The Football League Trophy

The Football League Trophy is a cup competition for teams in the lower divisions of the English Football League. It was instituted in 1983 as a way of providing extra games (and therefore extra revenue) for lower-division clubs, and followed on from a variety of other competitions which had the same aim, such as the Texaco Cup, the Anglo-Scottish Cup and the Football League Group Trophy.

The competition was originally known as the "Associate Members' Cup", because in the days when the League had four divisions (prior to the secession of the Premiership in 1992) only the teams in the top two divisions were full members of the League, and the teams in the Third and Fourth Divisions were associate members. This distinction was abolished in 1992, and the official name of the competition was changed to the "Football League Trophy". However, due to sponsorship deals it has mainly been known by a number of other names. These names can be seen in the list of finals below, and on the page for each season.

This site contains historical information about the competition, dating back to its inception in 1983.

The characteristic feature of the competition's structure is that the competing teams are divided into two area groups, North and South. The two areas conduct parallel competitions to find area winners, who then meet in the national final. The precise format of the area competitions has varied over the years, and the format used in each season is given on the page for that season.

Over the years, the Trophy has been the proving ground for various rules which at the time were new to English football. An example of this is sudden-death or 'golden goal' extra time, which was introduced into the Trophy in 1994 and continued to be used until 2003.

I am indebted to Ray Stanton, Steve McGhee, Chris Sendall and Richard Rundle for their help in compiling these pages, and to Tony Kempster for putting me in touch with them via the Non-League Football mailing list.


Results of all finals

(Click on a year to go to the page for that year.)

Associate Members' Cup
1983/84 AFC Bournemouth 2 - 1 Hull City
Freight Rover Trophy
1984/85 Wigan Athletic 3 - 1 Brentford
1985/86 Bristol City 3 - 0 Bolton Wanderers
1986/87 Mansfield Town 1 - 1 Bristol City (aet)
(Mansfield won 5-4 on penalties)
Sherpa Van Trophy
1987/88 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 - 0 Burnley
1988/89 Bolton Wanderers 4 - 1 Torquay United
Leyland DAF Cup
1989/90 Tranmere Rovers 2 - 1 Bristol Rovers
1990/91 Birmingham City 3 - 2 Tranmere Rovers
Autoglass Trophy
1991/92 Stoke City 1 - 0 Stockport County
1992/93 Port Vale 2 - 1 Stockport County
1993/94 Swansea City 1 - 1 Huddersfield Town (aet)
(Swansea won 3-1 on penalties)
Auto Windscreens Shield
1994/95 Birmingham City 1 - 0 Carlisle United (aet)
1995/96 Rotherham United 2 - 1 Shrewsbury Town
1996/97 Carlisle United 0 - 0 Colchester United (aet)
(Carlisle won 4-3 on penalties)
1997/98 Grimsby Town 2 - 1 AFC Bournemouth (aet)
1998/99 Wigan Athletic 1 - 0 Millwall
1999/2000 Stoke City 2 - 1 Bristol City
LDV Vans Trophy
2000/01 Port Vale 2 - 1 Brentford
2001/02 Blackpool 4 - 1 Cambridge United
2002/03 Bristol City 2 - 0 Carlisle United
2003/04 Blackpool 2 - 0 Southend United
2004/05 Wrexham 2 - 0 Southend United (aet)
Football League Trophy
2005/06 Swansea City 2 - 1 Carlisle United
Johnstone's Paint Trophy
2006/07 Doncaster Rovers 3 - 2 Bristol Rovers (aet)
2007/08 Milton Keynes Dons 2 - 0 Grimsby Town
2008/09 Luton Town 3 - 2 Scunthorpe United (aet)
2009/10 Southampton 4 - 1 Carlisle United
2010/11