Definitions

paint pot

Football League Trophy

Football League Trophy
|- Founded
1983
Number of Teams
48
Current Champions
MK Dons
Current Season
Football League Trophy 2008–09
Country

Most successful club(s)
Birmingham City, Blackpool, Bristol City, Port Vale, Stoke City, Swansea City & Wigan Athletic
(2 times champions each)

The Football League Trophy is the generic name of an English football competition for clubs in the two lower divisions of The Football League and, in some seasons, the leading sides in the Conference National. It was originally called the Associate Members' Cup (an anachronism as there is now no distinction between full and associate membership of the Football League).

The official name is periodically changed to match changes in sponsors and is now the Johnstone's Paint Trophy (for three years from 2006), the common nickname amongst the fans for the cup during this period is the "Paint Pot Trophy","Paint Pot Cup" or "Paint Trophy" .

Seven clubs share the record for most wins in the competition with two successes apiece, but no club has yet won the tournament for a third time. Bristol City and Carlisle United have both reached the final the greatest number of times (4), with Bristol City having won twice, 1986 and 2003, to the single victory achieved by Carlisle in 1997.

Structure

The Trophy is currently contested by just Football League One and Football League Two clubs and, from season 2006-07, is played in a knock-out (single elimination) format in two regional sections (except in Round 1, where these sections are sub-divided to create 4 regional sections). As in the Football League Cup, the semifinals are two-legged. The final, which is traditionally held at Wembley, was played at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, from 2001 to 2007 because of Wembley's redevelopment, returning to Wembley in 2008.

History

The competition for Third and Fourth (as they were before 1992) Division clubs dates back to the 1983-84 season. Early cup competitions for third-tier clubs include the individual Football League Third Division North Cup and Football League Third Division South Cup from 1934 to 1939.

Prior to 1984 there had been a couple of different attempts to fill the gap in the calendar left by the collapse of the Texaco Cup-Anglo-Scottish Cup in 1981. The 1982-83 season saw the setting up of the Football League Group Cup, a competition which was re-named the Football League Trophy for the 1983-84 season. However unlike the present Football League Trophy, these competitions were not limited to lower-division clubs.

Various attempts have been made to solve the problem of reducing the 48 lower-division clubs to a round power of two (which is required for a knockout tournament): often the first round of the cup was played in round-robin groups of three; at other times the more senior clubs have been given byes into the second round. The addition of 8 or 12 (rather than 16) teams from the Conference (from 2000-01 to 2005-06) has not solved this problem. This season, 16 teams of the bottom two League divisions will receive byes, and the remaining 32 will play the first round in four regional sections.

The tournament was widely considered to have been devalued when it was announced in March 2006 that, following a change of corporate ownership, LDV was withdrawing its sponsorship of the competition (1), meaning that no prize money would be paid to the winners of the 2006 final. It was noted, however, that LDV's website continued to trumpet the firm's sponsorship arrangement until May 2006. The final was held under the banner of simply the Football League Trophy, and it was announced that a new sponsor would be sought. In May the League announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Johnstone's Paint.

The current holders of the Football League Trophy are Milton Keynes Dons, having beaten Grimsby Town in the Final 2-0 on 30 March 2008 at Wembley Stadium.

For the 2008/2009 season, Leicester City will make their first appearance in the trophy following their relegation to League 1; they will be the only first-timer as every other club has appeared in the tournament before.

Crowd attendances

The competition is not considered a priority, with many clubs opting to field below-strength teams, particularly in the earlier rounds. A new rule from the 2006-7 season aims to stop this, with teams now obliged to play at least 6 of the players with the most appearances in their respective positions (for the season to date) or face a fine. Supporters, too, apparently lack enthusiasm for the competition, with crowds usually falling well below the level considered acceptable (or, indeed, commercially viable) for senior football. For example, in November 2005, Peterborough United (with an average crowd of approximately 4,500) attracted just 969 people to their game against Swindon Town, whilst Swansea City (with an average gate of some 15,000) saw a mere 5,321 people attend their tie with Rushden & Diamonds. Nottingham Forest had the lowest attendance in their history, with just 2,013 fans turning up for the tie against Brentford. During their exile more than away at Macclesfield Town between moving grounds, Chester City attracted just 409 fans against Bury in November 1990 and 420 in the following year's competition against Darlington.

However, the first round tie between Leeds United and Bradford City on September 2, 2008 attracted 20,128 people to Elland Road. The highest attendance for any game in this competition, outside of the final, came on March 3, 1993, when Stoke City played Port Vale at the Victoria Ground in front of a crowd of 22,267.

The record attendance for the final is 80,841, for the Sherpa Van Trophy Final match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley at Wembley on May 29 1988. Wolves are the only former English football champions to win the Trophy; Burnley and Huddersfield Town have been finalists once each.

Names

  • Associate Members' Cup (1983-1984 - official unsponsored name until 1992)
  • Freight Rover Trophy (1984-1987)
  • Sherpa Van Trophy (1987-1989)
  • Leyland DAF Cup (1989-1991)
  • Autoglass Trophy (1991-1994)
  • Auto Windscreens Shield (1994-2000)
  • LDV Vans Trophy (2000-2006)
  • Football League Trophy (2006 - final only, but the official unsponsored name since 1992)
  • Johnstone's Paint Trophy (from 2006)

Past Finals

The Associate Members Cup

The Freight Rover Trophy

Sherpa Vans Trophy

Leyland DAF Cup

Autoglass Trophy

Autowindscreens Shield

LDV Vans Trophy

Football League Trophy

Johnstone's Paint Trophy

See also

References

External links

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