Wolves v Birmingham City: The other West Midlands derby match

Blues striker Christophe Dugarry tangles with Wolves defender Jody Craddock, Molineux (November 2003)
Blues striker Christophe Dugarry tangles with Wolves defender Jody Craddock during a 1-1 Molineux draw in November 2003

Sky Bet Championship: Wolves v Birmingham City

Venue:
Molineux
Date:
Saturday, 1 November
Kick-off:
12:15 GMT
Coverage:
Live commentary on BBC WM and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, live text commentary on BBC Sport, BBC Birmingham & Black Country and BBC WM websites

When it comes to West Midlands derby matches, there's plenty of needle to be found on the park whenever any of the area's big four sides play each other.

The Second City derby, Aston Villa v Birmingham City, is more than matched in competitiveness and intensity by the Black Country derby, between Wolves and West Bromwich Albion.

And, from Witton to West Bromwich, supporters of a certain age, given the greater number of top-flight meetings between the two clubs down the years, will still maintain that Villa v Albion is the biggest of them all.

But emotions also get pretty stirred up when there is a clash of the two clubs who take their names from the two main cities of the West Midlands.

The Wolves-Blues derby form book
Blues have won only one of the last six derby games against Wolves.
Wolves did the double over Blues in 2012-13 - but ended up relegated.
Blues central midfielders David Davis and Stephen Gleeson will be up against their old club. Davis, 23, moved to St Andrew's from Wolves in August, while Gleeson, 26, joined in June following five years with MK Dons, for whom he left Molineux in 2009.

And, as if the stakes were not high enough already, Blues' current plight and last week's sacking of Lee Clark mean that new City boss Gary Rowett will be taking charge for the first time in Saturday's lunchtime derby at Molineux (12:15 GMT).

In 132 derby games between the two clubs since they first met in the FA Cup in 1890, Wolves have won 63 to Blues' 39.

Wolves, promoted just five months ago, lie third in the Championship, level on points with the two sides above them, knowing that even a draw would take them temporarily top.

Blues lie second from bottom, coming off the back of last Saturday's 8-0 St Andrew's thrashing by Bournemouth - their record home defeat.

But form, they say, goes out of the window in a derby game.

To whet the appetite, seven BBC reporters recall their most memorable Wolves-Blues derby.

Blues 3-2 Wolves, St Andrew's, Dec 1966

"When attending Blues matches along with my dad back then, we'd stand in the corner of the Tilton terracing. But, as a pre-Christmas treat on a cold, crisp, sunny day, he paid for us to sit in the main stand paddock.

"Wolves were riding high in what was then Division Two, looking odds-on favourites for promotion. They had players like Ron Flowers, Mike Bailey, a superb captain and leader, future manager Graham Hawkins, Ernie Hunt, Peter Knowles, (what a talent!) and Dave Wagstaffe.

"As for Blues, with a forward line that contained Trevor Hockey, Johnny Vincent, Geoff Vowden and Barry Bridges, goals were never in short supply but, with a defence that liked to be generous to the opposition, elevation to the top flight was less certain.

"For the opening 45 minutes, Wolves were a class apart and well worth a 2-0 lead. What happened next left the Blues fans wide-eyed in amazement as, in a superb attacking display, goals from young Mickey Bullock, Vowden and Bridges secured victory.

"There was also humour during a crazy second half when, as a player received treatment for an injury, Hockey even ate a bar of chocolate thrown to him from the terraces while he waited to take a corner. You don't get moments like that these days, do you?"

Blues fan John Platt (BBC WM)

Wolves 3-2 Blues, Molineux, March 1996

"There was not just local pride at stake - there was a war of words to be won between managers Mark McGhee and Barry Fry, who had been sniping at each other about which team would finish higher in Division One, with Blues two points ahead of Wolves going into the Molineux showdown.

"The atmosphere was also cranked up by this being the fourth meeting between the sides inside three months, Wolves having won an FA Cup third round tie after a replay before Birmingham triumphed 2-0 in the first league encounter at St Andrew's just 18 days earlier.

"They looked on course for a league double after Paul Devlin, who had given Blues an early lead which was cancelled out by Don Goodman, put his side back in front from the penalty spot with six minutes left after Kevin Francis tumbled in the box.

"But there was to be a late twist as Andy Thompson levelled from the spot before Steve Bull outpaced the Birmingham defence to fire an angled shot past Bart Griemink for Wolves' winner before running in front of the stunned visiting fans in celebration.

"McGhee might have won this battle but it was Fry who won the war. Blues finished the season in 15th, three points and five places above Wolves."

Steve Marshall (BBC Sport Online - Birmingham)

Steve Bruce and Robin Van der Laan, Molineux, November 1996
Former Blues boss Steve Bruce, in his penultimate season as a player, enjoys a close encounter with Wolves midfielder Robin Van der Laan, in a 2-1 win for Trevor Francis's side at Molineux, November 1996

Blues 0-1 Wolves, St Andrew's, April 1999

"Both Birmingham and Wolves were fighting for Division One play-off spots in the final weeks of the 1998-99 season.

"Wolves were on a wonderful run of form under Colin Lee, who had replaced Mark McGhee as manager a few months earlier, and they further boosted their promotion chances with a 1-0 victory at St Andrew's.

"Australian midfielder Steve Corica, whose time at Molineux was blighted by injury after injury, scored the only goal with a low shot from the edge of the box that flew past Kevin Poole at his near post.

"At full-time, a smiling Lee and his assistant John Ward raced towards the travelling Wolves fans, hand in hand and arms aloft.

"But the celebrations would not last. Wolves failed to win again that season and finished seventh, while Trevor Francis's Blues made the top six but lost to Watford on penalties in their play-off semi-final."

Phil Cartwright (BBC Sport Online - Birmingham)

Blues 0-4 Wolves, St Andrew's, Sept 1992

"With Andy Mutch ruled out through injury, Wolves manager Graham Turner handed a surprise debut to young Darren Roberts.

"He'd only been signed a few weeks before from non-league Burton Albion but what an impact he made on his full league debut.

"It was real Roy of the Rovers stuff, as 'Super Daz' etched his name in Wolves folklore by netting a first-half hat-trick.

"In front of the TV cameras, Kevin Keen got the other as the boys in gold and black romped to a memorable 4-0 victory.

"To rub salt in the wounds of the Bluenoses, Roberts then went on to reveal that he was actually a lifelong Villa fan."

Wolves fan Daz Hale (BBC WM)

Wolves 1-3 Blues, Molineux, Feb 1998

"I don't remember too much very clearly from the first local derby I described for radio on this patch, other than trying so hard not to offend listeners supporting either team that I hardly said anything at all.

"Dougie Freedman scored an early goal, but Blues were the better side, at the start of a late-season surge which would end with them missing the play-offs on a technicality - one of the hard-luck tales that seemed to befall Blues every spring under Trevor Francis.

"I vaguely recall Peter Ndlovu strolling up to roll in a penalty almost as if there were no goalkeeper there, for the goal that settled the match.

"However I mainly remember catching up his fellow goalscorer Dele Adebola for an interview just as the doors of the lift he was in were closing. We filled the small elevator between us, Dele and I.

"And, as it was a slow-moving lift and the big man chose his words carefully, I didn't have to jam the doors shut for too long to get the interview finished."

Reporter Mike Taylor (BBC WM)

Paul Ince and Robbie Savage, 1-1 draw, Molineux, 2003
Paul Ince and Robbie Savage played in Wolves' first Premier League derby with Blues at Molineux in November 2003

Wolves 2-3 Blues, Molineux, April 2007

"This game was a humdinger. Wolves and Blues were chasing promotion and, with just three matches left, it was massive for both teams.

"It was goalless at half-time - but the second half was breathless. Andy Cole put Blues in front but two goals in four minutes from Michael McIndoe put Wolves ahead.

"But Blues responded with an equaliser from Nicklas Bendtner and, with just two minutes left, Cameron Jerome slipped the off-side trap to put them 3-2 up. What drama! But this game still wasn't done. Wolves won a late, late penalty, only for McIndoe's spot-kick to be saved by Colin Doyle.

"When interviewed post-match for BBC Midlands Today, Wolves boss Mick McCarthy just walked away mid question, unable to speak. He knew the ramifications.

"Blues went on to finish second and gain automatic promotion. Wolves finished fifth and had to suffer the extra agony of a play-off defeat by Black Country rivals West Bromwich Albion."

Reporter Dan Pallett(BBC Midlands Today)

Blues 2-3 Wolves, St Andrew's, April 2013

"At full time, Dean Saunders walked off to the loud acclaim of those of us in the away end at St Andrew's after a result that gave disbelieving and increasingly furious Wolves fans further hope.

"It was a game best remembered for a nerve-jangling second-half fightback from Blues, an excellent midfield performance from David Davis and two goals from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake - as well as the injury that ended his Wolves career.

Wolves winger Stephen Hunt celebrates the opening goal at St Andrew's, April Fools' Day 2013
Wolves winger Stephen Hunt celebrates the opening goal at St Andrew's, April Fools' Day 2013

"Just 12 months earlier, we had played Chelsea. Now, in stark danger of welcoming Carlisle and Crawley to Molineux, this lifted us four places clear of the Championship's bottom three with a safety net of only a point.

"Yet, just 36 days later, Saunders was sacked, our humiliation complete - relegation from Premier League to League One in successive seasons.

"A pathetic decline that shamed those involved - but at least it led us to Kenny Jackett, and the wonderful restoration of Old Gold hope and pride. And a bit of glory."

Wolves fan John Bray (BBC Midlands Today)

Compiled by BBC Sport's Ged Scott.

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