Latics To Birmingham - The Connections
There is a lot more than the M6 connecting Birmingham City with Wigan Athletic, an ex-manager for starters, plus his entire backroom staff, of course I'm talking about Steve Bruce who managed both the Latics and Birmingham before he moved on to bigger and better things.
Forget about ye olde Potato Yed, there is still enough names that have represented both the blue of the Latics and the blue of the Brum to make a nice little list:
Archie Gemmill: Birmingham 1979-82 Wigan 1982-83
Stuart Storer: Birmingham 1985-87 Wigan 1987-88
Kevin Langley: Wigan 1981-86/90-94 Birmingham 1987-90
Andy Saville: Birmingham 1992-95 Wigan 1996-98
Leigh Jenkinson: Birmingham 1993-94 Wigan 1998-99
Mark Ward: Birmingham 1993-96 Wigan 1996-97
Matt Jackson: Birmingham 1996-97 Wigan 2001-2007
Mike Newell: Wigan 1983-86 Birmingham 1996-97
Terry Cooke: Birmingham 1996-97 Wigan 1999-2000
Peter Atherton: Wigan 1987-92 Birmingham 2000-01
Mark Burchill: Birmingham 2000-01 Wigan 2003-04
Emile Heskey: Birmingham 2004-06 Wigan 2006-09
Nicky Eaden: Birmingham 2000-02 Wigan 2002-04
Geoff Horsfield: Birmingham 2000-03 Wigan 2003-04
Jeff Kenna: Wigan 2001-02 Birmingham 2001-04
Mario Melchiot: Birmingham 2004 -06 Wigan 2007 - 2010
Jean Beausejour: Birmingham 2010-12 Wigan 2012-14.
Wigan Athletic all time appearance record holder Kevin Langley featured for Birmingham over three seasons but he found his way 'home' when he re-signed for the Latics in 1990 five years after leaving for Everton, Kevin's son Josh is a second year pro and plays regularly for the reserves.
Four other Latics Legends, Matt Jackson, Emile Heskey, Peter Atherton and Mario Melchiot also had spells at Birmingham.
Perhaps the most poignant connection of all goes back to 1978 when Latics were a non-league club; having applied for election to the old fourth division on more than 30 occasions it appeared that we would never be successful in the quest to get amongst the professional game.
Having fought their way past Marine (3-0, 4th qualifying round), York City (1-0, 1st round) and Sheffield Wednesday (1-0, 2nd round) the Latics were drawn to face Birmingham City of the 1st Division (Premier League), who were managed by England's World Cup winning boss Sir Alf Ramsey and a team of players who were household names.
Latics lost the cup tie at St Andrews 4-0 that day in front of 29,202, but made a very influential friend, Alf Ramsey was so taken by the professionalism of the Latics as a club that he promised to canvas our cause around the other top flight clubs who would vote on re-election at the League's AGM in June that year.
Well whatever Ramsey said worked, after a tie with Southport on 22 votes each, Latics won the re-vote and the rest as they say is history.