Damson Park Dames

BCLFC History

Club History

The club was formed in 1968 by a group of female fans who played local friendly matches until 1970.

They joined the Heart of England League in 1970, and were crowned champions in their second season.

They played in the league until 1973 when it underwent a major restructure and was renamed the West Midland Regional League the following year.

The club’s early success continued into the late 70s with two more league titles in the 1974/75 and 1976/77 seasons.

After eleven years without a title Birmingham captured back-to-back league wins in 1988 and 1989. They also reached the Women’s FA Cup semi-finals in both 1974 and 1988 during this period.

The club ran into difficult times during the 1990s, with many staff and player changes. In an effort to regain stability they created an academy of young players, many who eventually played for the senior team.

In 1998 Birmingham City were elevated to the newly created Midland Combination League and in their first season won the league, gaining promotion into the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division.

After two seasons in the second tier of English football, Birmingham were promoted to the top flight in 2002.

Their promotion season saw them also make the FA Women’s Premier League Cup Final. After beating Doncaster Belles 4-3 in the semis, Birmingham went on to lose 7-1 to professional side Fulham Ladies.

In 2003, academy graduate Laura Bassett became the first Birmingham City Ladies player to represent England at full international level.

Under manager Marcus Bignot the club began to attract big name players signing the likes of Rachel Yankey and Alex Scott for the 2004/05 season. Birmingham went on to finish fourth.

But due to financial problems the club were forced to let major players leave the following season and went on to finish sixth. Their issues off the field arose as a result of parent club Birmingham City withdrawing an offer of financial support before the 2005/06 season. According to Birmingham City Ladies chairman Steve Shipway, the Birmingham City managing director Karren Brady did not consider investing in women’s football as “commercially viable”. The club was saved from extinction by a player’s parent who donated £10,000.

Meanwhile, Birmingham’s youth sides joined the newly formed Centre of Excellence league setup for the central Warwickshire area in 2005.

It was all change in 2005 for the Midland club as they also left their adopted home of Redditch United’s The Valley Stadium for Stratford Town’s DCS Stadium.

In early 2010, the club was announced as a founding member of the new FA Women’s Super League. The club’s successful application was underwritten by Birmingham City’s controversial owner Carson Yeung.

The following year saw the club’s centre of excellence long-term future secured thanks to a new FA license to ensure the development pathway for women’s football in England remained strong.

The new Women’s Super League began in 2011 and Birmingham City came close to winning it at the first attempt, having led for most of the campaign.

Arsenal eventually overtook them to become the inaugural champions.

The Blues also reached the FA WSL Cup Final but were defeated by Arsenal 4-1 at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.

Birmingham’s season was also notable for the goal-scoring exploits of striker Rachel Williams who scored the league’s first hat-trick and went on to be named FA Players’ Player of the Year. Her tally for the season was 14 from 14 matches.

The club qualified for the 2012/13 UEFA Women’s Champions League on the back of their second place finish in the WSL. Birmingham faced Italian side Bardolino Verona and won the home leg 2-0. Unfortunately for them they went on to lose in extra time; 3-2 on aggregate.

In May 2012, the club won their first FA Women’s Cup beating Chelsea on penalties at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium.

It was déjà vu for Birmingham as they finished second in the WSL for a second consecutive year and missed out in the FA WSL Cup Final to Arsenal.

Birmingham celebrated their first wins in Europe the following season. They defeated Finnish side PK-35 Vantaa and Russian side Zorky Krasnogorsk to reach the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Champions League. The Blues followed that up with a 3-0 aggregate win over rivals Arsenal to setup a semi-final clash with Tyresö FF. The Swedish side won the semis 3-0 over the two legs.

The club underwent yet another stadium change in 2014, leaving their home in Stratford for Damson Park in Solihull.

Birmingham City Ladies announced they were becoming fully integrated into the men’s setup in late 2016.

Prior to the start of the one-off FA WSL Spring Series league competition, long-serving manager David Parker resigned from his position.

The club appointed Marc Skinner as manager shortly after. Skinner had previously been the technical director for Birmingham’s Regional Talent Club.

Managers

Marc Skinner (2016-Present)

David Parker (2011-2016)

Stuart Wilson (2008-2010)

Laura Harvey (2006-2008)

Mickey Moore (2005-2006)

Marcus Bignot (1998-2005)

*In Progress – If you know any managers prior to 1998 please get in touch*

Honours

Women’s Super League – Runners-up: 2011, 2012

Women’s FA Cup – Winners: 2011/12

WSL Continental Cup – Runners-up: 2011, 2012, 2016

Women’s Premier League Cup – Runners-up: 2001/02

Heart of England League – Winners: 1971/72

West Midland Regional League – Winners: 1974/75, 1976/77, 1987/88, 1988/89

Midland Combination League – Winners: 1998/99

Northern Premier League – Winners: 2001/02

Notable Past Players

Steph Williams – Former club captain who unfortunately lost her battle with cancer in 2016, aged 35.

Chelsea Weston – 74 appearances for Birmingham City

Laura Bassett – England international

Jade Moore – England international

Jo Potter – England international

Karen Carney – England international

Eni Aluko – Former England international

Jodie Taylor – England international

Izzy Christiansen – England international

Hannah Keryakoplis – Welsh international