Birmingham finally land a major!
BWFC made it 2 trophies in 2 weeks following up from their Bham FA league success, the previous week. Winning the league meant that BWFC qualified for the WFA league of Champions trophy. The tournament brought together all the winners of their respective leagues and was to be held at the new walking football centre in Solihull. Teams from Hartlepool to Kent travelled to the new centre to play the tournament in glorious sunshine throughout the day.
First up for BWFC were the very solid Seaton Carew from Hartlepool. A cagey 0-0 affair was played out with the best chance falling to Seaton that brought out the very best of the Birmingham keeper Derek Hughes, diving at full stretch to keep out the Northerners. Notoriously slow starters BWFC soon found their groove and dispatched Derbyshire outfit, Risley Kicks 5-1, with goals from D Norton, A Struthers, I Ward, D Wright and goal of the tournament from Ian ‘Razor’ Gough. Next up for BWFC were Abbeymead Rovers, a very comfortable 2-0 win, Birmingham rarely troubled, looking comfortable throughout, Dave Norton and Dave Wright on the score sheet. As the tournament heated up Birmingham and National Champions Herne Bay were both unbeaten and faced each other next.
Birmingham took the initiative but with Herne Bay happy to defend around their area, chances were at a premium. Best chance falling to Dave Norton in the final minute who chipped the keeper but unfortunately ‘over head height’! final score 0-0. Final game for Birmingham was against Derbyshire league champs Burton Albion. Due to tournament rules BWFC just needed to win and not concede (goals against taking priority over goal difference). A thoroughly professional job was done in emphatic style winning 5-0. (D Norton, D Wright, I Ward x 2, A Struthers). Birmingham now sat top of the league but with Seaton Carew and Herne Bay still to play.
Seaton triumphed in an ill tempered affair which meant BWFC finished 2nd unbeaten, only conceding 1 goal. BWFC now faced Seaton in a repeat of the opening game in the final. Seaton took the upper hand in the early stages while Birmingham adopted to the larger pitch. BWFC grew into the game and it took a moment of quality from Darren Bradley to break the deadlock. Bradley latched onto an inch perfect pass following a free kick from Ian Ward and dispatched a superb strike into the bottom left corner of the Seaton goal. BWFC played out the remainder of the match without scare to seal their first major success.
Manager Paul Murtagh commented …
“I thought the lads were class today, every one of them played for each other and the team gelled as a result. It’s so satisfying to finally win a major trophy having come so close on so many other occasions, It’s extra sweet to do it on our new ground! Hopefully this win has broken the duck and is the first of many as we establish ourselves as a major force in the game”