Linfield's William Murphy lifts aloft the League Cup in 2008 (c) Presseye
Monday, 21 January 2019
Ahead of the BetMcLean League Cup final we look back at the history of both finalists in the competition – starting with Linfield who are looking to bring the trophy home after 11 long years.
Not since February 2008, when Glenn Ferguson wheeled away to celebrate his 500th career goal have Linfield lifted the League Cup trophy, it was also the last time the Blues competed in the final.
It’s more the surprise as the South Belfast club are the most successful team in the 32-year history of the competition, winning on a record nine occasions from 12 final appearances.
The Blues were the first winners of the League Cup back in the 1986/87 competition defeating cross city rivals Crusaders in the final in May 1987.
TICKETS | Tickets are now sale for @Bet_McLean League Cup Final between @OfficialBlues and @BallymenaUnited via @TicketmasterIre. #BetMcLeanCup— NI Football League (@OfficialNIFL) January 15, 2019
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A trio of cup wins followed in the mid-nineties (between 1997/98 and 1999/00) and five separate victories under current Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey during his hugely successful spell at Windsor Park.
One of the most memorable victories was the one which formed the ‘Clean Sweep’ season of 2005/2006 as the Blues won a quadruple of all the available domestic trophies. As the Blues swept aside Glentoran at Windsor Park by three goals without reply in December 2005, to win the first of four trophies that season.
There have been League Cup disappointments too – three final defeats all ironically coming against rivals Glentoran. The last of which was an extra time defeat at home to Roy Coyle’s Glentoran side in November 2004 – a season in which Linfield also lost the league championship to the East Belfast side in dramatic fashion with Chris Morgan famously sealing the title at the Oval.
With David Healy’s 2019 vintage fighting on all fronts as current Premiership leaders and into the final of both the County Antrim Shield and BetMcLean League Cup – can they write their own legacy as one of the most successful Linfield teams ever?
League Cup final wins
1986/87 – (9 May 1987) defeated Crusaders 2-1 at The Oval
1991/92 - (14 Apr 1992) defeated Larne 3-0 at The Oval
1993/94 - (26 Apr 1994) defeated Coleraine 2-0 at The Oval
1997/98 - (9 Sep 1997) defeated Glentoran 1-0 at Windsor Park
1998/99 - (4 May 1999) defeated Glentoran 2-1 (aet) at Windsor Park
1999/00 - (18 Apr 2000) defeated Coleraine 4-0 at The Oval
2001/02 - (27 Nov 2001) defeated Glentoran 3-1 at Windsor Park
2005/06 - (10 Dec 2005) defeated Glentoran 3-0 at Windsor Park
2007/08 - (6 Feb 2008) defeated Crusaders 3-2 at Windsor Park
League Cup final defeats
1988/89 – (30 Nov 1988) lost to Glentoran 2-1 at the Oval
2002/03 – (3 Dec 2002) lost to Glentoran 2-0 at Windsor Park
2004/05 – (9 Nov 2004) lost to Glentoran 2-1 (aet) at Windsor Park
You can be part of potentially another key moment in Linfield history as they take on Ballymena United in the 2019 BetMcLean League Cup final at Windsor Park on Saturday 16 February (kick-off: 5.30pm)
Tickets available on Ticketmaster, just click here for more information.