Match Of The (Mid)Week: Leeds United 2-1 Bradford City

Spare your sympathy for the League Cup. It has a massive live match on Sky Sports and a place in UEFA Cup as a reward for the winners. There are no such rewards for the Johnstones Paint Trophy, the first round of which was played last night. Started by the Football League as the Football League Trophy in 1983, it continues to suffer what could be described as “an image problem”. Perhaps it’s the less than glamourous sponsors. Perhaps it’s the fact that there are few big names that have ever taken part in it. To say that the competition is a complete failure, however, is some way wide of the mark. In 1988, 80,000 turned out to see Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers play a match that was pivotal in the near revival in the fortunes of both clubs after having had a wretched time of it in the previous few seasons. Big names such as Wigan Athletic (who, admittedly, weren’t a big name at the time), Birmingham City and Stoke City have all won it twice. Nowadays the final is back at Wembley, and last season’s final was one of the more distressing events of the year, with football’s least favourite franchise beating Grimsby Town there. This year, however, is a clean slate. Crowds for last night’s first round were low, but not as apocalyptic as some might...

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