Bluebirds & Blues | Five Familiar Faces
As the Bluebirds welcome Birmingham City to Cardiff City Stadium in our final home game of the campaign on Saturday, we take a look at five players to have represented both clubs.
Having joined Birmingham City from Derby County in September 2007, Mutch made an instant impression on then-manager Alex McLeish, so much so that be became the club’s second youngest debutant of all time.
Coming on as a half-time replacement for Gary McSheffrey in a League Cup tie at Southampton, the midfielder made his first Blues appearance at 16 years and 268 days, a record which was only trumped by Trevor Francis, with the accolade now held by Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
Mutch went on to play a big part at St Andrew’s, none more so than in the 2011/12 campaign, notably netting a brilliant 25-yard strike at West Ham United’s Upton Park to secure a Play-Off position in a dramatic 3-3 draw.
Making the move to the Welsh capital in 2012, the playmaker started each of City’s final eight league fixtures on the way to the Championship title, despite an injury-hit season for the midfielder.
In the following campaign, Mutch played a key part in securing the Bluebirds’ first top-flight away win since November 1961, finding the top corner with a fantastic injury-time strike at Fulham.
Goalkeeper Etheridge became a Bluebird in May 2017 on a free transfer from Walsall, and quickly made the starting spot between the sticks his own.
His first season in the Welsh capital was a remarkable one, with the stopper featuring in 45 of 46 league matches and keeping 19 clean sheets on the way to promotion to the Premier League.
In the first game of the following campaign, Etheridge’s start against Bournemouth saw him make history, becoming the first player from the Philippines to feature in the top flight.
The shot-stopper marked the occasion in style by saving a penalty from striker Callum Wilson, before repeating the feat the following week by denying Kenedy of Newcastle United from the spot.
Departing CCS in September 2020 for Birmingham, Etheridge made his first appearance for the Blues against Swansea City, keeping a clean sheet in a goalless draw.
Impressing in his early days at Wycombe Wanderers, Johnson caught the attention of the Bluebirds and joined City in 2006.
The defender quickly made an impact and formed a formidable defensive partnership with Dutch centre-back Glenn Loovens.
Johnson will be renowned for his performances in a City shirt in the 2007/28 campaign, netting a memorable second goal in the FA Cup Quarter-Final victory over Middlesbrough by heading home Peter Whittingham’s free-kick.
Playing in all six of the Bluebirds’ games on the path to the FA Cup Final, Johnson was acknowledged for his efforts with the club’s Player of the Year Award.
After continuing his brilliant showings for City, the defender moved to Birmingham City in June 2009, where he was more fortunate at Wembley, assisting Nikola Žigić’s opening goal as the Blues defeated Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup Final.
Fellow defender Purse is another to have represented both clubs ,and will be fondly renowned by Blues fans for his performances at St Andrew’s.
As a brilliant League Cup campaign in 2001 saw Birmingham reach the Final against Liverpool; Purse stepped up with a dramatic 90th minute leveller to take the game to extra time and netted his spot-kick in the shootout, only for the Reds to win 5-4.
With a spell at West Bromwich Albion prior to his move to the Welsh capital, Purse became a Bluebird in 2005 and was quickly appointed club captain.
The defender formed a habit of netting in the League Cup against Liverpool, as he headed City onto the scoresheet at Anfield in the 2007/08 campaign.
Purse returned to CCS in December, being appointed manager of the U23s side, who defeated Coventry City in their most recent fixture.
Much like Etheridge, winger Burke signed for the Bluebirds on a free transfer and went on to become a key component of Dave Jones' side.
A purple patch for the Scotsman came in December 2009 as he scored in three consecutive games, including winners against Preston North End and Middlesbrough.
Joining Birmingham City in 2011, the winger was part of Blues history, as he made the starting eleven in the club’s first match in European competition in nearly 50 years, facing Portuguese side Nacional in the Europa League Play-Off round.
Burke’s spell at St Andrew’s was very productive, picking up the club’s Player of the Year Award, as well as Players’ and Junior Blues’ Player of the Year awards on the Blues’ way to a Championship Play-Off Semi-Final defeat.
Looking back at his time at CCS earlier this season, Burke expressed he values the club very highly.
“It’s a football club that will always be in my heart. I know it’s easy for football players to say that, but I really do mean it. I felt at home, even though I wasn’t at home. They gave me a chance to resurrect my career again, so I can only thank the club, the manager, the players and the fans.”