Greatest Birmingham City Players Ever – Top 10 Legends

3. Gil Merrick

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In an age where the word ‘legend’ is used all too readily in football, there can be no doubt it was a perfect fit for Gilbert Harold Merrick.

For the Blues goalkeeper turned manager was an icon of his club, one of the best players of his era and also a gentleman. It was fitting that, just weeks before his death, Merrick was the first inductee to Birmingham City’s Hall of Fame at St Andrew’s.

Merrick served Blues for 25 years, making a club record 551 league appearances as an imposing, fearless and agile goalkeeper. He then became manager and managed Blues to their first major trophy, the 1963 League Cup.

2. Joe Bradford

The greatest goalscorer in Blues history, Bradford hit the back of the net 267 times in 445 appearances. He was the leading scorer in the First Division in every season from 1921-22 to 1932-34.

From Leicestershire, he was invited for a trial at Villa but Blues were the only club interested prepared to pay his travelling expenses – and ended up signing him as a professional in 1920.

Bradford also scored Birmingham’s only goal of the 1931 FA Cup Final, in which they were beaten by West Bromwich Albion. He was a hugely popular figure at the club.

1. Trevor Francis

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Considered the greatest Blues player of all time, Trevor Francis was a superbly gifted forward blessed with great pace, fine dribbling ability, sublime movement, and an eye for goal.

In 1979 Trevor Francis became the first British footballer to command a £1 million transfer fee when he moved from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest. Although Brian Clough always claimed that the real figure was £999,999, in order to take the pressure of his new signing, the actual amount was £950,000, which spiralled to £1.18 million with add-ons and VAT.

Francis helped Blues win promotion to the First Division in 1972. He made 329 appearances and scored 133 goals for Blues. He also managed the club between 1996-2001.

Checkout: 10 Players Who Played For Both Aston Villa and Birmingham City

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