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The EFL League Cup is the annual tournament for all professional teams in English league football system. Unlike FA Cup which is open for the entire clubs including semi-pro ones, the EFL Cup is only for the teams in the top four tiers, Premier League to League Two. The winner of this competition earns one place in the European competition.
The tournament, which is now called Carabao Cup, was first held in 1960. The reason behind forming this competition was actually related to the revenue and the floodlights. Back then, football had grown popular in Europe and Football League, the administrator for top flight league in England, was interested in increasing the revenue after the disagreement with FA, mainly on how much it was shared between both sides. This competition, however less prestigious compared to FA Cup, could settle the difference. In addition, more and more clubs back in 1950s had equipped their stadiums with the floodlights which enabled them to hold the games in the afternoon and evening. Football League saw it as a chance for them and the club to play the games in the midweek too, instead of only at the weekends. In addition, EFL cup could accomodate the teams which have already been ousted from FA Cup at the early stages. They still have a chance to win the trophy at the end of the season. Although it was criticised for prioritising quantity over quality of games, this tournament's profile has raised since moving its final match at Wembley plus one continental berth.
The EFL Cup has been being rebranded several times. There have been eight companies which have been its main sponsorship throughout the years. Milk Marketing Board, Littlewoods, Rumbelows, Coca Cola, Worthington, Carling and Capital One were their primary sponsors before the current one, Carabao.
The format of this championship has always been knockout-based with several slight changes in the process. The games from the first to fifth round are in one-legged system while the semifinals were in home and away fixtures before being scrapped off into one match only in 2021. The first one was the replacement of two-legged finals to a single-legged one in 1967 with Wembley as the neutral venue in the summit. The next one was abolishing the replay fixtures completely in 1997 after introducing penalty shootout to settle ties in early 1980s. Then, in 2018/19, the extra time was ruled out for all stages except the final, meaning the draw can immediately be decided via penalties after 90 minutes. The last one was, the European berth switch for the winner since 2021 from Europa League to Europe Conference League.
In terms of the title holder, Liverpool and Manchester City have won the most with eight trophies each. The players from both teams also dominate the other records. Ian Rush holds the all time top scorer with 49 goals, whereas Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho hold the record of winning the most silverware with six trophies in hand. With more than 500,000 viewers on TV around the globe, the EFL Cup is still prospective to attract the fans despite being less popular than FA Cup.
Fancy watching your favorite teams' campaign in EFL Cup live at the stadium? Find out more about getting best deals for the tickets for home and away fixtures in all stadiums in UK by logging on SafeTicketCompare.com. You can get the necessary info for the seats and price before purchasing ones for your own.
Being well-known as the third domestic competition, it surely comes with consequences. In its early editions, the EFL Cup had not been prioritised by the big teams playing in European competition until it was made compulsory in 1972. Still, they tend to play their youth and reserved players in the squad instead of their best line up.
No wonder that this tournament, which normally ends in February, has been the chance for the dark horse sides to clinch their major domestic title. Thus, the historic moments in this competition are mainly about their glory. The first ones was the victory of the unlikely teams such as Norwich City, QPR and Swindon Town in 1962, 1967 and 1969 respectively while they were not in the top flight division before the one-legged final system. The next one was the four consecutive triumph of Liverpool and Manchester City. The Reds did it between 1981 and 1984 while The Cityzens have just done in the past four seasons (2018-2021) since Pep Guardiola took charge of the team. Then, in the late 1980s, when English football had to go through its bleak era, all EFL Cup winners from 1985 to 1991 could not play in UEFA Cup, the former name of Europa League, due to the UEFA ban. Consequently, these clubs, Norwich City, Oxford United, Arsenal, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday were unable to compete in the continental competition.
Another memorable one was in 2005 final between Chelsea and Liverpool. It was a tight affair and The Blues had the advantage to overturn the situation from Steven Gerrard's own goal. It was Jose Mourinho's first trophy on English soil. Last but not least was the maiden main silverware for Oxford United, Luton Town, Middlesbrough and Swansea. These clubs won their first and only trophy in the club's history so far in 1986,1988, 2004 and 2013 editions. In fact, the 2013 final has been the highest scoring win in EFL Cup history. Led by Michael Laudrup back then, Swansea City remains the only non English team side ever win the trophy.
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