Birmingham City are enjoying one of their best eras since the 1950s after winning three promotions to the top flight since the turn of the century. Alex McLeish’s side secured the club’s highest finish in 51 years last season with players such as Joe Hart, Stephen Carr, Lee Bowyer and Barry Ferguson all demonstrating what valuable signings they were for the Blues. Saying all that, who exactly have been the club’s best signings in the last 50 years? Let’s find out.
Bob Latchford (1968-1974)
Born in Birmingham, Latchford was a prolific goalscorer during his time with both the Blues and Everton during the 1970s. His strong and powerful physique made him a fearsome opponent whilst he was equally strong using either foot. 84 goals in 194 appearances for the West Midlands club eventually earned him a £350,000 move to Everton which was then a British transfer record. His 12 caps for England were a poor reflection of his true footballing abilities.
Christophe Dugary (2003-2004)
Despite making only 30 appearances for Birmingham after signing, initially on loan, from Bordeaux in 2003, his effect on the newly promoted side was immeasurable. The Frenchman arrived in England during the twilight of his career following spells at AC Milan, Barcelona and Marseilles and his goals helped his country win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.
A run of five goals in five games was enough to cement Birmingham’s place in the Premiership after their first season in the top flight for 16 years where Steve Bruce’s men would stay for another three years. He left the club in 2004 citing family reasons but had already gained iconic status at St Andrews as the Blues’ saviour from relegation and for being a class above what most Brummies had been used to.
Trevor Francis (1971-1979)
The legend of teenage superstar Trevor Francis still looms large at St. Andrews. He will forever be remembered for scoring one of Birmingham’s most famous goals against QPR in 1976 when he unleashed a 25-yard thunderbolt after cutting inside four defenders and finding the net four times against Bolton in 1971 when aged just 16. He would go on to notch 133 strikes in just over 300 appearances for the Blues before achieving notoriety in 1979 by becoming the first £1m footballer. The club were facing relegation from the first division and were forced to accept the loss of their prize possession to Nottingham Forest.
He went onto win a European Cup under Brian Clough and win over 50 caps for England but will always be remembered for his pace, skill and gracefulness whilst being the best player ever to wear a Blues’ shirt.
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