Top Ten: League Cup finals

Last updated: 17th March 2008

Whether it was called the Worthington Cup, the Coca Cola Cup or the Carling Cup, we look back at the best showpieces

Our list spans the five decades from the early 60s to the present day, from the upsets of Stoke and Swindon in the 1970s to the domination of Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in the 1980s.

1 - 1961: Aston Villa 3-2 Rotherham United (on agg).

The very first final took place at the start of the 1961-62 season after delays in the tournament, which was originally designed as a midweek affair to take advantage of the fact that most football grounds could now boast floodlights.

After claiming a 2-0 win in the first-leg, the minnows from Yorkshire looked on course for an upset, but it was not to be.

Villa came back to level matters and sent the game into extra time and the home fans were sent into raptures as Northern Ireland international Peter McParland fired home from Joe Mercer's cross.

2 - 1967: QPR 3-2 West Brom

The first ever League Cup final staged at Wembley meant the end of the two-legged finals.

It also made its mark as Queens Park Rangers of the third division - as it was - defeated West Brom 3-2 to deny The Baggies the chance to retain the trophy after they had beaten West Ham the year before.

Rangers, who were making their first appearance at Wembley, were 2-0 down at half-time as Clive Clark scored twice.

But the West London outfit battled back with Roger Morgan grabbing one back before the brilliant Rodney Marsh waltzed his way through a flurry of challenges before firing home the equaliser.

The winner came with just nine minutes left as Mark Lazarus pounced to the delight of the thousands of Rangers fans.

3 - 1972: Chelsea 0-1 Stoke

A huge upset in '72 saw Stoke City beat Chelsea in the final.

Chelsea came into the game having won the FA Cup and Uefa Cup winners' Cup in the previous two seasons - but Stoke were on a high after beating the mighty West Ham in the semi-finals and Gordon Banks inspired his team to victory in-front of nearly 100,000 fans.

The winner came late on as 35-year-old George Eastham fired home to give Stoke their first major honour in their history. Over a quarter of million people turned out on the streets of Stoke to welcome back their heroes to the City.

4 - 1978: Liverpool 0-1 Nottingham Forest (replay)

Nottingham Forest captured the trophy for the first time in a final which also marked Liverpool's first ever appearance in the Football League showpiece event. Both would go on to become two of the most successful teams in the competition's history.

Liverpool went into the game as European champions, against a Forest side who were on their way to claiming the league title later in the season.

Forest would go on to succeed Liverpool as European champions - so the tie was a mouthwatering prospect by anybody's standards, indeed it is arguably the most high-profile final ever seen.

Two footballing legends were at the respective helms in the shape of Brian Clough and Bob Paisley and it was the Forest boss who won out on this occasion.

The first game ended in a 0-0 draw at Wembley, which meant a replay at Old Trafford. There Forest claimed victory thanks to a penalty from John Robertson.

5 - 1984: Everton 0-1 Liverpool (replay)

This was the last of Liverpool's historic quartet of straight victories, a feat which has never been close to being matched.

Now the Milk Cup after the League Cup name was dropped, the game also marked the first ever local derby and the only one to this date as Everton set-up an all Merseyside affair.

It was the first meeting between the two rivals at Wembley, although the tie was decided away from London as the first match ended goalless which meant a replay at Manchester City's Maine Road.

The only goal was a special one as captain Graeme Souness fired home from long-range.

6 - 1988: Arsenal 2-3 Luton

This marked Luton's first major trophy. The previous years had seen the likes of Norwich and Oxford succeed in similar fashion, but Luton's victory was extra special as they overcame the mighty Arsenal.

The Littlewoods Cup triumph for The Hatters is remembered as one of the great finals.

Brian Stein gave the underdogs the lead, but goals from Martin Hayes and Alan Smith looked to have set up victory for George Graham's outfit.

Then Nigel Winterburn saw a penalty saved by Andy Dibble - this proved the turning point. Danny Wilson leveled matters with a scrambled effort before a late volley from Stein secured victory for Ray Harford's men.

7 - 1991: Man Utd 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday had pulled of a major achievement by making the Rumbelows Cup final and their ambition for the season remained promotion to the top-flight - which they achieved.

The opponents were Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson's side were red hot favourites having won the FA Cup the year before and were well in contention for the Uefa Cup Winners Cup - which they went on to win.

But Ron Atkinson, against his former club, masterminded victory. The hero was John Sheridan as The Owls claimed a memorable win.

8 - 1997: Leicester 1-0 Middlesbrough (replay)

1997 was the first time in over ten years that one of the country's top teams had not made it to the final as Leicester City met Middlesbrough.

Boro were one of the country's top-footballing sides with millions spent on the likes of Juninho, Emerson and Fabrizio Ravanelli - but Martin O'Neill had created one of the toughest sides in the Premiership and it was the Foxes who were victorious.

The match at Wembley went to extra-time and Ravanelli looked to have grabbed the winner, but in the final minute Emile Heskey scored to take the game to a replay at Hillsborough.

The replay again went to extra-time - this time there was only one goal in it and it was Steve Claridge who scored to seal a memorable triumph for The Foxes.

Boro also went on to lose the FA Cup final, get relegated and also lose the League Cup final to Chelsea the following year.

9 - 2004: Bolton 1-2 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough - Boro suffered agony in the 1990s with two successive cup final defeats, but they finally ended their 128-year wait for a trophy in 2004.

They faced Sam Allardyce's Bolton in the final and it was a thrilling affair from first to last.

Indeed Boro had taken the lead within two minutes as Joseph Desire Job converted the fastest goal in League Cup final history, although that record lasted just 12 months when John Arne Riise scored for Liverpool in their defeat against Chelsea.

Just five minutes later Bolo Zenden's controversial penalty - replays showed he kicked the ball twice - doubled Boro's advantage.

Mark Schwarzer's blunder then gifted Kevin Davies a goal but Boro managed to hang-on and seal victory.

10 - 2007: Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

The last final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium was a pulsating and in the end controversial one as Chelsea claimed their third League Cup in nine-years.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger continued with his decision to field his youthful second-string side, which had played in every round.

Wenger's decision looked more than worthwhile as Theo Walcott fired them ahead, but Chelsea soon levelled when Didier Drogba struck.

The second half is when the match erupted. Chelsea skipper John Terry was accidentally kicked in the head by Abou Diaby and was rushed to hospital after being knocked unconscious.

This meant seven minutes of added time, but that was far from the finished strory as an additional five further minutes was needed as Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor and John Obi Mikel were all sent off following a mass fracas.

The 'Snarling' Cup final as it was later referred to, was seen as a less than fitting end to life at The Millennium Stadium which admirably hosted England's second showpiece event.


Geoff Porter (Peterborough United fan) says...

When I saw the link, I thought to myself. I bet Swindons win against Arsenal isnt there. How right I was. How can you possibly miss that one eh?

Posted 09:57 20th April 2008

Tony Pulis (Stoke City fan) says...

Stoke City 2 v 1 Chelsea

Posted 12:19 28th March 2008

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