Crossing the Divide: 8 Players Who Played for Both Aston Villa & Birmingham in Recent Years

Steve Bruce is set to return to his former stomping ground this weekend, when he brings his Aston Villa side to St Andrews'.


Yet, in recent years, few players have dared to don both the claret and blue of Villa and the royal blue of Birmingham.


Here's a look back at the small number who have turned out for both clubs.

1. Curtis Davies

Davies spent three and a half years at Villa Park and was part of Martin O'Neill's side which very nearly finished in the Champions League places.


The defender eventually lost his place in the Villa team and moved to Birmingham in 2011.


Like a number of players on this list, Davies also played for West Midlands rivals West Brom.

2. Uliises De La Cruz

Birmingham fans could be forgiven for forgetting about De La Cruz, seeing as the full-back only played one game for the club.


However, Villa fans will undoubtedly remember the Ecuadorian, who spent four years at Villa Park. 


Since retiring, De La Cruz has moved into politics in his homeland, and has been named a UNICEF ambassador due to his charitable work.

3. Craig Gardner

Gardner came through the youth ranks at Villa and played 80 games for club, before moving to his boyhood club Birmingham in 2010.


In his first stint at the Blues Gardner helped his side win the 2011 League Cup, but left the club that summer, following their relegation to the Championship.


After stints with Sunderland and West Brom the midfielder returned to St Andrews' last season.

4. Emile Heskey

Steve Bruce managed to lure former Leicester front man Heskey back to the Midlands in 2004, and he spent two years at Birmingham.


Following the club's relegation to the Championship, Heskey moved to Wigan, and then to Villa in 2008.


The striker didn't particularly enjoy his time in the second city, and managed just 30 goals in 188 appearances for both clubs.

5. Kevin Phillips

Phillips scored the winner in Villa's first Premier League victory over the Blues in 2006, having recently arrived from Southampton.


The striker only managed a year at Villa Park, before moving to local rivals West Brom, and then Birmingham.


Phillips was a vital part of the Blues side who gained promotion in 2009. 

6. Liam Ridgewell

Ridgewell was a key player for Villa in the 2005/06 season, having came through the club's youth system.

However, the defender lost his place under Martin O'Neill and was sold to Birmingham in 2007, becoming the first player to move directly between the clubs in 23 years.


Ridgewell formed part of a solid back-four under Alex McLeish, which helped the Blues win the League Cup in 2011.

7. Scott Sinclair

Sinclair joined Birmingham on loan during the 2008/09 season, and helped the club gain promotion to the Premier League.


Whilst at Manchester City, the winger was again sent on loan, this time to Villa in 2015.


After half a season at the club, Sinclair was signed permanently by Tim Sherwood ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.

8. Chris Sutton

Birmingham and Aston Villa were in fact Chris Sutton's last professional clubs.


The striker only managed one goal for each side, with his solitary strike for Birmingham actually coming against the Villans.


Martin O'Neill convinced the former Celtic man to join him at Villa Park in 2006, but he was forced to retire later that season with an eye injury.

Eight players who played for both Aston Villa and Birmingham City ahead of this Sunday's Second City Derby.