Sunday, February 21, 2010
League cup history
Next week Villa take on Manchester United in the League Cup final, or the Carling Cup as it is known at present. Villa have previousy won 5 of the last 7 league cup finals that they have appeared in includig an impressive win over United in 1994. However, United are the holders and Villa haven't won the cup or any other major trophy since defeating Leeds 3-0 im 1996.
The league cup was originally the idea of Alan Hardaker who was secretary of the football league between 1957 and 1979. His idea was to have a mid week cup that would make use of the relatively new floodlights around the country and the format of a 2 legged competition was seen as advantageous to lower division teams. This wasn't popular with some of the bigger clubs, but the inaugaral tournament in 1961, which was won by Villa was deemed a success. In 1966 winning the league cup led to a place in the UEFA Cup, as it still does when one of the big 4 don't win it. In 1967 the tournment made yet more concessions to the bigger clubs when the tournament final was a one off at Wembley instead of a 2 legged affair and a crowd of 98000+ fans saw QPR beat West Brom 3-2.
In 1982 the league cup became the first major tournament in the UK to be sponsored when the Milk Marketing Board had its name changed to the Milk Cup and Liverpool beat Spurs 3-1. Since then the League Cup has been known as the Littlewoods Cup, Rumbelows, Coca Cola, Worhington and is now the Carling Cup.
The League Cup has been devalued a little bit over the last few years, as certain teams put out weakened teams, Arsenal probably being the most guilty of this. However, teams from the top 4 often win it and in general it offers the best opportunity for the rest to win something. Maybe for this reason and the fact that there are no non-league teams in the competition a lot of the hocks of the tounament are forgotten. However, there have been some notable giant killing scenes. In 1974-5 Chester beat Leeds. In 1995-6 York beat Man United 3-0 at Old Trafford and Grimsby beat Liverpool in 2002 and Spurs in 2005.
Liverpool hold the record number of final victories and final appearances winning 7 out of 10 of the finals they have appeared in.
Top: Dalian and Ron Atkinson celebrate Villa's win over Man United in 1994
Below: Villa players including Ugo Ehiogu and Mark Bosnich celebrate the win over Leeds