It’s 1998, and the Blues are up 1-0 against Nottingham Forest, seemingly on the verge of a three-point lead. But disaster strikes in the 82nd minute when Michael Johnson is sent off for a reckless challenge on Pierre Van Hooijdonk..
The distance between the pitch and Birmingham City’s dressing room was said to be the longest in league football at the time. Forest had staged a stunning comeback with two goals in under five minutes by the time a dejected Johnson arrived.
Again, heartbreak – but this is just one of many stories that have emerged from St Andrew’s historical dressing rooms over the years.
The club’s dressing room is now a stunning sea of cobalt, designed specifically for the modern footballer..
It was here that Dortmund superstar Jude Bellingham made his name, whose market value is estimated to be well above £100 million following his impressive form in Qatar.
It is now the home of Brummie and Blues captain Troy Deeney, who is hoping to see his club charge up the table before the end of the 2022-23 Championship season.
To coincide with behind-the-scenes photos of the Blues’ dressing room in 2022, we reached out to the team’s current tour guide to share historic BCFC changing room stories that fans may not be aware of.
Changing room antics during the FA Cup Final (May 5, 1956)
Blues captain Len Boyd suffered a rib injury in the weeks leading up to the FA Cup Final against Manchester City. The club attempted to keep this a secret ahead of the big game..
On the morning of the final, Boyd declared himself fit. His performance, however, did not match his evaluation, and it was later revealed that he had a broken rib.
This game was played before the FA implemented in-game substitutions, so playing Boyd proved costly. At halftime, Boyd felt the wrath of his teammates when a massive brawl erupted in the Blues locker room.
City went on to lose 3-1, and Boyd’s contract with the club was terminated before the 1956-57 season began.
Sneaky Blues get dirty with Stevenage? (4 January 1997)
Stevenage requested that the 1997 FA Cup tie be played at St Andrew’s in order to draw a large crowd. Blues and the FA came to an agreement..
Stevenage asked City a few days before the game if they could use the Blues’ home changing room, which was adjacent to the main stand. City agreed once more, but did not keep their end of the bargain.
Staff only flipped changing room door signs, swapping home with away, leaving Stevenage extremely disappointed. In 1997, the away changing room had only one operational shower, a tiny bath, one toilet, and was cold due to a poorly patched-up broken window.
“I think Stevenage were a little surprised by the basic fittings!” said Blues’ current tour guide.
Trevor Francis’s one-shot ability
Francis, who played for the Blues from 1970 to 1979, reportedly wowed players when he was the club’s manager.
A group of frustrated players were attempting to hit the shower control in the changing room with a ball from about six yards away, but none of them were successful.
Enter Francis, who took the ball and hit the control first time after asking what all the commotion was about.
Blues vs. Leeds does not benefit from inside information (December 29, 2019)
In 2019, pre-match ground tour sponsors were allowed into the Blues’ away changing room against Leeds. The Leeds kit men agreed, and as usual, the players’ kits were out and photographs were taken.
According to Blues’ tour guide, there was a flip chart in the corner of the room. He stated:
I received a phone call about 30 minutes later informing me that a photo of Leeds tactics had appeared on social media. It was because the tactics were on the charts, which the kit men had made no effort to conceal!
“However, this did not help us, as we went on to lose 5-4 in an incredible game.”