In 1961, Aston Villa - the inaugural League Cup winners - lifted the iconic trophy for the very first time. More than half a century later, the same piece of silverware is still in use.
The original trophy was commissioned and paid for by then EFL president Joe Richards, who had his named engraved on the prize. Richards’ support for Football League secretary Alan Hardaker, the man credited with first proposing the League Cup, by creation of the trophy is regarded as fundamental in bringing the League Cup to fruition.
He later told Hardaker: “One day it will be played for on the Wembley turf but not in my lifetime.”
But Richards would live to see it happen, when in 1967 – a year before his death – the Final made its debut beneath the Twin Towers. And today, the prize still bears his name as part of an inscription that reads: The EFL Cup Presented by the President J Richards Esq. J.P., Season 1960-61.
Richards entrusted the design and production of the trophy to Mappin & Webb, one of the UK’s leading retailers of fine jewellery and silverware who got to work creating the iconic and unusual three-handled prize – a feature based on an old design from a ‘loving cup’.
Modelled in a typical Georgian style, the trophy is in the shape of an urn with C-scroll handles and panels of shell and scroll decoration. A plinth – ebonised with an inscribed silver band – was later made separately to complete the design. Weighing-in at 2,976 grams (just over six-and-a-half pounds) and measuring 27 cm by 20.5cm, the cost to reproduce the same trophy today would be worth around £20,000.