St Andrew’s: Birmingham City

Cattell Rd, Birmingham, West Midlands, B9 4NH, England
Elliot Brown / Flikr.com

Despite having been built in 1906, St. Andrew’s wasn’t actually the first stadium that Birmingham City called home. Then again, the club was formed in 1875 and was called Small Heath Alliance at the time, so that should come as too much of a shock! When the club turned professional in 1885 they renamed themselves as Small Heath F.C. Ltd and became the first ever football club to become a limited company and have a board of directors.

They started life playing on waste ground in the Birmingham district of Bordesley Green before moving to a ground known as Muntz Street. This place, for it could hardly be called a stadium, could hold up to 10,000 spectators when it first opened. The capacity increased to nearly 30,000 but even this wasn’t enough to cope with the demand to watch the team play. A game against Aston Villa, the club’s fiercest rivals, in 1905 registered an official capacity of 28,000 but thousands more scaled walls or broke through the turnstiles in order to attend the match. Things were getting out of hand and a decision was made to find a new home, with St. Andrew’s being built over the course of just ten months.

Stats

St Andrew’s Stats
Year Opened1906
Capacity30,016
Average Attendance19,126
Record Attendance67,341 (Birmingham v Everton (1939))
Pitch Size100 x 66 (6600)
OwnerBirmingham City F.C.
Clubs HostedBirmingham City F.C.
First FixtureBirmingham City v Middlesborough (26/12/1906)
Birmingham City Stats
Year Founded1875
NicknameThe Blues
Club MascotBeau Brummie
RivalsAston Villa, Wolves & West Brom
Previous StadiumsArthur Street, Ladypool Road, Muntz Street
KitBlue & White (Home) / Yellow, Red & Black (Away)
Training GroundWast Hills Training Ground
Shirt SponsorEzeGroup
Team OwnerBirmingham International Holdings
Record GoalscorerJoe Bradford (267)
Record AppearancesGil Merrick (551)

St Andrew’s Photos

St Andrew’s Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By The original uploader was Yusky at Chinese Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

St. Andrew’s has been refurbished numerous times since it first opened in 1906, but it still maintains its English style layout. There are four different stands at the ground with two of them, The Spion Kop and The Tilton Road Stand, virtually joined together to form something of a curved ‘L’ shape.

  • The Garrison Lane Main Stand - Located to the North and first opened in 1954, this is split into two tiers and normally welcomes club guests, families and the media.
  • The Tilton Road Stand - Located behind the goal and built in a single-tier, this stand normally houses the club’s most vocal supporters.
  • The Spion Kop Stand - Normally Kop stands are located behind one of the goals, but Birmingham like to be different so their Spion Kop runs along the side of the pitch. It houses a large section of corporate seating.
  • The Gill Merrick Stand - Renamed in honour of the club’s record appearance holder, this used to be known as The Railway Stand. It is a two-tiered stand, with the top tier being smaller than the lower one. This is the stand that normally houses the away supporters.

Birmingham City Ticket Prices

Birmingham City are remarkably secretive about their ticket prices for a club that doesn’t exactly sell-out every week. They only release their ticket prices four weeks before their games and there’s no information available about the lowest or most expensive tickets, nor their categorisation procedure or the different amount payable for different ages.

City do offer different prices for Blues Loyalty members, however, so here are the different prices for adults and concessions for Loyalty and non-Loyalty members for the Blues’ home game against Middlesbrough at the end of the 2015-2016 season:

  • Blues Loyalty Members: £14 / £10
  • Non- Blues Loyalty Members: £15 / £10

How To Get Birmingham City Tickets

There are several ways to get hold of tickets for Birmingham City matches, starting with the most obvious, and most modern, of heading to the club’s official website. You can also call the club’s ticket office directly or pop into the ticket office at St. Andrew’s on the day of the game. The club recommends that you do this at least two hours before the match, however, as it gets very busy near to the ground in the build-up to kick off.

If you’d like to buy tickets in person but don’t want to wait until the day of the game then there is a ticket office located inside the Blues Superstore near to the ground itself. The club also has an official ticketing partner in Ticketmaster, one of the country’s leading ticket providers. If you want to, therefore, you can pick up ticket from them, too.

Getting To St Andrew’s

Swap Start/End

Birmingham is in the Midlands and the Midlands is called the Midlands for a reason: It’s in the middle of the country. Access to the Second City is, therefore, pretty easy. Getting to the ground itself is also relatively simple as it’s only about a mile and half from the centre of the city, so here are some of the more obviously routes you might want to take:

Train - There are two main train stations in the centre of Birmingham, with New Street Station the one that is served by most other cities in England. Snow Hill Station is about ten minutes walk from New Street and from here you’ll be able to get a train to Bordesley Station, the closest one to the ground. It’s around ten minutes walk from Bordesley Station to St. Andrew’s.

Bus - Birmingham has an excellent public transport system and there are numerous buses that can take you from the city centre to close to the ground. Specific buses to keep your eye out for, though, include the numbers 96, 97, 58 and 60.

Car - You’ll likely be getting the M6 towards Birmingham, so leave it at Junction 6 and take the A38(M). Follow signs for Small Heath until you see signs for St. Andrew’s itself. Alternatively leave the M6 at Junction 5 and take the A452, the A47 and the A4540 until you see signs for the ground.

By Air - Birmingham International Airport serves most countries in the world, so that’s where you’ll be flying into if you’re planning to head to St. Andrew’s from overseas. There are regular trains from the airport to the centre of Birmingham.

Taxi - The walk from the train station to the ground will take you about twenty minutes, but if that isn’t for you then a taxi will cost about £12 and take just under ten minutes. Unsurprisingly, if you’re caught in traffic then it will cost you more as it will take you longer.

Parking Near St Andrew’s

There is a small car park near to the visitor’s entrance and there are also numerous independently run car parks close by. There is some on-street parking but do be careful to make sure that you don’t park on a road with parking restrictions or you might be in for a nasty surprise when you return to your car.

Useful Resources

St Andrew’s Hotels

Just as the Midlands is known as the Midlands for a reason, so Birmingham is called the Second City for a reason. It is one of England’s largest cities outside of London and as such the hotel options are plentiful. Here are some for you to consider:

ibis Birmingham Bordesley Circus - £55+

1 Bordesley Park Road, Birmingham, B10 0PD
ibis hotels are neither the most luxurious in the hotel industry nor the most disappointing. This one is located merely half a mile from St. Andrew’s and offers a restaurant, a bar, breakfast for its guests and free parking. More details.

Paragon Hotel - £70+

145 Alcester street, Birmingham, B12 0PJ
This Victorian hotel is just under a mile from the ground and offers a restaurant, a lounge, a business centre and a garden. There’s also free parking, should you want to drive, and free Wi-Fi, should you want to surf. More details.

Hotel La Tour - £100+

Albert Street, Birmingham, B5 5JE
The hotel La Tour is a four-star offering near to the centre of Birmingham. It’s about a mile from St. Andrew’s and has a health club, meeting rooms, a conference centre and a restaurant and bar. Like pretty much every half-decent hotel nowadays it also offers Wi-Fi. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near St Andrew’s

Birmingham is a brilliant place to go for a drink, with the city offering the friendliness of the North and the constant redevelopment of the South. Here are some of our favourite places for a pre-match pint:

The Cricketers Arms

48 Little Green Lane, City Centre, Birmingham, B9 5AX (0121 772 7797)
Arguably the most welcoming pub near to the ground for away supporters, The Cricketers Arms promises good food, a variety of drinks and an excellent pre-game atmosphere. Oh, and they show live sport too.

Jekyll & Hyde

28 Steelhouse Lane, City Centre, Birmingham, B4 6BJ (0121 236 0345)
We’ll be honest, this place is a bit…different. More of a cocktail bar than a traditional pub, The Jekyll & Hyde promises good food, exciting drinks and a top atmosphere.

The Shakespeare

Lower Temple Street, Birmingham, B2 4JD (0121 616 2196)
Located just a short walk from Birmingham New Street Station, The Shakespeare is a period pub that does delicious food, cask ales and shows football on large screens. The perfect place to fill up before you amble to St. Andrews.

Facilities

Given that the ground hasn’t been overly redeveloped in recent times the facilities are actually pretty good. The concourses are clean, there are plenty of places to buy a drink or a bite to eat before the game and the view from most sections of the stadium is not bad.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 2.90
  • Cup of tea: 2.20

Hospitality

By Bruker:TuborgLight (The Norwegian (bokmål) Wikipedia) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The club has numerous hospitality packages available for your consideration, with the various parts of the ground offering different experiences. There are some of your options and the sort of thing you’ll enjoy if you choose to take them up on their offer:

  • The Boardroom Club - The name tells you everything, here. This is one of the best hospitality options on offer at St. Andrew’s and you’ll get private five-course dining, a complimentary bar, a car parking space and the opportunity to watch the Man of the Match being interviewed. You’ll also enjoy prime seating in the Director’s Box in the Kop.
  • The Jasper Carrott Suite - Named after one of Birmingham’s most famous comedy sons, here you’ll receive champagne upon arrival, a behind-the-scenes stadium tour, a four-course meal and half-time refreshments. You’ll also get access to a complimentary bar, a car parking space and the chance to observe the Man of the Match interview and presentation.
  • The Captain’s Club - Arguably the most relaxed of the different options, here you’ll enjoy a three-course meal before the match, half-time refreshments and access to a cash bar.

Private Hire

The Second City has a wealth of conferencing facilities available to you and St. Andrew’s is no different. They tailor the experience to your needs and have nine suites and eighteen executive boxes at your disposal, so whatever event you’re hoping to host there’s a good chance they’ve got you covered. From The Legend’s Lounge to The Jasper Carrott Suite via The Boardroom, you won’t be disappointed by your experience at the home of Birmingham City Football Club.

Stadium Tours & Museum

Have you ever wondered how it feels to be a Birmingham City player, waiting to run on to the pitch before the match kicks off? Well doing a tour of the stadium won’t exactly recreate that feeling but it will give you a great insight into what the players get up to before a game. During the 90 minute tour you’ll see the dressing rooms, the tunnel down to pitch side and the manager’s dug-out. You’ll get to sit in the press room and even have a look at the television interview rooms.

Youngsters who complete the tour get a stadium tour certificate and everyone else gets some great memories to take away with them. It costs £12 for adults and £6 for Under-16s. The tours don’t run on specific days or at specific times so make sure to get in touch with the club before you turn up and demand the opportunity to walk around the place.

At the time of writing there isn’t a museum specifically dedicated to Birmingham City Football Club’s illustrious history. The city of Birmingham is full of museums and the like, however, with some of them occasionally doing special exhibitions of Birmingham City and Aston Villa memorabilia.

About Birmingham City

Elliot Brown / Flikr.com

From Small Heath Alliance to Small Heath FC Ltd before being known as Birmingham and then finally Birmingham City Football Club, the Blues have a rich history in the Football League. They were not only founding members of the Football League Second Division but they were also its first ever champions. Their main period of success came in the ‘50s and ‘60s when they achieved their highest finish in the First Division, reached the 1956 FA Cup Final and won the League Cup for the first time in 1963. That achievement was made all the sweeter because of the fact that they did so at the expense of their fiercest rivals, Aston Villa.

Birmingham were the first English club to compete in European competition when the played in the first ever Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1956. They made it to the semi-final before being knocked out by Barcelona. The club’s first ever kit was a dark blue top with a white sash through the middle of it. That is something that they have returned to in recent years in honour of the club’s history.

St Andrew’s History

Map from 1890 showing the site where St Andrew's stadium would be built in 1906 - By Ordnance Survey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

St. Andrew’s could originally hold around 75,000 spectators, though the attendance record of all-time is actually just under 70,000. Nowadays the stadium can hold over 30,000 people, though it rarely sells out for home games any more. The ground was turned into an all-seater stadium in the 1990s in the aftermath of the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster.

Though Birmingham City are the only club team to have called St. Andrew’s home, it has been used for numerous different reasons over the years. It has hosted England international matches at all levels with the exception of the senior team and it was also one of the locations chosen to host FA Cup semi-finals before they were all moved to Wembley. It has also hosted rugby union games, boxing matches and even music concerts.

Future Developments

Even as early as 2004 proposals have been mooted to move the club to a new stadium. As long as Birmingham City remain outside of the top-flight, however, that is unlikely to happen. The ground was listed as an Asset of Community Value in 2013.

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