 0 47 2 8 0
4 DF  ENG Paul Robinson 30 (4) 0 1 0 1 0 32 (4) 0 7 1
5 DF  IRL Gavin Gunning 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
6 DF  CAN David Edgar 14 (2) 1 1 0 1 (1) 0 16 (3) 1 1 1
7 MF  ENG Mark Duffy 1 (3) 0 1 0 1 (1) 1 3 (4) 1 1 0
8 MF  IRL Stephen Gleeson 34 (5) 0 1 0 1 0 36 (5) 0 3 1
9 FW  ENG Clayton Donaldson 44 (2) 15 0 0 2 1 46 (2) 16 1 0
10 FW  ENG Wes Thomas 10 (23) 4 1 (1) 2 2 0 13 (24) 6 3 1
11 MF  ENG David Cotterill 42 9 1 0 2 0 45 9 7 0
12 FW  ENG Lee Novak 9 (12) 1 2 1 0 (2) 0 11 (14) 2 1 0
13 MF  USA Brek Shea *Left club during playing season 2 (4) 0 0 0 0 0 2 (4) 0 0 0
13 MF  GER Robert Tesche * 12 2 0 0 0 0 12 2 2 0
14 DF  USA Will Packwood 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 0 0
15 DF  ENG Grant Hall *Left club during playing season 7 0 0 0 2 0 9 0 0 0
15 DF  IRL Rob Kiernan * 11 (1) 1 0 0 0 0 11 (1) 1 0 0
16 FW  SCO Denny Johnstone 0 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 (2) 0 0 0
17 MF  IRL Callum Reilly 4 (13) 1 1 0 0 0 5 (13) 1 0 0
18 DF  ENG Mitch Hancox 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
19 FW  SRB Nikola Žigić 0 (9) 0 1 (1) 0 0 0 1 (10) 0 1 0
20 MF  ENG Olly Lee 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
21 GK  IRL Colin Doyle 1 0 1 0 2 0 4 0 0 0
22 MF  SCO Andrew Shinnie 24 (3) 2 1 0 0 0 25 (3) 2 3 0
23 DF  USA Jonathan Spector 20 (4) 0 0 0 1 (1) 0 21 (5) 0 3 0
24 MF  GHA Koby Arthur 7 (2) 0 0 (1) 0 0 0 7 (3) 0 1 0
26 MF  ENG David Davis 36 (6) 3 1 0 1 0 38 (6) 3 7 0
27 GK  ENG Connal Trueman 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
28 DF  ENG Michael Morrison 21 0 2 0 0 0 23 0 0 0
29 MF  ENG Reece Brown 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 0 0
31 DF  SCO Paul Caddis 44 (1) 6 1 0 2 1 47 (1) 7 5 0
33 MF  ENG Demarai Gray 28 (13) 6 0 (1) 0 1 0 29 (14) 6 2 0
36 MF  ITA Diego Fabbrini * 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
39 MF  FRA Guy Moussi Left club during playing season 0 (2) 0 1 0 0 0 1 (2) 0 0 0
40 MF  ENG Lloyd Dyer * 7 (11) 1 1 0 0 0 8 (11) 1 1 0
Players not included in matchday squads
No. Pos. Nat. Name
25 FW  ENG Matt Green
30 GK  ENG Nick Townsend
32 DF  ENG Amari'i Bell
34 MF  ENG Charlee Adams
35 DF  ENG Josh Martin

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