The first season (1976-77) saw Football League Division Three sides Port Vale and Chester meet. They had both reached the fifth round before losing to Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively.
The games were played at the end of the campaign, shortly after a league meeting between the sides at Vale Park, which was to host the first leg. Goals from Neil Griffiths and Ken Beamish gave Vale a 2-0 victory that left them as firm favourites to win the trophy. But on a memorable night at Sealand Road, Stuart Mason, David Burns, Neil Griffiths (own goal) and Ian Howat found the net for Chester to give them a 4-1 victory on then night and a 4-3 success on aggregate. It was their first national trophy.
With Third Division champions Wrexham having players away on international duty, Blyth took advantage and claimed a 2-1 win in North Wales thanks to goals from Terry Johnson and Dave Varty. The latter scored again in the return game as Blyth hung on to draw 1-1 and win 3-2 on aggregate and become the second name on the trophy. They were to be the last.
The reasons why the competition did not continue are not clear. In February 2001, Chester met Blyth in the FA Trophy and the match programme contained an article by the club historians of the two teams. The article said the whereabouts of the Debenhams Cup trophy are not known by either club, Debenhams or the FA.
There has not been a similar competition since, although the Football League Trophy has given lower division teams the chance to win a national cup competition.
|1977||Chester||4-3 (agg)||Port Vale||0-2 Vale Park; 4-1 Sealand Road.|
|1978||Blyth Spartans||3-2 (agg)||Wrexham||2-1 Racecourse Ground; 1-1 Croft Park.|