City have a solid record in FA Cup semi-finals and haven't lost at this stage for 59 years – here are the first five games of our two-part list…
10: March 12, 1932: Arsenal 1 City 0 (Villa Park)
Having already scored 16 goals in the four games leading up to the semi-final, City fans were hopeful they could edge past the mighty Arsenal, if not confident. The Gunners had won 3-1 at Maine Road and 4-0 at Highbury and were challenging strongly for the title, while City languished in lower mid-table. The Blues put up more than a decent fight, but lost to a solitary goal, allowing Arsenal to go on and face Newcastle in the final.
9: March 26, 1955: City 1, Sunderland 0 (Villa Park)
After an absence of 21 years, the Blues returned to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, looking to progress to their fifth final. Sunderland and City had both won their home league fixture against each other that season and there was little to separate the teams at Villa Park where almost 60,000 people crammed in.
With Sunderland knowing there would be a chance of meeting Newcastle in the final, the tension in the ground and on the pitch was tangible, but it would be Roy Clarke’s (pictured above) solitary goal that settled the tie and send the Blues into the final against Newcastle, who had seen off minnows York City after a replay. However, it would be another year before the Blues etched their name on the trophy again….
8: March 17, 1956: City 1, Tottenham 0 (Villa Park)
Skipper Roy Paul had vowed to steer City back to Wembley following the heartbreak of losing the final the season before and he was as good as his word. The Blues were focused and determined throughout their epic run towards the final and approaching 400,000 fans had already watched their progress by the time Bobby Johnstone scored the only goal of a tight affair. Birmingham City awaited in the final and for Bert Trautmann, a place in history (below)…
7: March 19, 1904: City 3 Sheffield Wednesday 1, Goodison Park
The Blues’ first FA Cup semi-final ended in victory against a Sheffield Wednesday that had already beaten Tom Maley’s side in the league as well as drawing the return fixture. City were challenging for the title and were determined to bring some silverware back to Hyde Road so this game was pivotal in the 1903/04 season.
Inspired by Billy Meredith, City won 3-1 in front of a crowd 53,000 – easily the most they’d ever played in front of – with goals from Meredith, Gillespie and Turnbull sending the Blues through to the final against Bolton.
6: March 18, 1933: Derby County 2 City 3 (Leeds Road)
The Blues returned to the last four of the FA Cup having lost to Arsenal the previous year, more determined than ever to make it to the final. Wilf Wild had fashioned a side capable of ecstatic highs or demoralising lows – if ever a season when the words ‘typical City’ were first said, this was it!
The game against the Rams proved to be exciting and ebbed and flowed and the 51,961 crowd lapped it up. Goals from Ernie Toseland, Fred Tilson and Jimmy McMullan proved enough to send City through, though they would lose 3-0 to Everton in the final.
Part 2 on Thursday...
City are back in Premier League action on Wednesday against Wigan - get your tickets here.