By MFF | Updated on 2nd FEB 2020
During the late 1950’s, the majority of senior English clubs equipped their grounds with floodlights. This opened up the opportunity to exploit weekday evenings throughout the winter.
The League Cup was introduced in the 1960–61 season specifically as a mid-week floodlit tournament. In the early years of the competition, many of the top teams declined to take part.
The switch from a two-legged home and away Final to a single game at Wembley greatly enhanced the status of the League Cup in 1967, Queens Park Rangers of the Third Division beating First Division opposition West Bromwich Albion in a memorable match.
Season 1969-70 saw the first time that all 92 League clubs entered the competition – something which became compulsory from season 1971-72 onward.
From 1980-81 the Football League Cup has had a title sponsor, with the exception of 2016-17. Following are the Football League Cup various titles and sponsors:
- 1960-61 to 1979-80 – Football League Cup, no title sponsor
- 1980-81 to 1985-86 – Milk Cup sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board
- 1986-87 to 1989-90 – Littlewoods Challenge Cup sponsored by Littlewoods
- 1990-91-1991-92 – Rumbelows Cup sponsored by Rumbelows
- 1992-93 to 1997-98 – Coca-Cola Cup sponsored by Coca Cola
- 1998-99 to 2002-03 – Worthington Cup sponsored by Worthington
- 2003-04 to 2011-12 – Carling Cup sponsored by Molson Coors/Carling
- 2012-13 to 2015-16 – Capital One Cup sponsored by Capital One
- 2016-17 – English Football League Cup, no main title sponsor
- 2017-18 to Present – Carabao Cup sponsored by Carabao
In the early 21st century, following restructuring of European football, and the introduction of the restructured format of the UEFA Champions and Europa League, the Football League Cup was threatened with losing its UEFA Cup slot for its winners.
The Football League Cup has retained its UEFA status thus far, and along with France is the only nation to offer a UEFA cup slot to its second cup competition winners. The EFL Cup winners qualify for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. Therefore, it retains enough importance and popularity, especially with fans of clubs for whom the Football League Cup offers a realistic chance of qualifying for Europe.
Liverpool won the English Football League Cup
the most occasions with at eight victories including four successive trophies in the early 1980s.
Manchester City won the Football League Cup the second most times with six victories of which four were between 2013-14 and 2018-19.
Liverpool have appeared 12 times in the EFL Cup final overall, also a record. Thanks to winning the competition, Liverpool were able to complete two trebles of trophy wins, in 1984 and 2001.
Giant killings are less well remembered in the League Cup than the FA Cup due to the absence of non-league sides and the fact that many big clubs have fielded very under-strength sides when knocked out.
However, there have been some notable upsets, such as Fourth Division side Chester knocking league champions Leeds United out 3–0 en route to the semi-finals in 1974–75. In 1995–96, a youthful Manchester United side were thrashed 3–0 at home by York City in the second round, first leg.
Despite fielding a very strong side in the return game, United could only win 3–1 and went out 4–3 on aggregate. The 2010-11 League Cup competition was won by Birmingham City, who beat Arsenal
2-1 at Wembley on 27th February 2011.
The last season of the Carling Cup was won by Liverpool, who beat Cardiff City on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
The Football League Cup was sponsored by Capital One from the 2012-13 till 2015-16. Swansea City lifted the trophy after beating Bradford City in the 2012-13 Final.
Manchester City won the 2014 League Cup Final beating Sunderland 3-1 for their third win while Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur to win the 2015 Final. Manchester City again won the 2016 League Cup Final on penalties against 3-1 against Liverpool.
The Football League was renamed the English Football League (EFL) in 2016, the tournament was rebranded as the EFL Cup for the 2016–17 season. There was no title sponsor for the English Football League Cup in 2016-17 when Manchester United won the cup final, 3-2 against Southampton.
Football League Cup became the Carabao Cup, named after its sponsor, in in 2017-18 when Manchester City won the cup final this time 3-0 against Arsenal. The winners of the 2018-19 Carabao Cup was again Manchester City by penalties 4-3 against Chelsea.