- The Football League Trophy was created in 1984 as 'the Associate Members' Cup' with 48 teams from the 3rd and 4th divisions eligible to participate in the competition
- In 1992 and 2016, the name of the tournament was changed twice to Football League Trophy and English Football League Cup
- Meanwhile, Lincoln City are the latest champions of the tourney - beating Shrewsbury to win the title for the first time
Lincoln City football club were crowned champions of the 2017-18 Football League Trophy known as "Johnstone's Paint Trophy after beating Shrewsbury 1-0 at the prestigious Wembley Stadium on April 8.
Elliot Whitehouse’s 16th minute strike ensured the Imps claimed the £140,000 cash prize for winning the title earlier this month.
With the victory, Lincoln City becomes the 26th team to win the prestigious title in the lower division of English football.
However, the championship was originally created in the 1983-84 season as the Associate Members' Cup and followed on from the short-lived Football League Group Cup.
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The competition was organized and renamed the Football League Trophy in 1992 and in the same year after the Division One broke away to form the Premier League, while the Football League became responsible for just the lower three professional divisions.
In 2016, the EFL Trophy was rebranded to the English Football League, as the first season under the new name saw sixteen Category One academies, of Premier League and Championship clubs, join the competition, a move which has been criticised for attempting to insert Premier League B teams into the English football pyramid.
The championship was actually created to give the lower clubs the opportunity to have a realistic shot at winning something.
Another key consideration was that hard-pressed small clubs would have the chance to increase revenues through the extra match days and prize money.
In the first year of the tournament, the 48 eligible Third and Fourth Division clubs were split into North and South sections of 24 teams each.
The first round had 12 knockout ties in each section, and the second had six. In each section the two second-round losers with the 'narrowest' defeats were reprieved, and joined the six other clubs in the regional quarter-finals.
A major change was introduced for the 1985–86 tournament, with 8 three-team groups being set up in each of the two sections.
Teams played one home and one away game and the group winners proceeded to the regional knockout stages.
This format was tweaked the following season, with two teams qualifying from each group, resulting in an additional 'round of 16' knockout stage in each section.
64 teams enter from Round One, including all 48 teams from League One and League Two, along with 16 category 1 Premier League and 1 Championship academy/under-21 sides.
The competition now features 16 regional groups of four teams (with eight groups in each of Northern and Southern sections), with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages, the first two rounds of which remain regionalised before an open draw from the quarter finals onwards.
Following the introduction of 16 category 1 Premier League and Championship academy sides to the EFL Trophy as of the 2016-17 season, a wide-scale backlash to this move led to a boycotting of matches within the EFL trophy by supporters of League One and League Two clubs, in particular those against academy sides. As a result, this has led to record-breaking low attendances across the country.
The competition has always been contested by all teams at Levels Three and Four of the English football league system.
However, the winners of the 2015/16 Johnstone's Paint Trophy earned to £124,000 in prize money from what sponsors call "a record fund”.
This represents a fraction of the revenue that can be generated by the winning club.
Talking about the rewards of the competition, the Football League’s Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, recently pointed out that Bristol City earned an astonishing £700,000 in additional income during their latest campaign which culminated in them winning the trophy for a third time.
The EFL Trophy final is held at the 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium in London, the English national football stadium.
The first final in 1984 was to have been played at the then Wembley Stadium, but owing to damage caused to the pitch during the Horse of the Year Show, it was moved to Boothferry Park in Hull.
From 2001 to 2007, during the rebuilding of the former Wembley, the Football League Trophy finals were played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The record attendance for the final is 80,841, for the 1988 Final match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley at Wembley.
The record attendance at the new Wembley stadium (from 2008) is 74,434 for the 2017 final between Coventry City and Oxford United.
The highest attendance for any game outside of the final came on February 5, 2013, for the Northern Area final, when Coventry City lost to Crewe Alexandra 3-0 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry (they later won the away leg 2-0, going down 3-2 on aggregate), in front of a crowd of 31,054.
The lowest attendance in the history of the competition came during the revamped 2016-17 season as just 274 attended West Bromwich Albion academy team's 2-0 defeat at home to Gillingham on November 8, 2016.
The present downturn is blamed on a boycott of the tournament by many fans as a result of the inclusion of academy teams.
Bristol City are the most successful team in the competition with three titles, while the likes of Carlisle United, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Port Vale, Stoke City, Swansea City and Wigan Athletic have all won two trophies each.
While a number of other teams have just one goal, and the most recent winners of the cup are Lincoln City.
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