She has been the driving force behind Birmingham City's rise from the ashes since she joined the the club in 1993. But does Karren Brady now believe she has nothing left to achieve at St Andrew's? Neil Connor explores the rise of one of the region's most high-profile businesswomen

When Birmingham City Council this year voted against backing plans for a new super stadium at the site of a racing car track in Saltley, there was no-one more disappointed than Karren Brady.

A massive sports complex for the city and a new home for the Blues had been talked about for years, if not decades, but it was the club's managing director who had driven forward this dynamic project.

Ms Brady could sense that for all the strides that Birmingham City had made since she first walked into the boardroom as a 23-year-old, it was this project that could almost immediately propel the Blues alongside the Premiership elite.

Sitting alongside council chiefs, sporting executives and officials from Warwickshire County Cricket Club at meetings discussing Birmingham's new Sports Village, it was Brady who most enthusiastically threw her weight behind the scheme.

But when council officials decided to back plans for a super casino at the National Exhibition Centre, rather than the Blues' potential new home, the next level for Birmingham City seemed out of reach.

The project could have seen Blues' Premiership gates of almost 30,000 being increased to 55,000 following the implementation of a pioneering community scheme at the new stadium.

Now the club has to go back to the drawing board in finding ways to develop their hemmed-in St Andrew's ground, which is restricted at all four ends by two roads, a railway line and a row of listed houses. Furthermore, results on the pitch have seen Blues being relegated from the Premiership and experiencing crowds 10,000 lower than last season.

The dream of Blues being considered among the Premiership elite may seem further away now than when a modern new 'super stadium' was in the pipeline.

But Ms Brady's impact on the club - together with the arrival of the Gold brothers and David Sullivan at Blues - has been impressive.

In the late 1980s, she had worked at a London radio station and Saatchi & Saatchi before joining joining Sport Newspapers, where she was made a director within a year.

When she joined Blues, the club was in turmoil; stuck in receivership and struggling in Division One with an average home gate of just 6,000.

After experiencing prejudice in certain football circles because of her gender (she was understood to have been refused entry to the Notts County board room), Ms Brady helped Blues achieve a profit for the first time in its modern history in 1996.

She became the youngest managing director of a PLC in the UK when she took Blues on to the stock market in 1997.

Ms Brady also developed her television profile, hosting her own show The Brady Bunch and guest presenting Loose Women and Live Talk.

She was a finalist in the Midlands Businesswoman of the Year in 2000 and was named by Cosmopolitan as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2004.

The club finally achieved promotion to the Premiership in 2002 and, two years later, Ms Brady began developing the stadium idea with council leisure bosses.

Earlier this year, Ms Brady underwent surgery after doctors discovered she had an aneurysm on her brain. The operation was considered a success and appears to have not diluted Ms Brady's enthusiasm for her work.

The lack of progress with the stadium scheme would not in any way diminish the impressive record of the Brady era at Blues, but her own high expectations might leave her looking for new challenges elsewhere.