"If you’re looking for an omen, then think of Nottingham Forest!"
So said Blackburn Rovers manager Jim Smith in his programme notes as he tried and failed to whip up some excitement about this 77/78 Anglo-Scottish Cup fixture against Hibernian. Alluding to Forest’s 76/77 ‘double’ triumph of gaining promotion into the top flight and winning the Anglo-Scottish Cup he hoped success in this minor tournament may inspire his team to ’do a Forest’ and win promotion.
Unfortunately for Jim Smith and Blackburn Rovers it didn’t quite work out like that though they did manage a hattrick of rather dubious Anglo-Scottish Cup firsts.
Nearly three years ago back in December 2010 I wrote a blog post about The Debenhams Cup. Go on click the link to head on over and read all about this fascinating if short-lived competition. It only lasted two seasons in the late seventies but it’s qualifying conditions were interesting and it’s a shame it didn’t continue.
It was contested by the two teams who progressed the furthest from the first round proper of the FA Cup. Therefore only third and fourth division clubs and non-league survivors of the earlier qualifying rounds were eligible. The original blog post lists those clubs that would have contested the Debenhams Cup had it started in 1947 thirty years before it actually did. A comment on the original post mentioned how interesting it would be to see a list of finalists had the competition continued to the present day.
Compiling this list of Debenhams Cup finalists that never were is something I’ve been meaning to do ever since and after three years I’ve finally got round to it. So click through to reveal the list in all it’s glory.