With Blues set to be playing their football at the St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium for the next three years, we look at the history of the club’s famous home.
Trillion Trophy Asia is the investment vehicle that has owned the club since 2016, and the Business maintains that the deal will mean Garry Monk will have more money to spend.
Blues chief executive Xuandong Ren said, “In renaming the ground, we were acutely aware of the emotions surrounding this subject, hence it was agreed to retain St Andrew’s in the title – our home that we know means so much to our supporters.”
But where did the name come from?
After several thousand supporters reportedly climbed the walls of their Muntz Street ground to see then-called Birmingham face Aston Villa in 1905, the decision was taken to look for an improved location.
Club director Harry Morris identified the St Andrew’s site in January 1906, and ground was first broken a month later.
However, like Muntz Street, the land was situated along Coventry Road. Therefore, to avoid confusion, Birmingham’s new ground was named after the nearby St Andrew’s church.
After ten months of construction, Blues played their first game in their new home on 22nd December 1906 against Middlesbrough in the First Division.
Designed by Harry Pumfrey, St Andrew’s originally held an estimated 75,000 – with its highest-ever attendance being record between 66 and 67,000 in 1939, for an FA Cup game against Everton.
The clear highlight of the stadium’s original design was the Spion Kop, which held a believed 48,000 at capacity.
Early 20th Century
A year after its grand opening, the ground hosted its first FA Cup semi-final, between The Wednesday and Woolwich Arsenal. A feat it repeated three more times before 1935..
During the First World War, the ground helped in military training, operating as a rifle range.
Originally agreeing a 21-year lease, the club brought the freehold to the land in 1921 for less than £7,000.
Though improvements were made to the stadium in the interwar years, the ground was greatly affected by the Second World War.
Luftwaffe bombing in 1941 badly damaged the Kop’s roof and the Railway stand, forcing the ground to close.
Then, operating as a temporary fire station in 1942, the Main Stand burned down after a fireman mistook a bucket of petrol for water, causing the entire stand to collapse, and destroying all the club’s records.
A replacement Main Stand and floodlights were added in the 1950s, but the stadium was then left largely untouched for several decades.
However, prompted by tragic circumstances, as rioting in a match between Blues and Leeds resulted in the death of a supporter in 1985, the ground’s capacity was forced to be reduced.
Both the Popplewell and subsequent Taylor inquiries into spectator safety caused St Andrew’s’ capacity to be cut to 26,000.
However, it wasn’t until David Gold and Sullivan bought the club in 1993 that the ground truly became modernised.
Demolishing both the Kop and Tilton Road stands, 7,000 seats were available in the improved Tilton on the opening day of the 1994/95 season – and the Kop re-opened just months later, both stands combined holding just under 17,000.
The Railway Stand was the last to receive an overhaul, with its current incarnation opening in 1999.
A plan to move away from St Andrew’s was reported in 2004, centred around the construction of a new 55,000-seater City of Birmingham Stadium, and a super-casino.
This proved unsuccessful – though, it was reported in 2007 that the club’s owners were still seeking alternate funding for the proposal.
However, in 2013, a bid from the Birmingham City Supporters’ Trust saw St Andrew’s listed as an Asset of Community Value. The decision meant that any proposed sale of the ground had to be notified to the council and allowed the Trust a six-month window to submit its own bid.
The News that Trillion Trophy Asia have bought the stadium’s naming rights, then, is just the latest chapter in St Andrew’s’ long history.
Source : BirminghamMail