Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We salute... The Johnstone's Paint Trophy

As the regional finals of the JPT take place this week, Turls pays tribute to the pretigious piece of silverware for the lower leagues.

The Johnstone's Paint Trophy is a glorious competition for the nether regions of the Football League. Hell, it even lets some Conference teams think that they are big shots for a week or two.

Before I go into a disquisition on the joys of the mighty Johnstone's Paint Trophy, I want to explain the main reason I love it: The name!

The name of this fine competition has been fantastic since its opening day in 1983 when it was called the Associate Members' Cup.

This name inspires the competitors to up their game and deliver a certain level of class. No-one wants to let down the Associate Members for crying out loud.

When the world of sponsorship came about, the competition chiefs pulled their pants down and invited one and all to come and play.

The Freight Rover Trophy, the Sherpa Van Trophy, the Leyland DAF Cup, the Autoglass Trophy, the Auto Windscreens Shield, the LDV Vans Trophy, and finally the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

The sponsors of the competition epitomises what it stands for: Equality - for no-one is too classy or too poor to enjoy the JPT.

In all seriousness, the competition offers a lot of teams a genuine chance of challenging for a trophy and also allows the fans the opportunity to go to Wembley, possibly.

How many teams in Leagues One and Two have absolutely nothing to play for for a large portion of the season?

Fans love a promotion chase and secretly enjoy the dangers and excitement of a relegation battle, but not every club can have this and that's what the JPT offers.

Admittedly, the last finalists were Luton - relegated, and Scunthorpe - promoted, but that's another reason to love it!

Glad as a Hatter: Mick Harford led Luton to surprise JPT glory last season

The worst team in the Football League, in terms of league position, managed to overcome all the odds and defeat the sixth best in the competition, again going on league position alone.

How often does something like that happen in a cup final? It is the equivalent of Everton being beaten by Peterborough in the FA Cup final - no chance of happening.

Now, let us take a gander at the previous winners shall we? Five current Premier League clubs have held aloft the might trophy/cup/shield - Wolves, Wigan, Birmingham, Stoke, and Bolton.

At the same time, three current non-league clubs have won it. BOOM! How's that for a mighty competition. What other competition offers such a difference in current standing? Answer: none.

The competition has it all, a glamourous trip to Wembley, goals - only one final has ended goaless, and the unpredictable joy of football.

Sure it adds more games to an already congested fixture list but deep down, everybody loves the JPT, except Nobes, who is dead inside.

The Johnstone's Paint Trophy... Soccer AM/MW salutes you!

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