After significant spells at Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Paul Birch had a season with Exeter City immediately ahead of finishing his professional career. He was later to die from cancer at the age of forty-six.
Paul began his career at Aston Villa and worked his way through the youth system to make his first team debut in August 1983. Having signed professionally in 1980 he made 173 league appearances for Villa (scoring 20 goals) before a transfer to Wolverhampton Wanderers in February 1991 for a fee of £400,000. Enjoying a testimonial game at Villa Park, Paul netted 15 goals from 142 league appearances for the Molineux club and had a short spell on loan with Preston North End during 1995/96 before agreeing terms with Doncaster Rovers for whom he was to have 27 league outings.
Joining Exeter City in the latter stages of the 1996/97 seasons, Paul made his Grecians debut against Mansfield Town on 29 March 1997 although he only managed one more appearance before being sidelined with injury.
Featuring in the majority of City’s games in 1997/98, Paul had 36 league and cup outings scoring five times along the way. He marked his final game for the club, and in first-class football, with a goal against Macclesfield on 2 May 1998.
Paul then returned to the Midlands to play for Halesowen Town and work for the Royal Mail whilst later becoming assistant manager of Forest Green Rovers and coaching young players at Birmingham City. After contracting the disease in May 2008, Paul Birch died from bone cancer in February 2009 at the age of forty-six.