A Newcastle name next? An XI of players who won their club’s first League Cup…

Date published: Saturday 4th February 2023 8:07 - Editor F365

Mark Hughes, Gordon Banks, Ray Houghton all won the League Cup with Man Utd, Stoke and Oxford.

Eddie Howe’s Newcastle players will be aching to achieve a call up to this XI made up from players who helped secure their club a maiden victory in the League Cup…

Newcastle United’s name remains absent from the list of League Cup winners and this year will mark the Magpies reaching the final of the competition for just the second time since its conception over 60 years ago. Eddie Howe’s men will go down in history on Tyneside if they can avenge that 1976 defeat to Manchester City and bring some long awaited silverware to St James’ Park. Here’s an XI made up from players who helped secure their club a maiden victory in the League Cup…


Goalkeeper: Gordon Banks.
World Cup winner Banks only picked up two domestic trophies during his career, both league cups, both with different clubs and both first time wins for those clubs in the competition. Banks kept goal for Leicester in the 1964 final, with a 4-3 aggregate victory over Stoke City and eight years later he went on to lift the cup with the Potters, in a 2-1 win against Chelsea at Wembley. If you fancy a goalkeeper challenge, try naming the ‘keeper who played for Chelsea that day and had already helped the Blues win the League Cup for the first time in 1965.


Right-back: Viv Anderson.
Just like Banks, Anderson was involved in two first time League Cup triumphs during his career. The England international lined-up for Nottingham Forest in the 1978 final, as Brian Clough’s men beat Liverpool 1-0 and he helped the club retain the trophy a year later. In 1987, Anderson was an Arsenal player and he was part of the side that brought the cup to Highbury for the first time, with Liverpool once again the vanquished opponents.


Centre-back: Alan Hansen.
Whilst Liverpool may have been on the losing end of League Cup finals in ’78 and ’87, the Reds did manage to win the competition four times in between those defeats. The first of those came in 1981, with a 2-1 win over West Ham in a replay at Villa Park, after the first match had ended in a draw at Wembley. Scottish defender Hansen scored the winner and set the Merseyside club on their way to picking up number one of a record nine League Cup triumphs.

Liverpool celebrate winning the Milk Cup in 1984.

Centre-back: Gareth Southgate.
1997 was certainly an annus horribilis for Middlesbrough fans, with the side getting relegated from the Premier League after a points deduction, losing the club’s first ever FA Cup Final AND first ever League Cup Final. Football’s oldest cup competition remains elusive on Teesside, but after another defeat in ’98, ‘Boro finally added the League Cup to their trophy cabinet in 2004, with current England boss Southgate captaining the side to a 2-1 win over Bolton.


Left-back: Terry Cooper.
The late sixties and early seventies were of course halcyon days for Leeds, with the Whites winning all three major domestic honours under the leadership of Don Revie. The League Cup was the first of those trophies to arrive at Elland Road, a long range strike from full-back Terry Cooper in the ’68 final saw off the challenge from Bertie Mee’s Arsenal as both clubs contested for a maiden win in the competition.


Right-wing: Ray Houghton.
Whilst the big sides have dominated the competition in recent years, the list of clubs to reach the final does contain a few surprising names. Rotherham, Rochdale, Tranmere Rovers and Bradford City have all finished as runners-up but in 1986 Oxford United went one better and lifted the cup. The U’s were actually a top-flight team at the time, having won the Second Division a year earlier. A resounding 3-0 win over QPR at Wembley featured future Liverpool star and Irish international Houghton, who bagged the second goal.


Central midfield: Colin Bell
Modern day moneybags Manchester City have led the way in the last 10 years, picking up six League Cups in that time, but the Cityzens did already have their name on the trophy twice before the petrodollars rolled in. The maiden victory came in 1970, when Joe Mercer’s men came from behind to see off the challenge of a West Brom side looking for a second cup win, after first lifting the trophy in ’66. Still considered the club’s greatest ever player by those of a certain vintage, Bell was instrumental in both City goals.


Central midfield: Martin Peters
Another World Cup winner features in this XI, with Martin Peters joining fellow 1966 hero Gordon Banks. As there was a one in the year, Tottenham Hotspur’s luck was in back in 1971 and Peters featured in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the League Cup final. The trophy was brought to White Hart Lane for the first of four times, although being Spursy, they’ve now lost more finals in the competition that they’ve won. The only club to have finished as runners-up more often: Arsenal.

Read more: Ranking every player to wear No.9 for Newcastle in the Premier League

Left-wing: Peter McParland
With two goals against Manchester United’s Busby Babes, Peter McParland was a hero for Aston Villa in the 1957 FA Cup Final; their last triumph in the competition to date. Four years later, he helped the club to their first win in the League Cup. Villa faced Rotherham in the inaugural final, one that was then played over two legs. The Millers took a surprise 2-0 lead in the first match, making it look as if a second-tier side would be the first name on the trophy, but a dramatic turnaround in the second-leg saw McParland grab a winner in added time after the match had ended 2-0 to Villa in 90 minutes.


Striker: Bobby Tambling
Chelsea’s leading goalscorer until the advent of Frank Lampard’s record breaking spell at Stamford Bridge, Bobby Tambling featured in a side looking to bring the League Cup to London for the first time in 1965. Reigning champions Leicester City stood in the way and equalised twice after Tambling and then Terry Venables had given the Blues the lead. A later winner from Eddie McCreadie settled matters, with the second-leg of the final ending in a far less entertaining 0-0 draw.


Striker: Mark Hughes
Five-time winners Manchester United will stand in Newcastle’s way at Wembley, although the Red Devils’ name was surprisingly absent from the trophy until a 1-0 win over four time winners Nottingham Forest in 1992.  Defeat to Liverpool in ’83 and a shock loss to Sheffield Wednesday in ’91 made it third time lucky for United. Welsh forward Mark Hughes featured for Alex Ferguson’s men at Wembley and was involved in another maiden League Cup win 10 years later, starting for Blackburn Rovers in a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur that sent the trophy to Ewood Park for the first time.

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