Birmingham City

St Andrews

Capacity: 30,016 (all seated)
Address: St Andrews Ground, Birmingham B9 4RL
Telephone: 0121 772 0101
Pitch Size: 115 x 75 yards
Club Nickname: The Blues
Year Ground Opened: 1906
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Shirt Sponsors: 888 sport
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas
Home Kit: Royal Blue & White
Away Kit: Red and White

External View
External View
Spion Kop and Tilton Road End
Spion Kop and Tilton Road End
Gil Merrick and Main Stands
Gil Merrick and Main Stands
Main Stand and Tilton Road End
Main Stand and Tilton Road End
Gil Merrick Stand
Gil Merrick Stand

Approximately three quarters of the ground have been rebuilt since the mid 90's. One large two-tiered tiered stand, incorporating the Tilton Road End and Spion Kop, completely surrounds half the pitch and replaced a former huge terrace. The new Tilton Road End was opened for the start of the 1994-95 season, with the new Spion Kop following in 1995. At the back of the Spion Kop Stand, which runs along one side of the pitch, are a row of executive boxes, as well as a central seated executive area which also incorporates the Directors 'box'. The other newish stand, the recently renamed Gil Merrick Stand (previously known as the Railway End) was opened in February 1999. It is a large two tiered stand and unusual in having quite a small top tier, which overhangs the lower area. Again there is a row of executive boxes in this stand, housed at the back of the lower section. 

Only one 'old' stand, the former Main Stand, which was opened in 1952, now remains of the former St Andrews. This is a two tier stand running along one side of the pitch and has a row of executive boxes running across its middle. This stand is the smallest at the stadium and is looking particularly tired amongst its more modern neighbours. This stand which is now known as the Garrison Lane Stand also houses the press area, television gantry and has the team dugouts located in front of it. The team dressing rooms are situated within the Gil Merrick Stand, which results in the teams entering the field of play from one corner of the stadium between this stand and the Garrison Lane Stand. Also in this area is a large video screen that was erected at the start of the 2009/10 season.

Away supporters are housed on one side of the Gil Merrick Stand, which is at one end of the stadium in the lower tier. The normal allocation is 3,000 tickets, but this can be increased to around 4,500 for cup games (when the whole of the lower tier is allocated). There are Birmingham fans housed above the away supporters, as well as to the other side of the stand (fans are separated by plastic netting). The facilities and the view from this stand are pretty good. Pies are supplied by Peters Pies and include; Chicken Balti, Steak and Kidney plus Potato and Meat (all £2.80). Cornish pasties (£2.80), Cheese and Onion Pasties (£2.90), Burgers (£3.30) and Rollover Hot Dogs (£3.30) are also available. Alcohol in form of John Smith's Bitter or Fosters Lager is also served at £3.50 per pint, as well as Bottles of Cider (£3.50), Smirnoff Ice (£3.60) and Wine (£3.70).

John a visiting Burnley informs me; 'The beer inside the ground was drinkable and the Balti pies were delicious! On the downside, the seat I had been allocated was in Row 21 seat 002 which was right up against the wall. I've had more legroom on a package tour flight to the Canaries! What really annoyed me were a small section of the City fans who spent the entire game screaming abuse and gesturing to the away fans'. Jordan Cottrell a visiting Chelsea fan tells me; 'Away fans were searched by the stewards prior to entering the ground. I also noticed that any plastic bottles were being confiscated.' Alan Sexton a visiting West Ham supporter adds; 'The ground itself is three quarters of the way to being a top class stadium but desperately needs a new Main Stand. If this is built, joining with the Tilton Road and Railway Stands then St Andrews will be one of the best if not the best ground in the Midlands. Atmosphere wise it was the best ground I have visited all season for sheer volume before and during the game. As for the concourses they left little to be desired and were extremely crowded, the scrum to try and get a pie was not for the faint hearted'.

It is worth bearing mind though, that a certain section of Birmingham fans are particularly passionate about their club and this can make for an intimidating atmosphere for away supporters. I would advise as a precaution to keep your club colours covered around the ground or in the city centre.'

Most of the pubs near to the ground can be quite intimidating for away supporters and are not recommended. However there is the Cricketers Arms which does tolerate away fans in small numbers. Simon a visiting Chelsea fan confirms; 'On our last visit to St Andrews, we managed to find a friendly pub within proximity of the ground. The pub is called The Cricketers Arms and is about 10 minutes walk, maybe less. To find the pub (with your back to the away section) walk along the road ahead of you going away from the ground (not the road going right up by the stadium, but the road going towards Morrisons). Walk through Morrisons car park heading towards the store then join the road next to it, which is called Green Lane. The pub is 30 seconds from there on the left. The pub itself is shared between home and away fans but all the Birmingham fans were very friendly. The pub is small but you can drink outside where there are beer tables'.

It is best to drink in the city centre and get a taxi to the ground (about £6). If you are walking to the ground from the city centre, then  you may care to stop at the Anchor Pub on Bradford Street, renowned for its range of real ales on offer, and named Birmingham 'CAMRA Pub Of The Year' on more than one occasion. Although there are a number of Blues fans that frequent the pub they tend to be of the CAMRA bearded variety and therefore as long as you don't turn up mobbed handed, you should be okay. The pub is situated just behind Birmingham Coach Station. Otherwise alcohol is served within the stadium. 

If you coming by train, or decide to drink in the city centre beforehand, then if you like your real ale, then you can't do much better than visit the Wellington Pub on Bennetts Hill. With 16 real ales on tap, including 12 guest ales, this is somewhat of a mecca for real ale drinkers. In 2008 alone, the pub served over 2,000 different beers! To find this pub, then assuming that you are coming into New Street Station by train, then as you come onto the passenger concourse at the station, so straight up the escalators in front of you. At the top of the escalators turn left and then proceed towards the 'Foot Locker' outlet. Turn left at this store and then right and proceed down the ramp past McDonalds. At the bottom of the ramp turn left into New Street and walk along the pedestrian area. Bennetts Hill is the fourth turning on the right (there is a Barclays Bank is on the corner). The Wellington pub is about two thirds of the way up Bennetts Hill on the right hand side. There is also a handy Wetherspoons outlet called the Briar Rose on Bennetts Hill as well, plus the 'Sun On The Hill' pub, which also shows televised sports. The Wellington does not provide food, but has no objections to you bringing in your own. There are a couple of taxi ranks nearby that you can use if you wish to get you to the St Andrews ground. You can get more info on the Wellington pub website, including a live 'beer board' showing which ales they are currently serving. Just outside the main entrance to Birmingham New Street Station, is the Shakespeare pub, which is also popular with visiting supporters (normally under the watchful eye of the local Constabulary).

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Leave the M6 at Junction 6 and take the A38(M) (known locally as the Aston Expressway) for Birmingham City Centre. Continue past the first turn off (Aston, Waterlinks) and then take the next turn off, for the Inner Ring Road.

Turn left at the island at the top of the slip road and take the Ring Road East, sign posted Coventry/Stratford. Continue along the ring road for two miles, crossing straight across three islands. At the fourth island (there is a large McDonalds on the far left hand corner) turn left into Coventry Road going towards Small Heath. Birmingham City's ground is about a 1/4 of a mile up this road on your left. The ground is well sign posted on the Inner Ring Road.

There is a small car park directly outside the entrance to the away end, but availability of space for cars is determined by how many away coaches are expected as they park in the same car park, which may mean for certain games that there is no space available for cars at all. There is though plenty of street parking off the left hand side of the ring road. Either around the small park at the third island you cross or along the road next to and behind the BP garage before the fourth island. Bear in mind that if you arrive after 1.30pm these areas are likely to be already full. There are some local schools and firms that offer parking facilities for around £5.'

Post Code for SAT NAV: B9 4RL

The nearest station is Bordesley, which is about a ten minute walk away from the ground, but is only served by trains from Birmingham Snow Hill and Birmingham Moor Street. Normally scheduled trains do not stop at Bordesley, so they don't show up on national timetables searches. Please download the local timetable from the London Midland website for details.  

If you arrive at New Street Station in the city centre, either walk to Moor Street station (ten minutes) take a taxi (about £8) or embark on the 25-30 minute walk to the ground, some of which is uphill.

Birmingham New Street Station has recently undergone some major refurbishment, so if you have not been for a while it will seem quite different, but for the better! As you come up off the platforms onto the main concourse follow the overhead signs towards Moor Street and Bullring. After passing through some glass doors you will come out onto the street and you will see a large Debenhams Store in front of you. Cross over the street towards Debenhams and then turn right. Go down to the end of the block and and on the left you will see a doorway with a sign pointing downwards towards Bull Ring Markets. Enter the door way and go down the stairs. At the bottom turn left and proceed along the street with Denbenhams now on your left. Pass the markets on your right and then St Martins Church on your left.  As you pass the Church you will reach the end of the pedestrianised area where you turn right into Moat Lane. Go down Moat Lane following it around to the left, passing a Chinese supermarket on your right. At the next traffic lights turn right onto Digbeth High Street (busy dual carriageway). Passing Birmingham Coach Station on your right, use the pedestrian crossing to cross over to the other side of the carriageway. Continue up the High Street Passing the Old Crown pub on your left (Birminghams oldest building and normally okay for away fans in small numbers). You will then reach a fork in the road where you want to bear left passing underneath a railway bridge. Continue straight down this road, crossing a large roundabout (with a McDonalds over on one corner). Be extra careful crossing this road as the vehicles do go at some speed. The entrance to the away section is further up the road on your left.

Otherwise you can take the following buses from the city centre; No: 58, 60, 97 & 97A. However the 97 & 97A drop off on Garrison Lane (near to Tilton Road) which is on the other side of the stadium to the away entrance. These can be caught near to Moor Street Railway Station on Queensway. Look for bus stops ME (58 & 60) and MF (97 & 97A) on this map on the Network West Midlands website (PDF file). Alternatively they can also be caught outside Birmingham Coach Station. 

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Birmingham Coach Station is located just over a mile away from St Andrews and is about a 20 minute walk away. As you come out of the main entrance, turn right and proceed along Digbeth High Street. At the traffic lights cross over onto the other side and continue along Digbeth High Street. You will pass the Old Crown pub on your left and then the handily located Deritend Fish & Chip shop. At the top of the road, the road forks into two. Take the left hand fork onto Coventry Road. Pass underneath a railway bridge (where Bordesley Station is located) and past the Clements Arms (not recommended for away fans) on your left. Just continue straight down this road, crossing a large roundabout (with a McDonalds over on one corner). The entrance to the away section is further up the road on your left.

Like a number of Clubs, Birmingham City operate a match category policy (A, B C & D) whereby the ticket prices cost more for the most popular games.   

Home Fans*
Spion Kop Club Class: Adults £40 (B £35) (C £30) (D £25), Concessions £30 (B £25) (C £20) (D £15)
Spion Kop: Adults £32 (B £28) (C £25) (D £20), Senior Citizens/Students £20 (B £20) (C £20) (D £14), Under 18's £15 (B £15) (C £15) (D £7), Under 13's £10 (B £10) (C £10) (D £5)
Main Stand (Upper Centre): Adults £32 (B £28) (C £25) (D £20), Senior Citizens/Students £20 (B £20) (C £20) (D £14), Under 18's £15 (B £15) (C £15) (D £7), Under 13's £10 (B £10) (C £10) (D £5)
Spion Kop Corner: Adults £30 (B £27) (C £25) (D £18), Senior Citizens/Students £18 (B £16) (C £15) (D £12), Under 18's £13 (B £11) (C £10) (D £7), Under 13's £7 (B £7) (C £5) (D £5)
Main Stand (Upper Wings): Adults £30 (B £27) (C £25) (D £18), Senior Citizens/Students £18 (B £16) (C £15) (D £12), Under 18's £13 (B £11) (C £10) (D £7), Under 13's £7 (B £7) (C £5) (D £5)
Tilton Road Stand: Adults £30 (B £27) (C £20) (D £18), Senior Citizens/Students £18 (B £16) (C £15) (D £12), Under 18's £13 (B £11) (C £10) (D £7), Under 13's £7 (B £7) (C £5) (D £5)
Gil Merrick Stand (Lower): Adults £30 (B £27) (C £23) (D £18), Senior Citizens/Students £18 (B £16) (C £14) (D £12), Under 18's £13 (B £11) (C £9) (D £7), Under 13's £7 (B £7) (C £5) (D £5)
Family Area (Lower Gil Merrick): Adults £27 (£B 24), (C £20) (D £16), Senior Citizens/Students £16 (B £14) (C £12) (D £10), Under 16's £13 (B £11) (C £9) (D £7), Under 12's £11 (£6), Under 8's £5 (all categories)
Family Area (Main Stand Paddocks): Adults £27 (£B 24), (C £15) (D £16), Senior Citizens/Students £16 (B £14) (C £10) (D £10), Under 16's £13 (B £11) (C £10) (D £7), Under 13's £5 (all categories)

Away Fans

Gil Merrick Stand Lower Tier: Adults £30 (B £27) (C £20) (D £18) Senior Citizens/Students £18 (B £16) (C £15) (D £12) Under 18's £13 (B £11) (C £10) (D £7) Under 13's £7 (B £7) (C £5) (D £5)

* Please note that fans who become Club Members can gain a discount on these ticket prices.

Official Programme £3
Made In Brum Fanzine £1.50

Birmingham City fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).

Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion & Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the 
Level Playing Field website.

Record Attendance

66,844 v Everton FA Cup 5th Round, February 11th, 1939.

Modern All Seated Attendance Record: 29,958 v Chelsea Premier League, December 26th, 2009.

Average Attendance
2015-2016: 17,603 (Championship League)
2014-2015: 16,111 (Championship League)
2013-2014: 15,458 (Championship League)

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at and I'll update the guide.

Birmingham City v Norwich City
Football Championship League
Saturday 27th August 2016, 3pm
William Horwood (Norwich City fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the St Andrews ground?

This was my third trip to St Andrews, but my first for ten years, so I was looking forward to going back. It was early in the season and we were unbeaten, so optimism was running high before the match.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I travelled by train from London with my brother. I had been before and used to live in Birmingham, so I knew my way to the ground. It is clearly visible from the centre of Birmingham and therefore quite easy to find.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

We headed to the White Swan pub in Digbeth pre-match. This was mostly populated by home fans in colours, but there was no bother as neither of us were wearing colours (I'm not sure I'd go to this particular pub in away colours, but that' s based on the fact that it looked like a home pub rather than any "atmosphere" - the bar staff and punters were friendly enough).

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of St Andrews?

The small old main stand along one side continues to survive (I understand that listed buildings behind it prevent it from being extended), but St Andrews on the whole is a good ground.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

It's possible to generate a pretty good atmosphere from the away end. The stewarding was hands-off and they had no problem with us standing for the whole match. My only complaint is the fact that we had to queue for the whole of half-time to try and buy a pie and a pint, but even after 15 minutes we hadn't got to the front of the queue so we gave up. The game was awful from our perspective - we carried very little threat up front and Birmingham eased to a 3-0 win courtesy of some accommodating defending on our part.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

No problem getting away, although our train home only had two carriages and so was jam-packed.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A good day out, shame about the performance and result.

Birmingham City v Oxford United
Football League Cup First Round
Tuesday 9th August 2016, 7.45pm
Chris Carpenter (Oxford United fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the St Andrews Ground?

I was really looking forward to the game my first game of the season, a new ground and the league cup has been a good competition for Oxford over the years.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

As it was a midweek game and everyone had work the easiest way for us to get there was driving. it's a easy ride from Oxford directly up the M40 and with the help of Google maps a traffic free route round the back streets of Brum right to the ground. We found a car park just up from the ground on Cattell Road at some random church, cost a fiver.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

Thought we might struggle to find a local pub but we found a decent proper back street local, called the Cricketers. Said home fans only on the front door but there was a good mix of home and away fans and served a good pint with no trouble. From there was a easy walk across Morrison's car park to the ground.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the St Andrews Ground?

I was quite impressed with the ground looks modern but not really having the cheap warehouse look of a lot of newer grounds. The away end was easily found and with a proper search by the stewards we were in. Inside there was plenty of room with a big wide concourse.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Even though it was August it was a rather chilly evening. My shirt and shorts wasn't the best idea! From the beginning you could tell goals would hard to come by and it was going to go all the way. In the end Oxford scored the winner in the 120th minute. I enjoyed a chicken balti pie which was okay, quite hot with the pasty on the bottom bit soggy. Have to say they served a decent pint too.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

As it wasn't the biggest crowd got away easy with very little traffic with a stop at MacDonald made it home in an hour and a bit still a late night.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was another very enjoyable evening in the League Cup with a brilliant result at the end of it. I would definitely recommend a visit to St Andrews to anyone.

Birmingham City v Middlesbrough
Football Championship League
Friday 29th April 2016, 7.45pm
Matt Sandford (Middlesbrough fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the St Andrews Ground?

I was looking forward to the game as the Boro could have all but confirmed promotion with a win, added to the fact Birmingham had allocated almost 5,000 which of course we snapped up!

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Got the train down with the lads, journey was long but we had a good sing song and more importantly a good drink! We got the number 17 bus which is about ten minutes walk from New Street Station and takes you right outside the away end. Birmingham is a huge busy vibrant city.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

We went to a Wetherspoons pub called the Square Peg in the City Centre which welcome away fans and is five minutes from the Station, expensive but worth the money for the modern pub.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of St Andrews?

St Andrews looks nice from the outside. Entering through a gate surrounded by angry looking Brummies isn't great but nothing kicked off and they all turned out to be fine. I got the usual search and entered the turnstile, the concourse was dull but very spacious considering how many of us there were. The away end view is very good and the ground is pretty good, let down by a small Main Stand to the left of us but the other three stands worthy of a lower Premier League club.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game itself was a cracker for the neutral, disappointing if you're a Boro fan like me. It ended 2-2 after a cracker by Brum and then a howler from their keeper to let us pull it back to 1-1, we went 2-1 up midway through the second half, they scored another cracker to make it 2-2 an we scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled out for offside but the less said about that the better. The atmosphere was pretty good. I'd heard about a new fan group starting for atmosphere by the Birmingham fans, I struggled to see where it was at first but I realised there was only one block standing opposite us and figured that was it. They were visually impressive, jumping and bouncing, unfortunately I couldn't hear them being so far away. Other than that the home fans were very average, a group of about 40 in the corner to our right hounded us the whole game, and we exchanged some funny banter with them (wasn't so funny when they scored and we had a goal ruled out for offside but hey that's football). Our away fans were very loud in patches, but being such an important game we were all engrossed in the footballing entertainment for large parts, but overall we outsang the home fans (as we always do). Stewards were friendly, pies were expensive but nice and the facilities were good (can't comment on leg room or seats as I never actually sat down).

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I stayed in a hotel in Birmingham, which we caught the bus too, traffic was slow and we had a laugh with a few Birmingham fans on the way.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Great day and night out, would love to do it again but hopefully not for a while unless they get promoted, because we are Premier League!

Birmingham City v Sheffield Wednesday
Football Championship League
Saturday 6th February 2016, 3pm
James Wilkinson (Sheffield Wednesday fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the St Andrews Ground?    

I had never visited St Andrews before, so I was excited to be visiting a new ground. Plus Wednesday were on a good run of form and were sitting in a play off place, with Birmingham just outside the play offs, so it was going to be an interesting game. 

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We travelled by car from Sheffield. The journey took around two hours and the ground was easy to find, off the M6 then A38(M). Although at one point I misheard the SatNav and ended going in towards the city centre, but the SatNav quickly re-directed us back. Traffic was quite heavy going into Birmingham, but with Aston Villa also playing at home, that wouldn't have helped. There was an open air private car park right next to the entrance to the away end, on Coventry Road and we parked in there. It cost £5.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

After reading on this website, that there is little around the ground for away fans to get a drink, we decided instead to head for McDonalds, just down from the ground for something to eat. As you would expect on a matchday it was very busy. There were Birmingham and Wednesday fans in there, but there were no problems.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of St Andrews?  

St Andrews is a nice ground, plenty of room at the entrance for large crowds and equally on the concourses. Wednesday had a good following at this game and the facilities were ample. 

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

From a Wednesday fans point of view it was fantastic. After going a goal down just before half time and losing two players through injury, then to come back with two goals in three minutes to win the game, was brilliant. The atmosphere in the away end after our two goals was superb. The home crowd seemed rather subdued and I didn't find them as intimidating as I thought they might be. 

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Both sets of fans mingled outside the away end entrance/exit, but there were plenty of Police on hand and there was no trouble. We had to wait in the car park for 10-15 minutes to allow the crowds to disperse and the away coaches to exit, before making our way back to the motorway. 

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Very enjoyable first trip to Birmingham and a great result. I would visit again. 

Birmingham City v Reading
Championship League
Saturday 8th August 2015, 3pm
James Baxter (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting St Andrews?

I was looking forward to it because I only spend 3 or 4 weeks in England every year and these are in summer. If they overlap with the start of the football season, I’m delighted. Blues v Reading was perhaps one of the more low-key opening-day fixtures in the Championship League, but, with two new(ish) managers looking to improve their teams’ prospects, it didn’t lack interest. Also, there was a definite sense of Blues fans beginning to feel at one with their club again – a factor that can turn St Andrews into one of England’s most atmospheric grounds.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    

It was easy because we were staying in Shropshire, not far from Stafford. From Stafford Ralway Station there are frequent trains to Birmingham New Street, taking only 35 minutes or so. St Andrews is walkable from New Street (there’s a good view of it from the nearby Bull Ring, which gives an idea of the distance), but it’s a tedious, deceptively uphill slog through the unappealing districts of Digbeth and Bordesley. I’d recommend taking the bus there (58 and 60, among others, will get you there in less than 10 minutes) and walking back.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

We went to the very gentile Edwardian tea-rooms in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It’s a good option if you’re not intending to drink alcohol or are with the family. There were a few Blues fans in there as well. As for pubs, I’d stick with those in the centre. The ones on the way from the centre to the ground don’t look like viable options for away fans. The Royal George, near the Tilton Road End turnstiles, was packed with Blues fans, and might be fun for neutrals, but I don’t think I’d venture in there in away colours.

The Edwardian Tea Rooms

Edwardian Tea Rooms Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

What you thought on seeing St Andrews, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?  

The approach to St Andrews from the city-centre is uphill – you’re still going up as you walk alongside the Kop Stand. This means that the far end – the Tilton Road End - is built into the hill, with its turnstiles almost at roof-level. Overall, the ground doesn’t overwhelm from outside, but there are nice touches, like the blue-painted fences and gateways around the Kop car-park. They’ve even planted a couple of hedges and shrubs – a rare rural touch in this most inner-city of places. Inside, the three modern stands offer first-rate facilities. The older Main Stand does look out of place, but I don’t mind one reminder of St Andrews as it was when I first starting watching football.

Spion Kop Car Park

Spion Kop Car Park

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    

It was an exciting game, with Reading dominating until the 40th minute and from the 55th. Crucially, Blues scored in the 41st and 47th minutes and, despite conceding in the 58th managed to hold Reading off. The visitors might have been awarded an equaliser following a shot that hit the underside of the bar and may well have bounced down over the line, and missed a penalty in the last seconds of injury-time. The atmosphere was decent. Blues fans have a couple of cracking anthems and didn’t resort to ‘S**t on the Villa’ as much as I’d feared. The stewards were very good – at least in the Kop Stand.

Tilton Road Stand

Tilton Road Stand

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

There was a discreet police escort for Reading fans walking back to the city-centre. The home-fans were in good humour following their team’s late let-off. The police are helpful on the walk back, as they stop traffic at crossing-points etc.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a fine day out. A city with plenty to do, ‘proper’ ground, ‘proper’ fans, and a good game too!

Birmingham City v Leicester City
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 1st August 2015, 3pm
Joe (Neutral supporter)

Why you were looking forward to going to St Andrews?

I was looking forward to going to St Andrews because I enjoy visiting different football stadiums. I knew St Andrews was a historical ground and had been reading about the history of it and therefore heard that in recent years the stadium had undergone some major redevelopment so I was interested in how St Andrews had been rebuilt. I had also heard that St Andrews is a good ground to go and watch a local derby, so therefore I was looking forward to see how Birmingham City fans were with the Leicester City fans. 

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    

I got the train from Coventry Station to Birmingham New Street and this was quick and efficient for me. From New Street I spent around 25-30 minutes walking up to St Andrews. The stadium was well sign posted and was easy to find. 

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

There was a Morrisons Supermarket just outside of the stadium in a small retail park, so I went into Morrisons and purchased a drink and a snack. There was also a cash back option available when paying by debit card which was convenient as I did not have any cash on me to purchase my ticket and I was in desperate need of finding a cash point. I then walked to the ground and queued up to pay on the turnstile. The stewards were very friendly and welcomed us into the ground. They did search my bag however and then I made my way into the ground. I sat in the Kop Stand alongside the Birmingham City fans.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?    

Walking up to the stadium I was impressed with the size of each of the stands. There were catering facilities outside of the ground as well as inside and the food did look absolutely delicious. The first thing that I noticed however when walking up to the stadium was the large number of Leicester City fans who had made the trip to St Andrews. All of the stands were fairly full considering it was only a pre-season friendly and I was very happy with how close we were to the pitch. Being a Coventry City fan I am used to a large track around the outside of the pitch and therefore being further away from the action. However this was not a problem at St Andrews and I did rather enjoy the Stadium and the build up to the game.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    

The game was fantastic. Both teams started brightly with some good football and lots of energy to both teams attacks. There was a lot of chanting between the two sets of fans which just made the atmosphere even better. Birmingham took the lead through a fantastic David Cotterill free kick which went in off the crossbar. Shortly after, young English winger Demarai Gray made a run down the left wing and then cut inside the box to curl the ball into the far top corner which was an a phenomenal goal. Birmingham lead 2-0 at half term however we knew this wouldn't be the end of it. Early in the second half German defender Robert Huth tapped in at the far post, to pull one back for Leicester. Shortly after a Mahrez free kick came off the post and the Foxes reacted first and midfielder Danny Drinkwater tapped in a rebound which goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was unlucky not to save. Now Leicester seemed to have control over their Championship opposition. The visitors completed their second half turn around when Okazaki headed in unmarked at the near post. 3-2 to Leicester City. Criticisms I did have of the the ground was that the seat was fairly uncomfortable as the plastic was very thin and also there was very little leg room. However I am fairly tall.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I left the ground after the whistle and had no problems getting away. I got back to Birmingham New Street Station after around 20 minutes walking due to the fact I knew the route this time around.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall I did thoroughly enjoy the day at St Andrews and I will be returning in the near future once again and hopefully it will be a rivalry between Birmingham and Coventry this time! St Andrews is a fantastic venue for watching football and I would definitely recommend visiting the Stadium as it is one of my favourite stadiums now I have visited.

Birmingham City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Championship League
Saturday 11th April 2015, 3pm
Aimee Henry (Wolves fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to St Andrews?
It would be my first trip to St. Andrews, it’s a ground with a reputation of being unwelcoming, shall we say, towards visiting fans. Especially, in our case, if you happen to be a rival of the Blues. My dad has some really horror stories about previous visits, including having a sink basin thrown at him. “They’d nicked the taps though”, he tells me. Aside from being a derby, Wolves had gatecrashed the top places in the League on Bank Holiday Monday with an extraordinary 4-3 win over Leeds at Molineux, and the game offered a chance to add weight to our claims of being a Play-Off candidate. 

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
Purely for safety reasons, we decided to use the club’s official travel. I’d suggest that’s the best way to get in and out of St. Andrews, as there is a coach park right outside the away end, so you shouldn’t really have to venture amongst the home fans. We had a police escort in, and aside from a few home fans making gestures (I think they were holding up fingers to indicate their IQ), it was a trouble free journey. 

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
We went straight into the ground, so didn’t really have any interaction with the Blues fans. They were serving fairly priced booze inside the ground, as well as some lovely Balti Pies! 

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?
On the exterior, St Andrews looks good, all four stands are different. The away end is nice, and separate from the other stands. Our seats were right in the corner, which meant we were next to the tunnel where the Wolves players came in and out to warm up. 

The Home End

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
Like many local derbies, there was real tension in the game, and that filtered down to the players. Both Blues and Wolves really struggled to get the ball down and play, the early stages were punctuated by weak long range efforts, mistimed passes and niggly fouls. Wolves did take the lead after about 20 minutes though. Nouha Dicko showed great persistence down the right, holding off at least three challenges, before sliding the ball across the penalty area. If you asked all of the 4,000 travelling fans who they’d want that ball to fall to, they’d all say Benik Afobe, the January signing who looks an asbolute steal at £2m. Indeed it was Afobe who latched onto Dicko’s pass, and calmly gave the away side the lead.

Sadly the lead didn’t last long. A Birmingham corner caused a scramble in the 6-yard box, and despite both Richard Stearman and Kev McDonald clearing efforts off the line, eventually Blues’ Rob Kiernan was able to bundle the ball over the line to equalise. The first half continued to be scrappy, James Henry’s long range effort the closest Wolves came to regaining the lead, whilst at the other end, Carl Ikeme twice had to get down well to make saves to deny David Cotterill. 
Blues grabbed the lead not long into the second half. A Wolves corner was cleared to Demarai Gray, Blues’ tricky, pacy winger. He broke downfield, but seemed to lose the ball to Scott Golbourne. However, Golbourne inexplicably tried to play the ball back inside, and Gray took it off his toes, before racing through to beat Ikeme. It was a horrible goal to concede, not only because 30 seconds previous we had an attacking position of our own, but because Golbourne is such a reliable player. 

I was expecting an onslaught from Wolves, as a defeat would be really damaging to our Play-Off hopes. However, it never really came. Bakary Sako danced past Paul Caddis on several occasions, but his final ball was poor, and right at the death, McDonald’s effort was wayward, having been set up superbly by marauding full back Dominic Iorfa. The Final whistle sounded to cheers from the home stands, and a general groan of disappointment from the travelling Wolves fans. 

Main Stand

The atmosphere seemed a little flat to me. Despite it being a local derby, there were plenty of empty seats in all three Birmingham stands, and the expected animosity seemed half-hearted. The stewards did their job effectively, although they kept congregating at the front of the stand, as though something was about to happen. It didn’t look like it was to me. 

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
The concourse was pretty crowded, as everyone wanted to leave at the same time. It meant the inevitable shuffle to the exit, which meant there was time for someone from the staircase above to drop a pint of beer over me. For us it was a case of straight back onto the coach. We were kept in the coach park for a while, so many of the home supporters had left by the time we drove out into Birmingham. Sadly, for the fans who decided to walk back into the City centre, there are reports of trouble involving both sets of supporters. I’m not going to comment on what did/didn’t happen, as I wasn’t involved, but it’s sad to hear of violence at football. 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
A disappointing defeat, coupled with a pretty poor performance. It undid a lot of the hard work of recent games, as we found out after the final whistle that we had inevitably dropped out of the top six. St. Andrews is a decent ground, but the problems the club has had recently seems to have crept into the stands, as the atmosphere didn’t quite live up to the reputation. Obviously the trouble which flared up after the game was unnecessary and a pretty poor show from both sides, but sadly it seemed inevitable, going on recent years.

Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion
FA Cup 4th Round
Saturday, January 24th, 2015, 3pm
Lee Jones (West Brom fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground?

A local derby in the FA Cup is always exciting but the general demand for tickets from Baggies fans for this cup tie, had been overwhelming. We sold our initial allocation in a few hours and were then given extra to take the total allocation up to 5,500. The extra tickets went in hours too. Those of us with tickets were certainly looking forward to the game.

2. How easy were your journey/ finding the ground/ car parking?

As it was a local game, the train was the obvious choice. It is about a 25 minute walk from the City centre to the stadium, so it’s quite important to allow enough time. It is easy to find the stadium, though I have been many times. Car parking is not easy to find but one of the lads did drive over and parked at the Ibis Hotel for about £7.

3. What you did before the game pub/ chippy... home fans friendly?

For us it was inevitable that we would have a pre-match beer or three in the City centre. Though Blues and Baggies had no great history of trouble we were obviously in their town and bore that in mind. We chose the Old Contemptibles near Snow Hill station. As it turned out, there were mainly Baggies in there but the Blues fans were more than happy to join in the singing about our friends from Aston. We had an enjoyable couple of hours in there before heading off and got on very well with all the Bluenoses.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

St Andrews has improved over the years and is a pretty impressive stadium. It is at the top of a hill so you can see it above you as you walk up the road to it. The access is easy, through the away coach park, though as we had both sides of the Gil Merrick lower stand, some Baggies had to walk to the other side. The area below the stand is quite large but the pie and beer stands were very busy and the queues were too long to bother with. Getting to our seat, we were immediately hit by how large our following was, with the whole visible area being given over to us. The Blues fans had turned out too though and the ground looks great when it’s full like that. Even the old Main Stand which is much smaller than the others appeared packed to the rafters.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The atmosphere was really good. The Blues were in full voice and so were we. The stewards were drafted in from Albion and so we had no problem with them. Everyone stood as usual and settled down to a cracking cup tie. I must say here, that full respect must go to the Birmingham City fans and Club. We have a tradition this season of applauding for one minute at the 9th minute in honour of our “King”, Jeff Astle who died from a football related illness. At the ninth minute, Birmingham City put a picture of Jeff on their scoreboard and the Blues fans to a man/woman joined in our applause. It was a very moving gesture from the Club and does Birmingham City great credit.

The game itself was very good and was just about shaded in the first half by us. We took a 1-0 lead through Anichebe who repeated the deed a little later. Blues scored right on half time to deservedly get back in the game. That goal had the effect of making us all a little nervous.

At Half time we didn’t try the catering simply because of the amount of us there, it would have been a long battle to get a pie and pint. The lads next to us, got back to their seat 10 minutes into the second half!

Blues proceeded to throw everything at us in the second half and on another day, would have got a replay. Their keeper made and excellent save from Lescott early on in the second half and we hit the post from a tight angle. Blues had a couple of long range shots but never got the goal they needed.

Final whistle signalled celebrations (and Boinging). Through to the next round. I really expected a slip up, so was very pleased.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Birmingham has been a place where in the past, getting out of the ground was a bit unpleasant. This is not really the case these days, and the relationship between the fans is quite good. To be fair, I heard a few Baggies say, if there wasn’t an Albion, they would follow Birmingham! It was a very enjoyable trek back into town and as we were walking, there were no traffic delays. The best way if possible is to go on the train. We headed back for a post-match celebratory beer and found ourselves accompanied by mainly other celebrating Baggies. The few Blues drinking with us were in pretty good spirits and were happy they had played so well. Even the fans on the train wished me all the best for the rest of the season and hope we stay up, to play them again in the League next year.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a much anticipated day for all the Baggies going and very much lived up to the billing. Got there and away easily and had a great time drinking with other supporters in the City before and after the game. The other lads stayed out longer into the night than me and had a great time.

Love local derbies, even better when we win and not quite the problems we have with some other local sides. It’s just a major pity that we have to play Villa (boo!) on a Tuesday night because Birmingham is a great place to play Saturday afternoon football.

Birmingham City v Middlesbrough
Championship League
Saturday, December 7th, 2013, 3pm
Alex Royal (Middlesbrough fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It was my first visit to St. Andrews, and it is a ground that has always been of interest to me.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I went with the club coaches from The Riverside which left just after 10am and got to St Andrews just before 1.30pm . One of the easier grounds to get to, not far off the M6.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Upon arrival at the ground, I went to the club shop, to buy my beanie hat, which is my way of saying; 'I've been to that ground', Purchased the 'Made in Brum' Fanzine and an official matchday programme, priced at £1.50 and £3 respectively.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

My first impressions of the ground was that it was a well maintained, friendly ground, although the old Main Stand somewhat drains the impression of a terrific stadium, the other three stands are relatively modern. The leg room and the view of the pitch in the Gil Merrick stand, where the away fans are housed, were excellent. 

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

In terms of positioning, Middlesbrough and Birmingham were 18th & 19th going in to this match, so it was, as one might say, an early season six-pointer. 

The stewards were helpful and amicable, and allowed us to sit where we wanted. The facilities on the concourse were good, and, unlike other away grounds I have been to, it was very spacious, with a good range of food and drink available, with a pint of beer costing £3.25 and chips costing £2. There wasn't much atmosphere from the home fans, apart from a group of lads in the Kop corner, with whom we exchanged banter.

Boro took the lead in the 24th minute after good work from Marvin Emnes down the left hand side, who teed up Muzzy Carayol to beat Darren Randolph. Half time Brummies 0-1 Boro. Shortly after half-time, Boro conceded a penalty, which Paul Caddis coverted. 1-1.

10 minutes to go, Daniel Ayala scored a somewhat scrappy goal after a Darren Randolph punch was headed back into the danger area by Lukas Jutkiewicz, 2-1 Boro.

Yet again,we conceded a late, late goal, but I felt Birmingham's overall second half performance merited an equaliser. 

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was very easy, 20 minutes and you're back on the motorway.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

One of the best away days I've done, would definitely return, although I would've liked to have seen more atmosphere from the home fans. 9/10


Birmingham City v Ipswich Town
Championship League
Saturday, August 31st, 2013, 3pm
Mark Lees (Ipswich Town fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It was my first visit to St Andrews and i was meeting a friend of mine who lives in Worcester who went to the game with me. Plus a have a few Birmingham supporting work mates so it added extra spice to the occasion.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I went with the club run coaches from Portman Road which left about 10am. Stopped at Corley services for half an hour and got to St Andrews just before 2pm. Fairly easy journey and have to say that Birmingham is one of the easiest places to get in and out from. Away fans have their own separate parking near to where the away entrance is.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Met my friend who was waiting just by the gate to the away car park and went for a pint at the nearby Cricketers Arms which was about 5 minutes away from the ground which accepts away fans and the Birmingham fans that were there were quite friendly. It was a hot day and wasps were out in force so after dodging a few, we made our way to the ground.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

St Andrews is very nicely presented from the outside. Had a nice diagonal view of the pitch as i was in Block 1, Row 32 of the Gill Merrick stand.  It is a very nice stadium but the old looking main stand to the left really lets it down a bit.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Ipswich were the better team by far in a game where both teams went into it with similar starts to the season. Christophe Berra put us ahead just past the half hour with a close header from an Aaron Cresswell cross and had plenty of other chances to go further ahead. Their keeper Darren Randolph was the only one who really kept them in the game but our inability to see off opponents when we have the chance cost us when they equalised with 15 minutes to go from a deflected shot by Chris Burke who has become a bit of a thorn in our side in recent games.

The atmosphere was mainly created from our brilliant away support with the only noise from the home end coming from a few lads at the back of the stand to the right of us. Had a bit of funny banter with them. Rest of the ground was very quiet until they scored. Facilities were very good and spacious.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was very easy and as i said above, Birmingham is quite easy to get away from compared to other places i have been to as it was when i went to Villa earlier in the year for the FA Cup. Got back to Portman Road about 8.15pm.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I had a great time and will definitely make it a yearly thing from now on because of my friend.

Birmingham City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Championship League
Monday, April 1st, 2013, 3pm
Jack Stanley (Wolves fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It was a West Midlands derby, and we were on a decent run of form leading up to the game having won three out of the last four in what had been a disastrous season for the club.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I live in Worcester which is about a 30 minute drive from Birmingham, so I decided to drive rather than mess about with the trains for once. Of course the only negative of this being that I could only have one drink but that didn't matter too much. We left at about 1:15pm and got to our parking spot in an estate in Small Heath at around five to two. The estate was only a 10 min walk to the ground thankfully.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Well we arrived at the ground at about 2:15ish and went straight through the away gate and into the away stand. The Chelsea-Man Utd FA cup game was on the TV's inside the stand and while we were watching that, I grabbed a cheese burger which didn't cost too much along with a pint of Carling. I didn't witness any trouble before the game, although to be fair we were only given around 1,650 tickets for the game after the police reduced it. Also trains weren't running from Wolverhampton to Birmingham so most supporters would have drove or used the supporters' coaches.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

I've been to St. Andrews before a few times and it's actually bigger than you think. It holds 30,009 and when looking at it on TV it looks smaller than that. Three of the stands are nice inside the ground, however the Main Stand on one side of the pitch is old and tatty, and looks quite small despite it being two tiered, they could do with redeveloping this. The away end is situated in the Gil Merrick stand (behind one of the goals) in the lower tier. We were given about half of the lower tier, and there were a few Blues fans on the other side of the divider, as well as a couple above us in the smaller upper tier.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

It had been a disastrous season for us, and we were in real threat of a second successive relegation even though our form had lifted recently, winning three out of the last four games. Blues had also experienced a difficult campaign, although their form had risen miraculously since the end of February and they were no longer hovering dangerously above the relegation zone, instead that was now us. So therefore I was expecting a really tough game and if I'm being honest, I thought we'd lose. First 10 mins they were all over us and we looked nervy. But we managed to settle into the game, and unexpectedly stormed into a 0-3 lead at half-time. The funny thing about being a Wolves fan, is that even though we were 3-0 up at half time, the game still felt far from over. Blues were awarded a pen early in the second half and I was thinking 'here we go'. Blues did have a few good chances throughout the second half, but we looked to have weathered the storm and hold on for the win. But in the 95th minute, they were awarded another pen which they scored to make it 2-3. Just a minute later they were awarded a free-kick just outside the corner of the box in a very dangerous position, and I thought that they were going to score. Thankfully we managed to clear it and the whistle went. What a great win it was.

As always, the atmosphere from our fans was excellent even though there was only 1,623 of us. There wasn't a lot of noise coming from the home end surprise surprise, although they did sing a couple of songs after they made it 1-3 and lifted their noise.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

We left the stand and walked out of the away gate onto Cattell Road, where hundreds of Blues fans were walking past. We managed to keep our heads down and walk through the crowd and back to the car. I'm surprised the police didn't keep us in the ground afterwards or blocked off the away gate outside the ground to stop us walking onto Cattell Road.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A very good day out and a very good result for us. Also love winning a local derby!  

Birmingham City v Bristol City
Championship League
Tuesday November 6th, 2012, 7.45pm
Joe White (Bristol City fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

First visit to St Andrews, and one of the relatively bigger grounds I would have gone to over the years so I was looking forward to it. I was hoping that there might have been some banter with home fans and that they would have good support; have heard differing views to this effect. 

We were 2nd from bottom at the time having lost our last 5 matches on the bounce and Birmingham were only a few places above us having not won at home in the last 5 attempts. Our terrible run had to end sometime and was hoping it would be tonight. Looking at pictures of the ground before the game I liked the look of the old Main Stand and the Gil Merrick Stand that we would be stood in, but the other two stands are rather like half of a bowl of a stadium (which I really don't like).

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Only traffic encountered was coming out of Bristol at 5pm, found the ground fine thanks to the satnav. Did seem weird that there were no signs for the ground until the very last minute (when you could see the ground close by anyway) so good luck to anyone hoping to rock up by car in Birmingham and then relying on signs to direct you to the ground. We parked for free on a nearby residential street which was good. At Ashton Gate arriving at as close to kick off as we did we'd have to parked A LOT further away even with smaller attendances.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Didn't get to around the ground till about half 7 so only had time to park up and queue to pay at get in. We'd sold about 400 before the game but most seemed to be paying on the day and there was a large queue for this. Only two ticket booths were open and quite a few fans would have missed the start of the game. We got in right on kick off which is the time I like to get in to avoid having pop music blasted through the tannoys when trying to sing.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Away end was steep so had a good view of the game. As mentioned earlier half the ground is a bowl shape although I did quite like the home end. The Main Stand looked proper old school which I thought added character to the ground. I think we were in the most interesting stand however with a small top tier that overhangs a larger bottom tier.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Less talked about the game the better. We lost 2-0 and never looked like scoring. They even had a penalty saved. I'd guess about half our support stood at the back and sung throughout the 90 mins. Birmingham seemed to have a group of 200 in their home end behind the goal who stood throughout and sung the odd song, think I only heard them once though. 

To our right there was a group of about 40 who started singing in the 2nd half once they were winning, couldn't hear them too well cause we were singing but could see they were making an effort. I did not see stewards making any attempt to get fans to sit down or stop doing this or that as they can do which is refreshing to see. There were quite a few police at the game, a couple stood next to the turnstiles on the way in, very friendly having a laugh and chat with queuing city fans (hopefully the West Midlands Police of old have finally changed for the better).

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Did not come across any trouble when leaving the ground, didn't wear colours so nobody said anything. Hit a bit of traffic coming out of the ground but nothing like Ashton Gate.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Decent ground, terrible result, home fans were poor but stewards allowing fans to stand and get on with it made it as an enjoyable experience as it could have been.

Birmingham City v Charlton Athletic
Championship League
Saturday August 18th, 2012, 3pm
James Butler (Charlton Athletic fan)

Having won league one last season at something of a canter I was looking forward to the new season back in the Championship with great anticipation. When the fixtures came out in June an opening day trip to Birmingham was too much to resist. I had never been to Birmingham, but Del Boy my companion had done the trip several times, although not since the dark days of the early eighties.

As usual we decided to go by coach, using excellent away day service organised by the club. Superb coaches which pick up at convenient points around the area from which Charlton draw their support. A 10am depart from Bexleyheath in South East London seemed very civilised. All went well until we reached the Newport Pagnell area of the M1. After crawling in a tail back caused by an accident for one hour, we stopped completely for another 30 minutes, were upon Addicks fans appeared from everywhere for an early season reunion on the M1 motorway. The traffic then crawled for another half an hour before we got going again, only for the coach driver to declare that he had to do his regulation 30min break at Watford Gap! As you can imagine this did not go down well. Still some light traffic on the M6 around Birmingham, a first, and some slick coach driving in town saw us arrived at St Andrews with 15 mins to spare.

Arriving so close to kick off we went straight in to ground without really taking in our surroundings or encountering any of the natives. The concourses behind the Gil Merrick stand, our position for the afternoon seemed very dark and cramped, but we were keen to get straight to our seats as the Charlton fans were already getting the atmosphere going.

The view from our seats was uninterrupted and from near the back of the stand more than adequate. I suspect that if we had intended to sit, which we did not, the leg room may have been little tight. The rest of the stadium was a pleasing mix of old and new. The home end and one side been of the new and rather identikit variety and the Main Stand a real throw back to days gone by. I would liked to have had a better view of the stand we were in as it seemed to be the most interesting.

The game itself was entertaining with both sides having their chances without overworking either keeper. Charlton certainly did not seem daunted by the step up in class and gave as good as they got against a team who reached the play offs last year and are tipped to do well this time around. However what surprised me the most was the almost library hush coming from the home end. Okay the Charlton faithful were right up for it, even more so than away contingents usually are the length and breadth of the country, but for most of the match and certainly the first half it was almost like a home game for the visitors. I had heard that the Blues home support was right up there with their normally fantastic away support, well those guys must still have been on their holidays. As the game wore on it looked as if  a 0-0 was on the cards, only for Leon Cort to score with eight minutes to go. This sent the away section in to understandable raptures. Very soon after Lee Clarke introduced Zigic for the last few moments. It seemed an obvious chuck the long ball to the big guy ploy. It worked, but not like that, he scored a well taken goal with his feet on 90mins +4. Gutting, but we would have taken 1-1 before the game so it was a case of “get over it” for the Charlton Fans.

The stewards were great before, during and after the game. One was shaking the hands of as many away fans as he could on entry, even sneaking a crafty kiss from one particularly attractive young lady. One sensible intervention was required to clear a block gang way. The only black note of the whole day occurred when Birmingham equalised. One throw back to the afore mentioned dark ages of the eighties decided he would celebrate by trying to spit across the gap between the two stands, a disgusting, if albeit futile gesture. Even given the goading the home fans had receive following the Charlton goal, did not justify this,  the rest of the home support just gave back what they had received, fair enough.

Clearly a hostile reception is a fairly regular thing at St Andrew judging by the excellent and well drilled police and Stewart operation after the game. The Charlton coaches and a number of cars were held for 20-30 mins in their own secure compound right outside the away turnstiles. I had read and heard that away coaches often  can get attacked, but this neither seemed likely or possible, indeed we received one or two friendly waves as we drove of out of town. I was back home in doors by 8.30 that evening 

Overall a great day out, I would defiantly go back, but would advise caution to any visiting fan. Not all the locals are as friendly in Birmingham as they are in London SE7.

Birmingham City v Blackpool
Championship Play Off 2nd Leg
Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, 7.45pm
Michelle-Louise Burrows (Blackpool fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
Play-Off Semi-Final second leg.  Wembley on the horizon.  Pool 1-0 up from the first leg...

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Took the supporter's coach from Bloomfield Road which went straight to St Andrew's without stopping.  Very easy but considering we ended up arriving in Birmingham two hours before kick-off, then we could have stopped off to a rest break.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Needed the toilet pretty badly so nipped into the Morrisons around the corner.  Got myself a burger from the stand opposite and chatted to a few home fans.  A pretty friendly bunch, it has to be said and interviews for local media in the West Midlands and the Granada region.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Impressed.  Seriously impressed.  It reminded me a bit of Goodison with the obstructed views.  The old Main Stand though could do with demolishing and linking to the rest of the ground so it could really be a stadium to behold.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Stewarding and Police were very good.  Had a lovely chat with them before the match.  Not too impressed with the facilities though, too small for a club the size of Birmingham and there was a bit of grumbling from us in Tangerine when they ran out of beer.  The atmosphere itself was superb.  30,000 Zulu really make St Andrew's a sight to behold, especially when they get behind their team.  We managed to silence them however through Steven Dobbie (his goal had to be checked on the big screen to the left of us because we weren't sure if it had gone in. There was a seconds pause then an eruption from all those in tangerine) and Matty Phillips before Zigic, despite being a mile offside got Blues back into the game.  However, when Curtis Davies got the equaliser on the night, I swear to God you could have heard the noise back in Blackpool! However, Birmingham strangely didn't threaten much after that and we comfortably held on to go to Wembley again.  Cue party time in the Lower Gil Merrick Stand!
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Very easy. Back to the supporters coach jubilant at booking another trip to Wembley.  Obligatory interview with TV and radio and back on the coach.  Back in Blackpool just after midnight.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

What a fantastic evening! Pool through to Wembley yet again but what a superb ground and support Birmingham have. For me, they are a proper club with proper fans - the People's Club of the Second City. 

Birmingham City v Peterborough United
Championship League
Saturday November 19th, 2011, 3pm
Andrew van den Bent-Kelly (Peterborough United fan)

I couldn’t turn down the chance to go to one of the biggest grounds in the division and with Birmingham City being a former Premier League team, it seemed likely that the match (and indeed the whole day out) would be a good one. 

As always, Peterborough had been entertaining crowds up and down the country and I was hopeful that they could maintain their top-half status with a good result against the Blues.

We decided to catch an early train, which took us straight to Birmingham New Street in about 1hr 45mins. We got a bit lost walking through the enormous Bullring Centre, but once out of that we had no problem finding the ground. The walk from the station to the ground took about 20 minutes.

Birmingham’s a very big city and, unsurprisingly, there's no shortage of pubs. As a group with plenty of Irish heritage, we were delighted to find that the main road leading to St Andrew’s had several Irish pubs. We popped into The Dubliner hoping for some lunch and discovered that a fried breakfast was available all day for just £2! There weren’t really any Birmingham fans in the pub, but it was fairly early in the day. The Irish Brummies were friendly, though we expected nothing less! After some drinks we made our way to the ground.

From the outside, the ground looks pretty impressive. It’s big, but the club make an effort to help away fans find their way in, so you don’t have to wander around the stadium looking for the correct stand. The concourse areas in the away end are fairly standard, perhaps a bit small but not a massive problem. 

Upon stepping out of the concourse into the actual stand, the view of the ground is really quite imposing. Though the stand to the left looks rather dated, the two other ends are large and modern. They’re joined at the corner too, which makes them look even more striking. The ground wasn’t anywhere near full capacity, but there was still a decent turnout of around 18,000. I was sitting in the second row, amongst roughly 1,600 other Posh fans. The seats have lots of leg room and you get a good view wherever you are in the away end. The stewards were fine and just told you to go to the back if you wanted to stand.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the Birmingham fans. With the exception of the corner right next to the away end, the ground was practically silent for the whole game. Our fans took a while to get going (understandably, given Posh’s first half performance!), but were certainly making the most noise in the stadium. As I’ve just hinted, Birmingham completely dominated the first half. We showed them far too much respect and it was no real surprise when Marlon King put the hosts ahead after 22 minutes. As the half-time whistle blew, we counted ourselves very lucky to be only a goal down. I decided not to buy anything at half time, just stayed in my seat and took some pictures.

Birmingham started the second half well, but after about 50 minutes we began to grow into the game. We had a good 10-minute spell in which the ball rarely left the Birmingham half and after an hour had passed, we won a free-kick just outside the area. At first I thought it was too far wide even for our captain and free-kick specialist Grant McCann, but fortunately he proved me wrong with a peach of a strike into the top-right corner. The away end went absolutely mental and the level of banter between us and the corner of Blues fans next to us rose dramatically! 

The game opened up a bit more during the closing 30 minutes, which made it all the more exciting. Birmingham almost snatched the win in injury time and when the final whistle blew there was an almighty cheer from the away fans. A few months before the game Birmingham had been in the Premier League and we had been in League One, so to come away from St Andrew’s with a point was a brilliant achievement for us.

We had no trouble getting out of the ground after the game had finished. We headed to the Birmingham Irish Centre and had some drinks in the Connaught Bar, which had a great feel about it. There were several Birmingham fans present, all of whom were very friendly and had the decency to congratulate us on the result. We returned to The Dubliner for some more drinks and then headed back to the station, where a quick Burger King was followed by a very rowdy train journey back to Peterborough.

All in all it was a great day out. There’s plenty to see and do in Birmingham before and after the game and the ground is a good one to visit. The result was excellent and provided Birmingham don’t get promoted (or dare I say it, we get relegated), I’m looking forward to visiting St Andrew’s again next season!

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Updated 15th September 2016