Birmingham City F.C. in European football
Invitations to enter the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, a football tournament set up to promote industrial trade fairs, were extended to the city hosting the trade fair rather than to clubs. Some cities entered a select team including players from more than one club, but Aston Villa, the other major club based in the city of Birmingham, rejected the opportunity to field a combined team. Thus Birmingham City became the first English club side to play in European competition when they played their first match in the 1955–58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup on 15 May 1956. They were also the first English club side to reach a European final, the 1960 Fairs Cup final, in which they met Barcelona. The home leg, a goalless draw, was played on 29 March 1960 and the away leg, which Barcelona won 4–1, some six weeks later.[A] In the semifinal of the 1961 Fairs Cup Birmingham beat Internazionale home and away; no other English club beat them in a competitive match in the San Siro until Arsenal did so in the Champions League over 40 years later.
Victory in the 2011 Football League Cup Final earned Birmingham qualification for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League, which they entered at the play-off round. A 3–0 aggregate victory over C.D. Nacional of Portugal qualified Birmingham for the group stage, in which they were drawn alongside last season's finalists, S.C. Braga of Portugal, Slovenian champions NK Maribor, and fourth-placed Belgian team Club Brugge. They finished third in group H, one point behind Club Brugge and Braga, so failed to qualify for the knockout rounds.
Record by season
- Birmingham City's scores are given first in all scorelines.
|Season||Competition||Round||Opponent||Home leg||Away leg||Play-
|1955–58||Inter-Cities Fairs Cup||GS||Italy||Internazionale||2–1||0–0||[B]|||
|1958–60||Inter-Cities Fairs Cup||1R||Germany||Cologne XI||2–0||2–2||[D]|||
|SF||Belgium||R. Union Saint-Gilloise||4–2||4–2|||
|1960–61||Inter-Cities Fairs Cup||1R||Hungary||Újpesti Dózsa||3–2||2–1||[D]|||
|1961–62||Inter-Cities Fairs Cup||2R||Spain||RCD Espanyol||1–0||2–5||[D]|||
|2011–12||UEFA Europa League||PO||Portugal||C.D. Nacional||3–0||0–0|||
- PO = play-off round
- GS = group stage
- 1R = first round
- 2R = second round
- SF = semifinal
- F = final
European attendance records
- Highest home attendance: 40,524, against Barcelona, 1960 Fairs Cup final first leg, 29 March 1960.
- Lowest home attendance: 14,152, against R. Union Saint-Gilloise, 1958–60 Fairs Cup semifinal second leg, 3 October 1979.
- Highest away attendance: 75,000, against Barcelona, 1958–60 Fairs Cup final second leg, 4 May 1960.
- Lowest away attendance: 2,500, against KB, 1960–61 Fairs Cup second round first leg, 23 November 1960.
- The London XI, including players from several London clubs, were the first English team to play in European competition when they played their first match in the inaugural Fairs Cup in 1955, and the first English team to reach a final, in the same campaign.
- Invitations to enter the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, a football tournament set up to promote industrial trade fairs, were extended to the city hosting the trade fair rather than to clubs. Some cities entered a select team including players from more than one club; others, including Birmingham, chose a club side to represent them.
- The away goals rule did not apply when aggregate scores were level, so a playoff was staged at St. Jakob-Park, Basel, which Barcelona won 2–1 to reach the final.
- Until the mid-1960s, entry to this competition remained by invitation, independent of domestic league position. Birmingham City's continued invitations resulted from their success in the previous edition of the competition. In 1961–62, there was an expanded entry of 28 teams, and Birmingham received a bye to the second round as losing finalist from the previous edition.
- Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9.
- Matthews, Tony (2000). The Encyclopedia of Birmingham City Football Club 1875–2000. Cradley Heath: Britespot. ISBN 978-0-9539288-0-4.
- "The Birmingham City FC Archive". Tony Jordan. Archived from the original on 26 March 2003.
- Goodyear, David & Matthews, Tony (1988). Aston Villa A Complete Record 1875–1988. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 0-907969-37-2.
At this time there seemed a general lack of ambition at Villa Park. The club were slow to install floodlights, they turned down the chance of combining with Blues to field a 'Birmingham' team for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup...
- Ross, James M. (13 July 2006). "European Cups Archive". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 27 July 2007.
- Moore, Chris (27 November 2003). "Harris beats Henry". The Sun. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "2011/12 list of participants". UEFA. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "UEFA Europa League 2012: Nacional–Birmingham". UEFA. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
"UEFA Europa League 2012: Birmingham–Nacional". UEFA. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
- "Standings: Group stage: Group H". UEFA. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- Radnedge, p. 200.
- Ross, James M. (28 February 2008). "European Competitions 1957–58: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1955–58". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- Radnedge, pp. 200–04.
- Ross, James M. (27 June 2007). "European Competitions 1959–60: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1958–60". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- Ross, James M. (27 June 2007). "European Competitions 1960–61: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1960–61". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- Ross, James M. (27 June 2007). "European Competitions 1961–62: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1961–62". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- Matthews (1995), "Blues in Europe", pp. 241–42.