Birmingham City Football Club
are an English professional football
club based in the city of Birmingham
. As of the 2007-08 season, they were playing in the Premier League
, the top tier of English football, which is the level at which they have spent the majority of their history.
Formed under the name of "Small Heath" in 1875, they were founder members and the first ever champions of the Football League Second Division. As Birmingham City, the most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They achieved their highest finishing position of sixth in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Final in 1956, reached the final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1960 and 1961, and won their only major trophy, the League Cup, in 1963, beating Aston Villa 3–1 on aggregate.
St Andrew's has been their home ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, with whom they play the Birmingham derby.
The Isthmian League
is a regional football
league covering London
and South East England
. It is more commonly known by the name of its official title sponsor as the Ryman League
, and has in previous years been variously known (in chronological order) as the Rothmans Isthmian League
, Berger Isthmian League
, Servowarm Isthmian League
, Vauxhall-Opel League
, Vauxhall League
, Diadora League
and ICIS League
The league was founded in 1905, and was strongly dedicated to amateurism. The champions did not even receive a trophy, league policy being that the honour sufficed. Teams less able to compete financially thus gravitated to it rather than the Southern League, while those with ambition and money would move in the opposite direction.
Although the league established itself as one of the strongest leagues in the country, routinely providing the winners of the FA Amateur Cup, it was still seen as being at a lower level than the Southern League and Northern Premier League which were the top regional semi-professional leagues.