We catch up with Birm­ing­ham City’s 1971-72 Divi­sion Two run­ners-up

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - 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 pre­match 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.” 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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