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Birmingham City Cheque

BCFC Cheque


Each week the Pompey History Society takes a delve into the club’s archive and pulls out a document or artefact and tells the story behind it. Today it's a cheque for more than £5,000 from Birmingham City FC, archived after it had been cashed by the club in January 1976.


Five grand? That’s quite a lot of money...

To be precise, it was for £5335.21 and was written out on Friday January 9, 1976 and signed by Birmingham club director LJ Morris and countersigned by secretary Alan Instone. It came from City’s Midland Bank account on a bespoke cheque, presumably befitting the club’s importance as a customer. The Blues were in the first division back in the day after all. 


So why were they paying Pompey so much?

Second division Pompey had been drawn against City in the third round of the FA Cup. After a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park, the replay was at St Andrews on Tuesday January 6 and this cheque was the away side’s proceeds of the 26,106 attendance. The gate receipts were then, as they are now, split evenly between the clubs, with the FA taking a 10% cut..


That would have made up for getting knocked out. I assume we lost - that 1970s team wasn’t great I heard?

It wasn’t great at all, but Pompey, managed by Ian St John and still without a home league win that season, shocked their McGuiness Goalopponents by winning the game that night 1-0. We’ve even found a - albeit fuzzy - picture of striker Bobby McGuinness scoring the winning goal on the stroke of half-time. Also of note is the huge Spion Kop terrace in the background. Liverpool’s Kop is the best known, but quite a few grounds had one. It took its name from a famous Boer war battle in 1900. A ‘kop’ is a name for a small hill or outcrop.




Interesting. That win must have spurred Pompey on?

Sort of. The day after the cheque was written, Pompey won their first home league game of the season, 1-0 against Carlisle. In the next round of the Cup a 1-1 draw at Charlton set up another replay, attracting 30,000 to Fratton Park, which would have pleased the club’s bank, as financially the club was struggling, but this time. On the pitch though the team lost 3-0, ruining the prospect of a money-spinning tie away to Wolves, and the season petered out, ending with relegation to the third division. 


Any other business? What do we know about that McGuinness chap for instance?

He signed for Pompey in the summer of 1975 from Motherwell, which had been St John’s former club. He made 35 league and cup appearances that season scoring four goals. He left the club the following season and is now living in Australia. While we’re on the subject we have a rare colour snap of him in pre-season 1975, modelling the club’s iconic white & blue kit of the time. These were taken by the then club photographer David Stretten. Interesting to note Bobby’s choice of boot - a pair of Adidas Phantoms were a rare beast even of its time.


This article originally appeared in the Matchday Programme 27 October 2020 v Northampton Town.

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