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Where Are They Now? Birmingham City’s Division 2 runners-up 1971/72

by Neil Fissler

ALAN CAMPBELL remembers all too well the night Birmingham City won a shoot-out to go up to the First Division.

It was a straight decider between the Blues and Millwall to join Norwich City in the First Division, in the last season when only two clubs were promoted.

The South London side had finished all of their matches, but Birmingham had to play one last game at Leyton Orient and needed a point to go up.

The crowd was swelled by thousands of Millwall fans, who had made the short trip to Brisbane Road hoping to see their side promoted to the top flight for the first time.

The Blues, who survived a pre-match bomb scare, took both points when Bob Latchford headed in a Gordon Taylor corner for his 27th goal of the season.

“We needed a win and to get a point at the other in our last two games,” he said. “We won at Sheffield Wednesday, so we needed a point at Orient. And, with that being in London, most of the fans at the game were Millwall fans.

“I remember when I was at Charlton the first time I went down to Cold Blow Lane. It was a bit frightening with the crowd, as well as Harry Cripps. I said to the referee at Orient when we were 1-0 up: “Please tell me about ten seconds before you blow the final whistle.

“There was even a bomb scare before the game. It was always intimidating at Millwall and it was that night, too, but we scored early on. Bob Latchford got a header from a corner, so we were quite comfortable, really, but there was still the worry of what was going to happen at the end of the game.”

The Blues had earlier come within 90 minutes of their first FA Cup Final appearance since 1956, only to be beaten by Don Revie’s Leeds at Hillsborough.

Campbell says they were never going to be denied promotion, despite the cup run leaving them with a fixture backlog.

“It was a fantastic season for us,” he said. “We just got the wrong draw in the FA Cup. It was Stoke and Arsenal, Leeds and Birmingham [in the semi-finals]. We drew Leeds.

“We didn’t play that well at Hillsborough and got beaten 3-0, but it was a bit of lesson to realise what it was going to be like in Division One.

“We were a good footballing side, even though Norwich won it.  We were the best side in the division and, even with games in hand because of the cup run, we thought we would get there.

“In our first season in Division One, we finished tenth, which wasn’t bad, but we didn’t do ourselves justice and buy the right players.

“The management thought we were all good enough, which we were. It’s not like now when you buy a couple of players.”birmingham city 72 watn graphic

  1. Garry Pendry: Defender who went on to manage the Blues before forming a long-standing working relationship with Scotland boss Gordon Strachan.
  2. Phil Summerill: The striker became a football development officer for Birmingham City Council and then delivered cars for a living.
  3. Keith Bowker: Striker who settled in the West Country, where he managed Taunton Town before becoming a postman in the Exeter area.
  4. Mike Kelly: England amateur international keeper who went into management at Plymouth Argyle in 1976 and was a successful goalkeeping coach for many years.
  5. Dave Latchford: Goalkeeper and brother of Bob, who became a funeral director and was then superintendent of cemeteries for Solihull.
  6. Roger Hynd: The nephew of Bill Shankly, the central defender returned to Scotland, where he managed Motherwell before working as a PE teacher at Wishaw School.
  7. Bobby Thomson: England international left-back ran a sports shop in Sedgley near Dudley but lost a battle with cancer in August 2009, aged 65.
  8. Dave Robinson: Central defender who managed Oldbury United before going to work for a hire company near his Sutton Coldfield base.
  9. Bob Latchford: Striker who ran a children’s clothes firm and a sports agency, before overseeing The Blues’ academy. Now retired and living in Germany.
  10. Trevor Francis: Britain’s first £1m player, he had spells in management with QPR, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham and Crystal Palace. Now a pundit for BT Sport.
  11. Ray Martin: Full-back who settled in the United States, where he was head coach of Oregon State University.
  12. Freddie Goodwin: A Busby Babe who played cricket for Lancashire, managed a number of clubs in England and the US where he is retired
  13. Dennis Thwaites: Midfielder who worked for Rover Cars and then became a hospital porter in Blackpool. Murdered in the terrorist attack in Tunisia in June last year.
  14. Alan Campbell: Midfielder who managed in Non-League while working as an audit engineer for Land Rover.
  15. George Smith: Midfielder who became a coach with Trevor Francis at QPR. He has also worked for the FA, run his own academy and scouted for a number of clubs.
  16. Malcolm Page: Welsh international, he worked with a large insurance company in Birmingham and then for a civil engineering firm
  17. Gordon Taylor: The winger went to work for the PFA after retiring in 1980 and is the long-standing chief executive of the players’ union.
  18. Mike Harrison: Central defender who settled in Yeovil, where he worked for Westlands before retiring to Spain.

NOT PICTURED

Steve Phillips: Forward who went to Spain, where he ran a bar, before returning to run a series of pubs.

Kenny Burns: Scottish central defender has worked as a publican, newspaper columnist, after-dinner speaker and entertained match day guests at the City Ground, Nottingham.

Bob Hatton : Centre-forward who went to work in financial services and on local radio in the West Midlands.

Stan Harland: Centre-half who coached at Portsmouth and was Yeovil’s commercial manager. Then ran a delicatessen and a supermarket until his death in September 2001.

Paul Cooper: Goalkeeper who worked for a firm selling nuts and bolts but then moved to Spain, where he started a golfing holidays business.

Mike O’Grady: Midfielder was a grip for Yorkshire TV before running the Royal Oak pub in Aberford, Wetherby.

Alan Whitehead: Central defender whose brother, Clive, played for WBA.  He settled in York, where he became a school teacher.

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