Talking stadiums in the Football League, Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s is one of the best. Built in 1906 in the Bordesley district of Birmingham, the stadium initially housed over 75,000 fans predominantly in the one main grandstand. The ground’s record attendance of 66,844 achieved in an FA Cup tie 80 years ago is higher than that of Anfield and Arsenals Emirates Stadium.
Following the Second World War though, where the grandstand was a make-shift fire station, the stadium was rebuilt and today houses just over 30,000 ever-present Brimingham City fans. Though the club has had better times than the ones they are having today, where they feature in England’s Second tier, Birmingham City and their fans remain a passionate force of English football. Whether you’re a home or away fan, it’s definitely one to tick off you’re list, so here’s your guide to making the most out of a day watching the Blues.
Getting your tickets
Despite a difficult season in the Championship with the Blues being deducted points at the start of the season, fans have managed to keep St Andrew’s at least 80% full throughout the season. Birmingham have an average attendance of 22,360 this season, which is the 11th highest in the Championship this season.
The recommended stands for the best atmosphere are the Main Stand and the Kop. A ticket in either will cost you £30, whilst an away ticket in the Gil Merrick Stand is £25 – more than £6 under the average price of an away ticket in the Championship. Tickets are available from the club’s box office, powered by ticket master, and with no service charge.
The stadium is a good 40-minute walk from Birmingham city centre, but luckily, you can get a train to Bordesley train station which is only opened for match days at St Andrew’s, and that’s just a ten-minute walk from the ground. Alternatively, you can get the number 97 bus from the High Street in the city centre to the ground, and Birmingham coach centre is just a mile away too. For drivers, parking your car in the city centre is a good idea as parking around the stadium is limited, and mainly for supporters coming in by coach.
Where to have a drink
Despite being a way out of the city, there’s still plenty of places to grab a drink before the game. Ten minutes from the stadium you have The Moseley Arm and The Spotted Dog, both with traditional beers at a good price. Closer to the stadium, about a five-minute walk from, there’s another couple of pubs with Bainsy’s Bar, a karaoke bar by night, and The Roost, a proper British pub for Blues fans just opposite the ground.
For visiting supporters, The Cricketers Arms is your best bet for a pint before the game. Its ten minutes down the road from the away end, and is a fan-friendly pub with a good selection of crisps and Carling.
Where to eat
One of the best parts of a day out watching the Blues is the food. Birmingham City offer some of the finest football food in the league, with their gourmet style menu’s and kiosks available for the fans to use and enjoy. Their Cookhouse menu offer everything from a freshly carved honey and mustard baked ham sandwich in a brioche bun, to a chunky root vegetable and green lentil soup. At the kiosks you can get your pies and pints, and one of each will cost the reasonable price of £6.50. They also have their ‘gourmet burger vans dotted around the stadium grounds. However, if a gourmet soup or burger won’t quite do it, there is a Morrison’s and a McDonald’s just up the road.
For more information on where to eat, visit the Birmingham City FC website bcfc.co.uk.
Where to bet before the game
To add to the excitement of the game, a lot of football fans will have a bet on the game before they get there. For both home and away fans at St Andrew’s, there’s plenty of places to have a flutter on the football. There’s a Coral, Paddy Power and a Betfred on Coventry Road, which is just five minutes from the stadium. If you are going to visit one of these bookmakers, it’s always a good idea to check online betting offer websites such as bestbetsfree.com for the latest deals offered by the main betting companies.
To make your selections you can turn to ‘Blues News’ – the aptly named match day programme of Birmingham City. Here you can get all the form, the squads and the interviews before the game for the reasonable price of a fiver. Being at the game may give you the edge when looking to bet in-play.
Now you’re all set to make the best of it when you visit St Andrew’s to watch Birmingham City play. Their historic stadium and club have seen better times, but their support has always been a constant, and a great footballing experience. For any football fan be them of Birmingham City or not, St Andrew’s is a lovely host.