The Football League Trophy is the generic name of an English football competition for clubs in the two lower divisions of the Football League, the official name of which is frequently changed to match changes in sponsors, and which is presently called the LDV Vans Trophy. It is frequently referred to as the Associate Members' Cup, though that name is now an anachronism as there is no longer a distinction between full and associate membership of the League.
The competition for Third and Fourth (as they were before 1992) Division clubs dates back to the 1983/4 season. Prior to that there had been a couple of different attempts to fill the gap in the calendar left by the collapse of the Anglo-Scottish Cup in 1981.
Various attempts have been made to solve the problem of reducing the 48 lower-division clubs to a round power of two (which is required for a knockout tournament): often the first round of the cup was played in round-robin groups of three; at other times the more senior clubs have been given byes into the second round. The addition of 8 (rather than 16) teams from the Conference has not solved this problem.
LDV Vans Trophy News (http://www.football-league.premiumtv.co.uk/page/LDVNews/) from the official Football League site
The Football League Trophy (http://www.jhick002.webspace.surefish.co.uk/flt/) - fan site with complete results for all seasons
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