Join our writer as he looks back at five of the greatest and most famous League Cup finals ahead of the 2023/24 showpiece this weekend...

Norwich 1 Sunderland 0, 1985

The game itself wasn’t especially unforgettable, settled by an own goal that handed the Canaries only their second major trophy.

Later in the contest, Clive Walker missed a penalty for the Mackems to compound their misery. Even so, this remains a truly memorable occasion for both sets of fans who hit it off famously on their rare day out to Wembley. Drinks were shared. Banter was swapped.

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On the tube after the game, Norwich supporters sang ‘we won the cup’. Sunderland fans responded with ‘we scored the goal’.

So it was that the Friendship Trophy was conceived, a trinket awarded to the team with the best score aggregate from their two meetings, whenever they are in the same division.  

Luton 3 Arsenal 2, 1988

Underdog success stories don’t get more dramatic than the Hatters’ unexpected triumph in the late-Eighties, defeating an Arsenal side a year away from becoming league champions.

Luton took a shock early lead but two late strikes by the Gunners put the favourites in the ascendancy.

Had online betting been around back then everybody would have lumped on George Graham’s side when they were subsequently awarded a penalty with just ten minutes to go. 

It was a spot-kick well saved by Andy Dibble and spurred on by this, Luton equalised soon after.

Brian Stein prodded home a last-minute winner to raise Brian Moore’s commentary a whole octave. 

Nottingham Forest 3 Southampton 2, 1979

With a horse show taking place at Wembley a few days before the pitch was in a terrible state for this one, but that didn’t stop Forest playing their usual urbane fare. In the second half at least.

Throughout the opening 45 minutes the Saints – very much unfancied in the football betting – were much the better team, taking a slim lead into the break. It was later revealed that Brian Clough had taken his players out the night before, with champagne flowing liberally.

Hangovers cleared, that season’s league runners-up and European champions took full control, Garry Birtles bagging a brace. 

This was the first major final to feature the beloved Mitre ball with the thick red stripe, and goodness it looked good. 

Chelsea 3 Liverpool 2, 2005

This was the game that ignited the intense rivalry that cast us spellbound for the latter half of the 2000s and inevitably Jose Mourinho was right at the heart of proceedings.

The Blues that season were something else, transformed into a formidable machine by their brash Portuguese coach. They ultimately won the title by 12 points, conceding only 15 goals along the way.

It was a surprise therefore when the Reds took the lead, in the opening minute in fact, then managed to retain their advantage until the 79th minute when Steven Gerrard’s own goal put the sides level.

Three goals in a breathless period of extra-time saw Chelsea secure their first trophy under the Special One, who promptly ran down the touchline to shush the red contingent. 

He was sent off but didn’t care a jot. 

QPR 3 West Brom 2, 1967

The first League Cup final held at Wembley was a notable one, it being the first time a third-tier side had won a major trophy in England. And that’s only half the story.

Having upset the odds simply by reaching the final, Rangers quickly found themselves two down against their top-flight superiors. Watched on by 97,00 spectators, the Hoops were out-classed in the first half and seemingly out of it.

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Inspired by a teenage Rodney Marsh up front however, the outsiders grew into the game, mounting attack after attack and putting the Baggies firmly on the back foot. By the 75th minute the contest was all-square and an onlooking nation was agog.

It was Mark Lazarus who secured the winner, as Rangers rose from the dead.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.