Historical Football Kits

 

Birmingham City

Formed 1875

Founder member of Division Two 1892

Kit History

 

 

 

Small Heath Alliance

 

1875

1875 a

1882 b o

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1885-1886 j

1886-1889 b

 

 

 

Small Heath

 

1888

Sept1889-1890 a j

Sept 1890-1893 i j

1893-1900 b

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1901-1905 j

 

 

 

Birmingham

 

1905

1905-1912 b o

1912-1913 b

circa 1913 b k n o

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birmingham fc 1922

1919-1922 n o

birmingham fc 1924-25

1922-1926 o

1926-1933? b o

birmingham fc 1932-33

1932-1933 n

birmingham fc 1933

1933-1934 n

1934-1935 b

1935-1938 b g o

birmingham fc 1938-39

1938-1939 h

1939-1940 b

 

 

 

Birmingham City

 

1944

1945-1946 b

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birmingham city 1946

1946-1947 o

1947-1949 b o

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1949-1955 b

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1955-1956 b o

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1956-1958 g o

1958-1961 b o

1961-1962 k

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1962-1963 early b k

1962-1963 late b k

1963-1964 b

1964-1965 h

1965-1967 a h

1967-1970 b h

1970-1971 b h

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1971-1975 b p

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Umbro

1975-1976 a

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Umbro

1976-1977 b

Adidas

1977-1980 b

Adidas

1980-1982 b

Patrick

1982-1983 b

Patrick

1983-1985 a

Patrick

1985-1986 c

Matchwinner

1986-1987 d

Matchwinner

1987-1988 d

Matchwinner

1988-1989 b

Matchwinner

1989-1990 b

Matchwinner

1990-1991 f

Influence

1991-1992 f

Influence

1992-1993 b f

March 1993 h

Admiral

1993-1994 b

Admiral

1994-1995 f

Admiral
birmingham city 1995-96

1995-1996 f

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Pony

1996-1997 c

Pony

1997-1998 c

Le Coq Sportif

1998-1999 c

Le Coq Sportif

1999-2000 c

Le Coq Sportif

2000-2001 c

Le Coq Sportif

2001-2002 c

Le Coq Sportif

2002-2003 e

Le Coq Sportif

2003-2004 e q

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Diadora

2004-2005 e q

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Lonsdale

2005-2006 e

Lonsdale

2006-2007 e

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Umbro

2007-2008 e

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Umbro

2008-2009 e

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Umbro
birmingham city fc 2009-10 strip

2009-2010 e

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Xtep
birmingham city home strip 2010-11

2010-2011 e

Xtep
birmingham city 2011-12 home kit

2011-2012 e

Diadora
birmingham city fc 2012-13 home kit

2012-2013 e

Diadora
birmingham city fc 2013-14 home kit

2013-2014 e

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Carbrini
birmingham city fc 2014-15 1st kit

2014-2015 e

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Background

small heath fc 1893-94Although Birmingham City were formed only a year after their great rivals, Aston Villa, the club have remained firmly in the shadow of their illustrious neighbour. City had humble beginnings and were originally formed by a group of cricketers as Small Heath Alliance in order to provide a winter activity. In 1885 the club became professional, the players receiving half the gate receipts. Three years later Small Heath became the first football club to became a limited company and dropped "Alliance" from their name.

The club started out wearing dark blue shirts. An experiment with black shirts in 1889 proved unpopular, players and spectators complaining that the team were virtually invisible. A set of royal blue jerseys were ordered for the following season but these were not delivered in time so the team turned out in their old gold-trimmed black tops for the first few games of the 1890-91 season.

The Blues became founder members of Division Two in 1892 and won the championship at the first attempt only to miss out on promotion by losing to Newton Heath in the test matches. In 1893 the club adopted light blue jerseys set off with dark blue collars and were promoted to Division One after finishing second (beating Darwen in their test match). They made little impression and were relegated in 1896 after which the Heathens regularly bounced between the two divisions. The club's registered colours continued to be light blue until the turn of the century when royal blue was adopted.

birmingham city fc crest 1945In 1905 the club changed its name to Birmingham FC ("City" was not added until 1944) in a bid to gain wider support and a year later moved into St Andrews, the club's present home. After the First World War, wearing a darker shade of blue, the club became established in Division One, reaching the FA Cup Final in 1931. 1939 brought relegation and after the Second World War, Birmingham City, as they now styled themselves, moved between the two top divisions with some frequency. The change in name was no doubt engineered to encourage support from throughout the city and to emphasise this, the coat of arms of Birmingham now appeared on their shirts regularly although these had been the club's official crest since 1905 and made an appearance in the 1938-39 season. In 1956 Birmingham City finished sixth in Division One and were beaten finalists in the FA Cup for the second time - their most successful season to date.

birmingham city fc crest 1970In 1963 City won the League Cup their first major trophy. Although the competition was not taken very seriously at that time, their victory was all the sweeter because they overcame Aston Villa over the two-leg final.

birmingham city fc crest 1971A monogram was adopted in 1970-71 but was replaced the following season by the famous intertwined lettering that appeared on the much-loved penguin strip.

After a spell in Division Two City returned to the top flight in 1972. To celebrate this achievement, the Sporting Argus newspaper ran a competition to design a new crest for the club. The winning entry, by Michael Wood was a globe and a football entwined with ribbon bearing the club's name. This proved a design classic and is still in use today. It did not, however, appear until 1976, when plain royal blue shirts were reinstated and it has appeared, with birmingham city fc crest 1976various backgrounds, basically unchanged ever since.

The late Eighties brought disaster as they slipped all the way down to Division Three for the first time in 1989. In April 1989 the Kumar brothers, owners of a clothing chain, bought the club. Their regime brought a rapid turnover of managers and a threat from the players en masse to refuse to renew their contracts. On the other hand, the club won the Associate Members Cup at Wembley and once Terry Cooper took charge as manager, promotion was secured. The collapse of the Bank of Credit & Commerce birmingham city fc crest 1992International (BCCI) in 1992 put the Kumars out of business and the football club was put into administration while BCCI's liquidator put their 84% shareholding up for sale. This was bought by David Sullivan of Sports Newspapers, who installed Karren Brady as Managing Director and dropped the unpopular "paint box strip" (with its multicoloured crest and colours of India on the socks).

The Nineties brought a return to the second level and by the new millennium, the Blues were regularly in contention for promotion to the Premiership. Traditionalists, however, pointed out that the shade of blue then in vogue was not the rich royal blue that is associated with birmingham city crest 1993the club. The latest version of the "penguin" kit, unveiled in 2007 to mark City's brief return to the Premier Division, proved very popular. Relegation followed but City bounced back in 2009 and in October of that year David Sullivan and David Gold sold their controlling stake to Hong Kong business man Carson Yeung for £81m.

In 2010 City signed a contract, reported to be worth £7.8m over five seasons, with Xtep, a Chinese sportswear manufacturer. That season they beat Arsenal 2-1 to win the Carling Cup (formerly League Cup) to bring some rare silverware to St Andrews and were then relegated. Even so City had a Europa League place, the first time the team had played competitive football in Europe in almost fifty years. Disaster, however, lurked in the wings when the club's owner, Carson Yeung faced charges of money laundering in Hong Kong. If convicted, Yeung's 23% shareholding could be confiscated by the courts, precipitating a financial crisis that the club, with a £24m hole in its accounts, would be unlikely to survive. Because the club failed to file accounts for 2010-11 they were handed a transfer embargo that was eventually lifted in July 2012. Meanwhile Yeung's prosecution rumbled on. To make matters worse, Xtep's sponsorship was cancelled at the end of the 2011-12 season and allegations of dubious financial transactions emerged in 2013.

In February 2014, Yeung stepped down from all involvement in Birmingham City and a month later was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for money laundering by the Hong Kong courts. As a result share trading in the club's holding company, Birmingham International Holdings (BIH), suspended since 2011, resumed and efforts to sell the club intensified.

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Sources

Photograph by courtesy of Birmingham City FC (Images of Sport - T Matthews). Crests are the property of Birmingham City FC.