Considering our subsequent success in the Football League Cup it is interesting to recall that we ignored the competition for the first six years of its existence.
We have won the tournament in 1971, 1973, 1999 and 2008; being losing finalists in 1982, 2002 and 2009; and reached the semi-finals in 1969, 1972, 1976, 1987, 1992 and 2006.
Yet when it was launched in the 1960-61 season Bill Nicholson’s side had other things on their collective minds!
Aston Villa were the inaugural winners, defeating Rotherham United 3-2 in the final over two legs. The first final held at Wembley was in 1967.
The original idea was that the League Cup would act as a consolation for clubs already knocked out of the FA Cup. It also served as a midweek floodlit tournament at a time when evening games were still a bit of a novelty and overall attendances were beginning to fade.
However once a place in Europe was on offer, as was a Wembley final, the competition’s standing was improved and by 1968-69 only Manchester United declined to participate. Everton chose not to compete in 1970 so that they could concentrate their efforts on the European Cup.
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