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Played for both: Birmingham City

25 November 2016

Four players who have enjoyed success for both Brentford and Birmingham City

Martin Grainger: Brentford, 124 appearances, 16 goals; Birmingham City, 266 appearances, 28 goals

A tough-tackling left back with a thunderous free-kick, Grainger drew comparisons with Stuart Pearce during his time at Griffin Park. Martin’s best season at Griffin Park came during the 1994/95 campaign as The Bees missed out on promotion to Birmingham City. Martin found the net seven times in the league that season, all in Brentford wins, and netted from the spot in the Play-Off Semi-Final Second leg against Huddersfield Town, which The Bees would eventually lose on penalties. A £400,000 offer saw him head up the M40 the following March to Birmingham City where he would become a crowd favourite during his eight year stint in the Midlands. He was a regular as Blues reached the Play-Offs four years in a row between 1999 and 2002, playing in the 2002 final against Norwich City when promotion was finally secured. Martin managed just 13 Premier League appearances over two seasons before retiring in 2004 due to injury.

Clayton Donaldson: Brentford, 155 appearances, 53 goals; Birmingham City, 104 appearances, 31 goals

The powerful striker arrived at Griffin Park in July 2011 after a stellar spell with Crewe Alexandra. After a slow first season in League One where he found the net 11 times, Donaldson hit his straps during the 2012/13 season. He scored 24 times in all competitions, firing The Bees to the Play-Off finals before defeat to Yeovil Town. Clayton was at it again the following season, playing every game as promotion to the Sky Bet Championship was secured. He netted crucial goals in wins over Walsall, Peterborough United, Swindon Town, and Tranmere Rovers before leaving for Birmingham at the end of the campaign. He took the step up to the Championship in his stride, netting 15 goals in 46 league games during his first season, following that up with another 11 goals last year. So far this campaign he has netted four goals, all in Blues wins, in 15 appearances as he closes in on 150 professional goals.

Steve Phillips: Brentford, 167 appearances, 69 goals; Birmingham City, 27 appearances, 1 goal

London-born, Phillips came through the ranks in the second-city but found appearances hard to come by as Blues earned promotion to the top flight in 1972. The presence of England Internationals Trevor Francis and Bob Latchford, limited Phillips to just 13 league appearances in four Division One seasons before a move to Division Four Northampton Town. After two unspectacular years at Sixfields, he followed manager Bill Dodgin to Griffin Park in February 1977. His seven goals in 19 games ensured The Bees didn’t suffer the ignominy of having to apply for re-election to the Football League that May. 12 months later and Bees fans were celebrating for a different reason as his 32 league goals, alongside Andy McCulloch, fired the team to promotion. His goalscoring exploits saw him win the Golden Boot award and the March Evening Standard Player of the Month prize. Steve scored 14 goals the following season and 12 in his final year at Griffin Park as Brentford consolidated in Division Three. In total, he made 167 consecutive Bees appearances before returning to Northampton in 1980.

Isaiah Rankin: Brentford, 97 appearances, 19 goals; Birmingham City, 13 appearances, 4 goals

As a youngster at Arsenal, Isaiah made one substitute appearance for The Gunners during the 1998 title winning season before moving to Bradford that summer. It was while at Valley Parade that he spent a four-month loan spell at Birmingham City, scoring four goals to help Blues make the Championship Play-Offs. Isaiah’s career looked to be fizzling out after unsuccessful spells at Barnsley and Grimsby before Martin Allen signed him, aged 26, in 2004. Never one to give less than his all, Isaiah was a regular as The Bees made the FA Cup Fifth Round and League One Play-Offs in consecutive seasons. Some of Isaiah’s best moments were reserved for the Cup including his goal at St Mary’s in the 2-2 FA Cup Fifth Round draw with Southampton in February 2005, later voted the Goal of the Round, and the late winner at Stockport in the Third Round win the following season.

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