For 99.9% of the population of Birmingham, it would be impossible to swap the colours of claret and blue for the blue of their city rivals (or vice versa). Yet over the years, many players have represented both Aston Villa and Birmingham City. In this article, we will have a look at some of the players who played for both Aston Villa and Birmingham City.
Here’s a look back at the small number who have turned out for both clubs.
6. Bobby Thompson [Aston Villa 1959-63 Birmingham 1963-67]
Thompson joined Aston Villa, newly relegated to the Second Division, in 1959. He made an immediate impact, scoring 22 goals in his first season. It made him the club’s top scorer and helped them win the 1959–60 Second Division championship. He followed this up with 18 goals the next season and another 18 in 1962–63. He played in the final of the inaugural League Cup competition in 1960–61 in which Aston Villa beat Rotherham United.
In September 1963 Thomson moved to Birmingham City. In his first season, he was used in a variety of positions, eventually settling in at centre-forward alongside the newly arrived and prolific Geoff Vowden. Their goals failed to prevent relegation to the Second Division in 1964–65.
In his last full season he played successfully at right half in place of captain Ron Wylie who had broken his leg. Wylie’s return to fitness and the arrival of former England centre-forward Fred Pickering left no place for Thomson, so in December 1967 he moved to Third Division Stockport County, and then into non-league football with Bromsgrove Rovers.
5. Geoff Vowden [Aston Villa 1971-74 Birmingham 1964-71]
Vowden joined Birmingham City from Nottingham Forest in 1964. He spent nearly seven seasons at Birmingham, scoring at a rate of one goal every three matches. He finished as their leading goalscorer three seasons running, from 1964–65 to 1966–67.
In March 1971, Vowden joined Aston Villa for a fee of £12,500. In his first full season at Aston Villa he scored 11 goals which contributed to the club winning the Third Division championship.
4. Des Bremner [Aston Villa 1979-84 Birmingham 1984-89]
Des Bremner joined Aston Villa in 1979 and quickly settled as a regular in the side. In his second season with the club he was an ever-present as they took the Football League title, their first for 71 years. The following season Bremner was a member of Villa’s European Cup-winning side.
Bremner left the club in September 1984, rejoining his former Villa manager Ron Saunders, who by then was managing local rivals Birmingham City. He helped Birmingham to promotion back to the First Division. He moved to Fulham on a free transfer in August 1989.