6. Swindon 3-1 Arsenal, 1969
Arsenal blamed flu and the heavy pitch, but nobody outside the mudslinging metropolitan media cared
Two years after third-tier QPR had embarrassed top-flight WBA, another upset in a game that scarred a young Nick Hornby for life. Having scored against the run of first-half play when Roger Smart capitalised on confusion over a backpass from Ian Ure to Bob Wilson, Swindon defended doggedly until Bobby Gould's 86th-minute equaliser took the game into extra time.
However, the minnows and neutrals found a hero in Don Rogers, who scored a brace to complete the fairy tale. Arsenal blamed flu and the heavy pitch, but nobody outside the mudslinging metropolitan media cared.
7. Nottingham Forest 3-2 Southampton, 1979
Forest started like a team hungover and went in at half-time 1-0 down to a David Peach goal
League Cup holders, league champions and 4-1 up after the first quarter-final leg of a European Cup they would eventually win, Forest were a confident team. So the night before the game, Brian Clough insisted that the team demolish a crate of champagne after some mild boozy success against Liverpool earlier in the season.
Forest started like a team hungover and went in at half-time 1-0 down to a David Peach goal, but after Frank Clark controversially blocked former Forest man Terry Curran on the edge of the box, the champions took control through Garry Birtles (2) and Tony Woodcock before Nick Holmes' late consolation.
8. Liverpool 1-1 Birmingham (5-4 on pens), 2001
A goalless extra time meant the first major English final to be settled on penalties
Football's first major final at the Millennium Stadium brought Liverpool's first trophy in six years – and like the other two cups they won that season, it was a struggle. Trevor Francis's second-tier Birmingham put up a valiant fight after the Reds went ahead through Robbie Fowler’s thumping half-volley on the half-hour, but it took the much-loved Darren Purse’s injury-time penalty equaliser to send Blues fans into delirium.
A goalless extra time meant the first major English final to be settled on penalties; therefore someone had to be the villain – and it was the still-hirsute Andrew Johnson, a fortnight out of his teens, whose spot-kick was saved by Sander Westerveld.
9. Man City 2-1 Newcastle, 1976
On its own merits, it will forever be remembered for Dennis Tueart’s overhead-kick winner
A game that took on huge subsequent importance as both teams suffered trophy droughts. On its own merits, it will forever be remembered for Dennis Tueart’s overhead-kick winner. Teenage forward Peter Barnes put City ahead before Alan Gowling equalised 10 minutes from half-time, setting the stage for boyhood Toon fan Tueart to make Tony Book the first man to win the League Cup as player and manager.
It was Man City's last cup triumph until 2011, and the closest Newcastle have come – with honourable mentions for the 1998 and 1999 FA Cup final defeats – to their first pot since the 1955 FA Cup, unless you count the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
10. Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea, 2008
Ramos lasted another eight months at White Hart Lane, while Avram Grant was sacked within just three
The elongated first League Cup final at the new Wembley was something of a shock. Spurs, struggling in the league under Juande Ramos, fell behind to a superbly placed Didier Drogba free-kick – but fought back in the second half with a Dimitar Berbatov penalty. Jonathan Woodgate’s scrappy winner early in extra-time, helped in part by Petr Cech, gave Spurs only their second trophy in 17 years.
Ramos lasted another eight months at White Hart Lane, while Avram Grant was sacked within just three. Who says managers' jobs are insecure?