Birmingham & Black Country

St Andrew's event after Blues' Carling Cup triumph

Obafemi Martins and Birmingham celebrate after an Arsenal mix-up
Image caption Obafemi Martins scored the winning goal in the last minute of normal time

Birmingham City's Carling Cup triumph will be celebrated at a civic reception at their St Andrew's stadium on Sunday.

Substitute Obafemi Martins' late goal clinched a 2-1 win over Arsenal in the final at Wembley - and secured the club's first major trophy since 1963.

Alex McLeish said it was his "greatest achievement" as a manager.

An open-top bus tour had been considered, but it was decided on safety grounds that the event at the stadium would be the best option.

Following talks with the city council and police, the club said it was agreed the best way to mark the achievement would be to hold a ceremony at St Andrew's.

Birmingham City said it was decided that a reception at the stadium would be the best option to accommodate all fans wanting to attend.

'Show their support'

Spokesman Chris Kershaw said: "There will be a party, for want of a better word, down here at St Andrew's.

"The players, the manager [and] the trophy will be here, most crucially.

"It will be a chance for people to come down and show their support for the lads and, most crucially, for the lads to thank the fans."

Nikola Zigic had given Birmingham the lead on Sunday, but Robin van Persie equalised before Martins pounced on a calamitous Arsenal defensive mix-up in the last minute of normal time.

Image caption The win means Blues will be playing European football next season

Birmingham beat Aston Villa to win the League Cup in 1963, but this was their first visit to Wembley for a major final since 1956.

The win means Blues will be playing European football in the Europa League next season.

Mr Kershaw added: "The meetings have started about where do we go from here? What does European football mean to the football club?

"Hopefully more people will want to come in and be sponsors of the football club, people will want to buy shirts, merchandise, ticket sales."

Blues said talks with all parties over Sunday's event would continue over the coming days.

A city council spokesman said it was meeting with the club over the next couple of days to see how it could contribute towards the reception.

Birmingham are currently two points above the Premier League relegation zone approaching Saturday's important home game with fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion.

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