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What If: The Debenhams Cup

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.

For all you football nerds and geekaloids here’s that list - from 1979 to 2013.

  • 1979 Shrewsbury Town v Aldershot
  • 1980 Chester v Bury
  • 1981 Exeter City v Barnsley
  • 1982 Oxford Utd v Blackpool
  • 1983 Swindon Town v Torquay Utd
  • 1984 Plymouth Argyle v Oxford Utd
  • 1985 Telford Utd v York City
  • 1986 York City v Peterborough Utd
  • 1987 Wigan Athletic v Walsall
  • 1988 Port Vale v Blackpool
  • 1989 Brentford v Grimsby Town
  • 1990 Cambridge Utd v Bristol City
  • 1991 Cambridge Utd v Shrewsbury Town
  • 1992 Bolton Wanderers v Wrexham
  • 1993 Bolton Wanderers v Rotherham Utd
  • 1994 Kidderminster Harriers v Cardiff City
  • 1995 Swansea City v Wrexham
  • 1996 Swindon Town v Grimsby Town
  • 1997 Chesterfield v Wrexham
  • 1998 Stevenage v Cardiff City
  • 1999 Bristol Rovers v Fulham
  • 2000 Gillingham v Cambridge Utd
  • 2001 Wycombe Wanderers v Bristol City
  • 2002 Cheltenham Town v York City
  • 2003 Rochdale v Dagenham & Redbridge
  • 2004 Tranmere Rovers v Colchester Utd
  • 2005 Brentford v Hartlepool Utd
  • 2006 Brentford v Colchester Utd
  • 2007 Bristol City v Blackpool
  • 2008 Bristol Rovers v Huddersfield Town
  • 2009 Torquay Utd v Kettering Town
  • 2010 Notts County v Leeds Utd
  • 2011 Leyton Orient v Crawley Town
  • 2012 Stevenage v Crawley Town
  • 2013 Oldham Athletic v Luton Town

Finalists x 5 - Port Vale, Swindon Town, York City, Wrexham

Finalist x 4 - Walsall, Shrewsbury Town

Any errors in the info above is mine and mine alone. It was tedious in the extreme going through years of FA Cup results and one or two mistakes may well have crept in but by and large it’s pretty accurate. In working out which two teams have progressed the furthest if two teams were tied I went for the one who had played more FA Cup games ie replays. If teams were still level after this then the lower division team was selected.

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