Meet the opposition | Birmingham City

8th September 2022
First team
Birmingham City players warm up with fans in the background

As Swansea City prepare to travel to Birmingham City on Saturday, we take a look at the history, form and the key figures for the Blues. 

What's their story? 

A squad photo of the 1913 Birmingham City squad

Initially formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, the club became Small Heath and then Birmingham, before finally settling on its current name in 1943.

Small Heath are listed as one of the founding members of the Football League Second Division and were the first champions of that league.

The Blues have played home matches at their St. Andrew’s ground for 116 years.

The highest league finish in the Blues 147-year history came in the 1955-56 season where they finished sixth in the First Division. They also reached the FA Cup final that year – their joint best result in that competition having also finished as runners-up 1931.

Birmingham are two-time winners of the EFL Cup (1963 and 2011) and were runners up in 2001. They are currently in their 12th straight season at Championship level.

How's their form? 

Birmingham picked up their second win of the campaign last weekend, recording a 1-0 victory against Preston North End. Incidentally it was the first league goal hosts Preston had conceded this season.

Prior to that, the Blues had lost three games consecutively while their other victory came against Huddersfield Town in their opening home match. They’ve also drawn two matches and currently sit one point behind the Swans.

Who’s the gaffer? 

John Eustace in Birmingham City tracksuit on the touchline

John Eustace. The former Coventry City, Stoke City and Watford midfielder joined the Blues as head coach role on July 3.

He began his coaching career with two years at Kidderminster Harriers before leaving to join Queens Park Rangers as an assistant manager under Steve McClaren.

Following McClaren’s departure, he retained his role under Mark Warburton and remained loyal to the former Brentford boss despite having opportunities to take on the lead job at other clubs.

However, he departed the London outfit following the appointment of Rangers’ new manager Michael Beale after Warburton's exit was confirmed at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. 

 Who's the captain? 

Troy Deeney in Birmingham City shirt wearing the armband

Troy Deeney. The former Watford man was named as Blues’ club captain in January following the departure of Harlee Dean to League One side Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

The 34-year-old has retained the captaincy this term as he adds goals and experience to the team. The forward has made nearly 600 career appearances, the majority of these coming during his 11-year spell with Watford.

Although his name will always be synonymous with the Hornets, Deeney’s move to the Blues was something of a homecoming for the Birmingham-born striker, who grew up supporting the St. Andrew’s side.

Prior to his move to Watford, he spent four seasons with Walsall.

Who are the key men? 

Close up of Tahith Chong in Birmingham City colours

Scott Hogan is an experienced Championship striker and currently leads the goal scoring for Birmingham with two. The former Stoke City, Sheffield United and Aston Villa striker finished the 2021-22 season in double figures – making him their top goalscorer.

Forward thinking wing-back Maxime Colin got off the mark on Saturday with a headed goal at the back post. Though only managing one goal last season, he provides an attacking outlet for the Blues with his willingness to get forward.

Tahith Chong signed a permanent deal with Birmingham on deadline day following a successful loan spell from Manchester United last term. The creative winger was an important figure last season and will be expected to assume more responsibility this time around.

Experienced goalkeeper John Ruddy has been praised as one of the Midlands side's most consistent performers in the opening games of the season. The former England international has nearly 500 career appearances to his name, most of these coming for Norwich City where he counted Swans boss Russell Martin among his team-mates.