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RUFC - The League Cup Final

RUFC - The League Cup Final

This year's League - sorry - Carling Cup Final takes place today when Aston Villa and Manchester United meet up at Wembley to contest the cup.

But the first ever League Cup Final was far from the glamorous affair it is now. It took place in 1961 with one of this year`s final teams, Aston Villa (then of Division One) taking on Division Two`s Rotherham United. Probably not exactly the tie the league would have hoped for for their first final of the new competition.

The Millers got to the final by beating Leicester City, Bristol Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Portsmouth and Shrewsbury Town which the Millers won over two legs. While Aston Villa beat Huddersfield Town, Preston North End (after a replay), Plymouth Argyle (after two replays), Wrexham and had three games against Burnley to get to the final game.

The League Cup wasn`t taken seriously that first season, with teams, including Arsenal, Spurs and Sheffield Wednesday not bothering to take part in the competition and it wasn`t helped that, due to adverse weather causing fixture congestion at the end of the season, the Final was put back until the start of the following season.

The game took place over two legs - the first in August at Millmoor where the minnows of the final took charge, winning two-nil with goals from Alan Kirkman and Barry Webster both scored in four minutes of the second half (the fifty-first and fifty-fifth minutes) in front of more than twelve thousand fans.

The Teams for that day were

Rotherham United
Roy Ironside
Peter Perry
Lol Morgan
Roy Lambert
Peter Madden
Ken Waterhouse
Barry Webster
Don Weston
Ken Houghton
Alan Kirkman
Keith Bambridge


Aston Villa
Nigel Sims
Stan Lynn
Gordon Lee
Vic Crowe
Jimmy Dugdale
Alan Deakin
Jimmy MacEwan
Bobby Thomson
Ralph Brown
Ron Wylie
Peter McParland



Millers Manager, Tom Johnston, took his victorious team to Villa Park two weeks later on the back of beating Yorkshire rivals Leeds United 3-1. And, until the sixty-ninth minute they looked like they would be lifting their first trophy. But, with a goal from Alan O`Neill on sixty-seven minutes followed by a second, two minutes later from Harry Burrows the tie went into extra time. On the one hundred and ninth minute a shot at goal by Jimmy MacEwan was pushed onto the bar by Millers 'keeper, Roy Ironside and when the ball dropped down to Peter McParland he didn`t hesitate and put it into the back of the net. Villa had finally overcome little Rotherham and Joe Mercer`s team lifted the first ever League Cup in front of a crowd of 31,202.

Teams that day

Rotherham United
Roy Ironside
Peter Perry
Lol Morgan
Roy Lambert
Peter Madden
Ken Waterhouse
Barry Webster
Don Weston
Ken Houghton
Alan Kirkman
Keith Bambridge


Aston Villa
Geoff Sidebottom
John Neal
Gordon Lee
Vic Crowe
Jimmy Dugdale
Alan Deakin
Jimmy MacEwan
Alan O`Neill
Peter McParland
Bobby Thomson
Harry Burrows


With the game not taking place until the following season Aston Villa are probably the team that have held the Cup for the shortest time before having to defend it as just eight days after they won it, the competition for the following season began!

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Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Herringthorpe
Date:Sunday February 28 2010
Time: 9:49AM

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