The Anglo-Italian League Cup as it is now known, was initially set up back in 1969 to reward the English League Cup winners Swindon Town.
Swindon had been denied entry to the Fairs Cup due them being a third division side, and so the aim was to give The Robins a taste of European competition in this format.
In the early seasons, there were two tournaments. One contained half a dozen sides from each country, this known as the Gigi Penorace Memorial, and the other was the direct play-off between the English League Cup winners (1969-71) and the Coppa Italia winners. It was Swindon Town who won the initial 1969 event, beating Roma over two legs in the final 6-1 on aggregate. Bologna beat Man City in the 1970 final, whilst Tottenham saw off Torino to win the competition in ’71. The competition was not held between 1972-74.
The Gigi Memorial Tournament was first played in the 1969-70 season, and ended after the 1972-73 season. Three English clubs won this during those four seasons, with Swindon, Blackpool and Newcastle all winning it. After this, it was resumed for semi-pro teams only up until 1986, with Sutton United being the only winners in that period.
After a few years, the tournament was scrapped due to disciplinary problems and a lack of interest, something that would again hamper the competition in the future.
Prior to the 1992/93 season, it was agreed by the English and Italian Leagues that the competition would be brought back. Now with more comebacks than Lazarus, it was set as a competition for English First Division and Italian Serie B sides, with every final to be played at Wembley. All clubs in the first division would go through a preliminary stage to decide who went through to the ‘international stage’. In the end, eight sides progressed through.
Derby County were beaten in the first final at Wembley by Cremonese 3-1. Notts County were the most successful side in this era of the competition.
They lost the 1993/94 final 1-0 to Brescia, before making up for it 12 months later beating Ascoli 3-1 (right). The last final to date saw Port Vale get thrashed 5-2 by Genoa.
Just four seasons after its return, the competition was scrapped yet again, only this time it looks permanent. Disciplinary problems and a servere lack of interest was to blame yet again, as crowds of just a few hundred turned up for some games, whilst the Italian’s way of playing often led to tough tackles and aggressive exchanges between both sets of players.