Blues’ owner completes land deal for ‘world-class’ Sports Quarter with new stadium

Birmingham City FC will have a new home after its new owner completed the purchase of a 48-acre site in Bordesley Park.

Knighthead has set out its ambitions of building a globally renowned Sports Quarter on the former Wheels Park, with plans to build a multi-use stadium, high-performance training facilities and a range of entertainment options all within walking distance of the city centre. 

Once operational, the Sports Quarter is expected to generate more than 3,000 full-time jobs and be a world-class venue that will bring international sporting events to the region. 

Plans led by Knighthead Co-CEO and BCFC Chairman, Tom Wagner and BCFC CEO, Garry Cook, will see Blues move from St. Andrews at Knighthead Park to the new stadium. Community pitches and commercial space are also part of the offering, in a bid for the club to make a “positive contribution to people from all backgrounds across the city”. 

American hedge fund manager Wagner took over Blues last May and announced a vision for the Sports Quarter that will place Birmingham on the global stage.

He has committed to injecting £58m into the club by the beginning of next year after Blues reported an increase in pre-tax loss of £25.3m for the last financial year.

Birmingham City Council agreed to sell the site on March 28 at a Cabinet Committee planning meeting to an undisclosed buyer, rumoured at the time to be Blues. The deal extends Blues’ footprint to more than 60 acres, excluding its current stadium. 

The sale forms part of the authority’s fire sale of £750m of assets that will pay back part of the £1.255bn received in Exceptional Financial Support (EFS) from the Government

Tom Wagner, Knighthead Co-CEO and BCFC Chairman said: “When we invested in Birmingham City, we made it very clear that we had an ambitious vision to transform the experience for our fans and make a positive contribution to the growth and vitality of the city of Birmingham. The acquisition of the former Wheels site is an important next step in making this a reality. 

“The plans for the Sports Quarter will bring global interest to our Club and to Birmingham as a whole. It is going to transform the future of our men’s, women’s and Academy teams, and the fortunes of the community that we call home. We are excited to collaborate with the fans, the local community, and key partners in Birmingham to deliver on our plans for the Sports Quarter.”

Garry Cook, CEO of Birmingham City Football Club, said: “The Birmingham City story dates back to 1875 when the Small Heath Alliance team was formed. A blue thread based on teamwork, entertainment and unbreakable community spirit was created. This is the strength of our brand. Our owners have an ambition that is greater than anything this Club has ever seen, and when we deliver it the impact on the global reputation of Birmingham will be seismic.

“Tom Wagner, in his May 8th 2023 Letter to Fans, asked supporters to hold Knighthead accountable to six commitments. One of those was for Birmingham City Football Club to build on the pivotal role it plays in the economic, social, and cultural landscape in the city, making sure it is always a cornerstone and positive force for good in the local community. Without doubt, today’s announcement delivers on this commitment.”

Birmingham City Council leader Cllr John Cotton said: “This is a huge moment for everyone associated with Birmingham City FC, and I’m sure Knighthead’s ambitious vision will excite Blues fans everywhere. I want to thank our council officers who have worked so closely with the club and these exciting plans will regenerate the area, creating thousands of much needed jobs. Hopefully this is the first step on a journey to Birmingham once again being home to two Premier League football clubs.”