Like so many football clubs that started around the late 19th century, Birmingham City’s origins lie in the Church. The Blues came to be under the name of Small Heath Alliance in 1875, named after a a local district in the city and formed by a group of cricketers from Holy Trinity Church in Bordesley Green. They played on a patch of waste land near Arthur Street in Small Heath, not too far from where St Andrew’s Stadium stands today, soon acquiring the nickname Heathens.
The Heathens moved to a ground in Sparkbrook in 1877, called Ladypool Road. The ground was quickly outgrown however and within months the club moved to its first proper ground on Muntz Street, in 1877. On 27th September 1879, the Heathens had an engagement at Muntz Street which was to form the beginnings of that great Midlands rivalry with Aston Villa. The Club turned professional in 1885 striking an agreement with the players whereby they received half of the gate money. When the Football League was founded in 1888 the name was shortened to Small Heath and the club became the first to be styled a limited company. The name Birmingham found favour in 1905 and “City” was added after the last war. The club moved to St Andrew’s Stadium in 1906 on the site of a former brickworks.
The nickname Blues reflects the club colours the club has played in since 1875. Blue has always been the colour, with variations of white trimmings to suit the fashion demands. In the 1920’s for example a large white ‘V’ was added to the front of the shirts. City also appeared in a striking outfit of blue with a broad white vertical panel in the Seventies. The 1980’s saw red trimmings added to the shirts.
The current logo was introduced in 1975 as part of the centenary celebrations. The club put together a competition in the local press imaginatively entitled ‘design a new club logo for Birmingham City FC’. The logo chosen as the winner of the competition is as it is now. What we see is a sash, showing Birmingham City Football Club 1875, set on a globe and a football.
The first official emblem of Birmingham City was a derivation from the shield, taken from the coat of arms of the City. When the borough of Birmingham was incorporated in 1838 it adopted the armorial bearings of the de Bermingham family, once Lords of the Manor, as its seal.
The Tudor Rose on the mural crown in the crest alludes to Henry VIII’s granting of a charter to Sutton Coldfield in 1528. The hand in the crest, holding a hammer, represents local industry. Four distinct quarters with zig-zag patterns appear on the shield. The bend of lozenges appears on an effigy of a de Bermingham Lord in the city centre church of St-Martins-in-the-Bull-Ring. The shield also includes a bishops mitre, commemorating the 16th century John Harmanor Vesey, Bishop of Exeter. He was born in Sutton and obtained many advantages for the town.
This version was used by Birmingham City during special games. Anyway, you may like to know there’s a lady statue, representing all the fine arts, which are well catered for in Birmingham. She holds a book and a painter’s pallette with two brushes. The male figure, a smith, alludes to the busy local industry, holding a cupel to reflect the jewellery quarter and a hammer, resting on an anvil, to refer to the tradition of heavy industry. The motto is Forward, fitting really for a team who count Bob Latchford, Frank Womack and Trevor Francis amongst its old boys. One of its most famous old-timers was England goalkeeper Gill Merrick, but we understand that “Goalkeeper” wouldn’t really make a sensible motto.