Birmingham Bulls (American football)

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For the former ice hockey teams from Birmingham, Alabama, see Birmingham Bulls.
Birmingham Bulls
Team logo
Established 1983
Based in Birmingham
Home stadium Erin Go Bragh
Head coach Mark Pagett
League BAFA National Leagues
Division Division One SFC North
League titles 4 (1986, 1988, 1991, 1995)
Division titles 19 (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006)
Current uniform

The Birmingham Bulls are an American football team based in Birmingham, United Kingdom. They play their home games at Erin Go Bragh in Erdington. They are a member of the Division One SFC North in the BAFA National Leagues.

The Bulls are one of the longer established American football teams playing in the United Kingdom, having been founded in 1983, and are one of the most successful teams in British American Football,[1] winning 4 British titles and 19 conference championships. They are named after the local landmark, The Bull Ring.

The Bulls field a senior team in the BAFA National Leagues Division One NFC South, as well as a youth team, and a junior team in conjunction with the Birmingham Lions and the Sandwell Steelers.


Early years[edit]

Jerry Hartman, a former US military policeman with some College Football experience formed the team in a local park, and by April 1984, there was enough interest to begin a fully fledged adult team.[2] The team was financed by local businessman Dave Gill, who later became the Bulls' first chairman.

On Friday June 8, the Bulls played their first game against the Milton Keynes Bucks at the Alexander Stadium, losing 40–7.

In 1986, as members of the BAFL, under coach Warren Tate, the Bulls won their first national championship, and represented the UK in the inaugural Eurobowl, finishing third, losing to eventual runners-up, the Bologna Doves. In 1988, the Bulls won their second national championship, and first in the Budweiser League, beating the London Olympians at Loftus Road 30–6, and again qualifying for the Eurobowl. However, they once more lost to the eventual runners up, this time the Amsterdam Crusaders.

In 1989, the Bulls again made the Budweiser Bowl to challenge for the national championship, but just hours before the game, star quarterback and coach, Russ Jensen, left the team for financial reasons.[3] The Bulls lost to the Manchester Spartans 21–14. In the same year, they turned down the offer of a tour of South Africa, estimated at the time to be worth $100,000.[4]

The Nineties[edit]

Under the banner of the NDMA league, the Bulls took their third national championship in 1991, defeating the London Olympians 39–38 at the Alexander Stadium, with kicker Mark Webb scoring the winning field goal with just 17 seconds remaining.[5] In 1992, the Bulls again faced Eurobowl disappointment, falling to the eventual winners, the Amsterdam Crusaders once more. The result of the loss was challenged by the Bulls due to player registration issues, but the appeal failed. This failed appeal was part of the reasoning given for the withdrawal of BAFA from the European governing body.[6]

In 1995, the Bulls won their most recent national championship, defeating the London Olympians once more, in a 34–30 game.[7] However, the Olympians got their revenge later in the year, knocking the Bulls out of the Eurobowl at the quarter-final stage, before going onto finish as runners-up. After a re-invention, the Bulls began life in Division 2 in 1996.

The Bulls reached the national championship again in 1999, but fell to the London Olympians in a close, defence-heavy 9–6 loss.[8]

Recent Years[edit]

The result of the 1999 Britbowl was repeated a year later in 2000, when the London Olympians again defeated the Bulls in the national championship game, 34–26.

There followed a down period in the Bulls history, marked by several play off appearances, a lone conference championship in 2005, and emerging rivalries with the Coventry Jets and Tamworth Phoenix.

As the Bulls attempted to emerge from the mediocrity of the 2000s, they focused heavily on recruitment within the local area, but they still struggled in the BAFA Premier Division North. In 2013, the Bulls junior team finished an undefeated season by defeating the Woodham Warriors in the junior Britbowl at Keepmoat Stadium, and were crowned national champions.

This would be the last year that the Bulls fielded a junior team, as a new team was formed through links with the BUAFL team, the Birmingham Lions and the Sandwell Steelers.

In 2014, in the second and final year of former Redditch Arrows head coach Ian Hill's tenure, despite a large rookie contingent, the Bulls came within one game of making the play-offs. After a league restructuring in 2015, the Bulls found themselves placed in the Division One SFC North, with former player, Mark Pagett, taking over the reins.[9]

Logos and Uniforms[edit]

The Birmingham Bulls traditionally play with white helmets, with one thicker black stripe surrounded by two thinner red stripes. Their facemask colour is black. A cut-out of the Bull from the full team logo is positioned on both sides of the helmet. In 2013, the Bulls celebrated their 30th anniversary[10] and reverted to the use of their original "Three Legged Bull" logo for a season.

Their home jerseys are typically black, with white numbers and a red trim, while their away jerseys are reversed, being mainly white, with black numbers and maintaining the red trim. Their game pants for both home and away kits are white, with a black and red stripe running the length of the leg. The Bulls have traditionally worn mostly black socks.

Their jerseys are currently manufactured by Rawlings.

Erin Go Bragh[edit]

The Bulls play their home games at Erin Go Bragh on Holly Lane in Erdington. The facilities are also the home of the local Gaelic Football team of the same name, several Sunday league football and Hurling teams. Erin Go Bragh, nicknamed EGB has three pitches for use across multiple sports.


London Olympians[edit]

The Bulls' rivalry with the London Olympians is largely historic, meeting several times in the late 80's and early 90's in both the league and playoffs, with the rivalry coming to a head in the 1988, 1991, 1994 and 1995 Britbowls, with the Bulls winning three to the Olympians one.[11]

In recent years, the two have rarely, if at all, played each other due to league realignments and a relative lack of playoff success for both organisations.

Coventry Jets[edit]

Aside from being purely a local affair, the rivalry became significant when the Jets returned in their latest guise, initiated by several former Bulls, including quarterback Jamie Kilby and Britball legend Paul Newey.

Thanks in part to geographical proximity, the Jets and Bulls faced each other often. In 2008, the Jets handed the Bulls their heaviest defeat, in a very one sided 67–0 affair.[12]

Tamworth Phoenix[edit]

The Bulls' rivalry with the Tamworth Phoenix is not dissimilar to that of the Jets. Whilst they are geographically close, the rivalry was compounded by the fact that the Phoenix were, like many of the younger Midlands teams, founded by former Birmingham Bulls players.[13]

Their rivalry is given further importance by the large contingent of Birmingham Lions players that also play for the Phoenix.


Current roster[edit]

Birmingham Bulls 2015


  • -- Alex Wake
  • -- Sam Steward
  • -- Warren Thomas

Running Backs & Full Backs

  • 3 Dean Thomas
  • 16 Marc Bonazebi
  • 20 Tyrone Johnston

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

  • 13 Kieron Hinds
  • 81 Joshua Boulton
  • 80 Reece Bell
  • 84 Michael Doyle
  • 87 Marc Henry
  • 88 Ben Fleet

Offensive Linemen

  • 40 David Pemberton
  • 58 Tom Townend
  • 60 Brendan Woulfe
  • 62 Andrew Kane
  • 66 Tom Levick
  • 77 Craig Chadwick

Defensive Linemen

  • 52 Scott Robinson
  • 57 Matthew Brown
  • 59 Jay Willis
  • 89 Olu Amudipe
  • 93 Anton Chisholm
  • 94 Lee Macken
  • 99 Tom Durn


  • 6 Jake Harbon
  • 16 Dimeji Ademiju
  • 17 Illya Kaznachyeev
  • 21 Dominic Taylor
  • 22 Simon Taylor
  • 32 Marcus Rey
  • 41 Daniel Williams
  • 47 Domeni White
  • 50 Stephen Stoakes
  • 54 Adam Fleet

Defensive Backs

  • 1 Gareth Thomas
  • 25 Dotun Ademiju
  • 2 Oheeul Choudhury
  • 85 Calum Roberts
  • 86 Jack Pemberton

Injured Reserve

  • -- Daniel Maher Injury icon 2.svg
  • 39 Aamir Saleem Injury icon 2.svg
  • 42 Sam Scott Injury icon 2.svg
  • 78 Gavin Henry Injury icon 2.svg

Rookies in italics.

Hall of Fame[edit]

Several former players have been inducted into the Birmingham Bulls Hall of Fame.[14]

Name Position Nationality Year of Induction
Trevor Carthy RB United Kingdom 2006
Greg Harris WR United States 2006
Colin Nash LB United Kingdom 2007
Gary Mills C United Kingdom 2007
Mark Webb K United Kingdom 2008
Mark Cohen WR United Kingdom 2008

Former players[edit]

All players listed below appeared for the Birmingham Bulls during their career.


  • Jon English United States
  • Travis Hunter United States
  • Russ Jensen United States
  • Dave Kramme United States
  • Mike Reisterer United States
  • John Riggs United States
  • Dave Stanton United Kingdom

Running Backs & Full Backs

  • Paul Bailey United Kingdom
  • Trevor Carthy United Kingdom
  • Lloyd O'Neill United Kingdom
  • Lloyd Queen United States
  • Joe St. Louis United Kingdom

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

  • Barry Driver United Kingdom
  • Mark Hopkins United Kingdom
  • Gary Mills United Kingdom
  • Jo Richardson United Kingdom

Defensive Linemen

  • Matt Barrett United Kingdom
  • Nigel Hoyte United Kingdom
  • Jamie McMullan United States
  • Mark Pagett United Kingdom
  • Dave Shrader United States
  • James Thorton United States


  • Dave Chambers United Kingdom
  • Jeff Christmann United States
  • John McManus United Kingdom
  • Colin Nash United Kingdom
  • Paul Newey United Kingdom

Defensive Backs

  • Nigel Dias United Kingdom
  • Pat Gregory United States
  • Neil Jenkins United Kingdom
  • Clive Loftman United Kingdom
  • Paul Roberts United Kingdom
  • Mark Williams United Kingdom

Special Teams

  • Richard Meanwell United Kingdom
  • Mark Webb United Kingdom


Senior Team

Head Coach

  • Head Coach: Mark Pagett

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator: Gary Hodgen
  • Quarterbacks Coach: Doug Cotterell
  • Running Backs Coach: Graham Huber
  • Wide Receivers Coach: Jon McNulty
  • Assistant Wide Receivers Coach: Michael Doyle
  • Assistant Offensive Line Coach: Andrew Kane

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator: Alan Steel
  • Assistant Linebackers Coach: Leon Simkin
  • Defensive Backs Coach: Paul Roberts
  • Assistant Defensive Backs Coach: James Muller


  • Strength & Conditioning Coach: John McManus

Youth Team

Head Coach

  • Head Coach: Lee Griffiths

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator: Lee Griffiths

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator: Richard Penwright


Records & Achievements[edit]

The following are British records or notable feats set by the Birmingham Bulls.[20] [21] [22]

  • 7th highest margin of victory in a playoff game: 70 (vs Yorkshire Rams, 2004)
  • 2nd highest score in a tied game: 36-36 (vs Luton Flyers, 1988)
  • 8th most passing yards in a single season: 2925 (Russ Jensen, 1988)
  • 13th most passing yards in a single season: 2306 (Russ Jensen, 1989)
  • 5th most passing touchdowns in a single game: 7 (Andy Sweeney vs Lancashire Wolverines, 2002 & Russ Jensen vs Manchester Allstars, 1988)
  • 4th most passing touchdowns in a single season: 37 (Russ Jensen, 1988)
  • Most receiving yards in a single season: 2056 (Greg Harris, 1988)
  • 10th most receiving yards in a single season: 1210 (Bob Shoop, 1989)
  • 19th most receiving yards in a single season: 1015 (Mark Cohen, 1994)
  • 2nd most catches in a single game: 16 (Mark Cohen vs Glasgow Lions, 1994)
  • Most catches in a single season: 122 (Greg Harris, 1988)
  • 6th most catches in a single season: 76 (Mark Cohen, 1994)
  • 7th most catches in a single season: 74 (Bob Shoop, 1989)
  • 3rd most receiving touchdowns in a single season: 22 (Greg Harris, 1988)
  • 3rd longest field goal: 54 yards (Richard Meanwell vs Glasgow Lions, 1987)
  • 2nd most interceptions in a single game: 4 (Gareth Thomas vs Hertfordshire Cheetahs, 2015)
  • Most interceptions returned for touchdowns in a single season: 6 (Trevor Carthy, 1992)
  • 5th most sacks in a single season: 14.5 (Ken Lewis, 1995)
  • 9th most sacks in a single season: 12.5 (Ken Lewis, 1991)
  • 3rd most passing yards in a Britbowl game: 251 (Dave Kramme, 1991 & John Riggs, 1995)
  • 4th most passing yards in a Britbowl game: 226 (John Riggs, 1994)
  • 6th most passing yards in a Britbowl game: 213 (Russ Jensen, 1988)
  • Most receiving yards in a Britbowl game: 157 (Mark Cohen, 1995)
  • 2nd most receiving yards in a Britbowl game: 127 (Michael Price, 1991)
  • 5th most receiving yards in a Britbowl game: 119 (Mark Cohen, 1994)
  • 11th most receiving yards in a Britbowl game: 94 (Greg Harris, 1988)
  • 13th most receiving yards in a Britbowl game: 81 (Paul Sinclar, 1994)

Season by Season record[edit]

Year Division Record
2015 BAFA Division One SFC North 4-6-0
2014 BAFA Premier Division Northern Conference 4–5–0
2013 BAFA Premier Division Northern Conference 2–8–0
2012 BAFA Premier Division Northern Conference 1–7–2
2011 BAFA Community Leagues Division One 9–1–0
2010 BAFA Community Leagues Division One 2–8–0
2009 BAFA Community Leagues Division One 4–6–0
2008 BSL Premier Division 1–7–0
2007 BSL Premier Division 5–4–1
2006 BSL Division One Northern Conference 7–3–0*
2005 BSL Division One Northern Conference 10–0–0*
2004 BSL Division One Northern Conference 8–1–1*
2003 BSL Division One Northern Conference 7–3–0*
2002 BSL Division One Northern Conference 8–2–0*
2001 BSL Division One Northern Conference 5–3–0*
2000 BSL Division One Northern Conference 7–1–0*
1999 BSL Division One National Conference 5–2–0*
1998 BSL Division One Northern Conference 9–1–0*
1997 British Independent Gridirion Conference 3–3–0*
1996 BSL Division Two Northern Conference 10–0–0*
1995 BAFA Division One 9–1–0*
1994 BAFA Division One 6–4–0*
1993 NDMA Central Conference 6–4–0
1992 NDMA Southern Conference 9–1–0*
1991 1991 NDMA Northern Conference 9–1–0*
1990 NDMA Northern Conference 9–1–0*
1989 Budweiser League Midlands Conference 9–1–0*
1988 Budweiser League National Division Midlands Conference 12–1–1*
1987 Budweiser League National Division Western Conference 7–3–0*
1986 BAFL National League Central Conference 10–2–0*
1985 AFL Midlands Division 12–0–0*
1984 Merit table 4–3–0
* qualified for playoffs


External links[edit]