Ever since its creation 50 years ago, drama has been at the heart of the League Cup.

Trailing 2-0 against Rotherham United going into the second leg of the inaugural final in 1961, Aston Villa had a mountain to climb. But in the 109th minute, Peter McParland struck to complete a stunning 3-2 comeback for Villa.

The League Cup had been born barely 12 months earlier, on 26th September 1960, following a proposal by former Football League Secretary Alan Hardaker as part of the 'Pattern for Football' document.

The document suggested enlarging The League from 92 to 100 clubs, consisting of five divisions of 20 teams, plus the creation of a new Cup competition to compensate for the ensuing loss of fixtures.The clubs rejected the shake-up but kept the League Cup.

From humble beginnings, the popularity of the competition soon spread to the extent that Hardaker once said of his creation: "If the FA Cup is football's Ascot, then the League Cup is its Derby Day".

For six years, the two-legged final format continued but changed to a single match for the 1966/67 season to coincide with the first final at Wembley, which saw Queens Park Rangers beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2.

And interest in the competition grew further in 1968 as a new ruling awarded the winners a European place. The decision instantly made the League Cup more attractive to abstaining clubs and from that point the competition firmly stamped itself into the football calendar.

During the 70's and 80's Liverpool's domestic and European dominance extended into the competition as the Reds won four consecutive finals between 1981 and 1984 and, with seven wins, still hold the record for the most League Cup titles and the most final appearances, with 10.

By that stage the League Cup had become the first major Cup competition to bear the name of a sponsor, following a groundbreaking deal with the National Dairy Council. Over the next two decades the competition would go through numerous name changes: the Milk Cup, Littlewoods Challenge Cup, Rumbelows Cup, Coca-Cola Cup and Worthington Cup.

The competition's most enduring commercial partnership, however, has been with current sponsor Molson Coors (UK) whose current agreement - which runs until at least 2012 - takes the brewer's support of the competition to fourteen seasons under its Worthington's and Carling brands.

Following the closure of Wembley in 2000, the competition set up camp in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium where the final was staged from 2001 until 2007. A year later, the League Cup climaxed at the new Wembley with Tottenham Hotspur beating Chelsea 2-1.

Despite the proliferation of games in the Champions League and Europa Cup placing ever greater demands on club playing resources, the Cup has thrived and crowds in the current era are at their highest for more than 30 years.

In addition, many clubs use the League Cup as a platform to showpiece their younger players and once again the Carling Cup is high on the priority list of English football's biggest clubs. The last five finals have featured Chelsea on three occasions, Manchester United twice and Liverpool and Arsenal once each.

Click here for a list of past winners of the League Cup

Celebrating 50 years of the League Cup