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It was held before the start of the season, and was contested by the teams that had scored the most goals in each of the four divisions of the Football League the previous season who had not been promoted or admitted to one of the European competitions, although Manchester United did not compete in the 1972 event despite apparently having been eligible based on goals scored. Two from each division took part, making eight participants in total.
The competition was a straight knockout format, each match was a one-off with no replays. The final took place at the home ground of one of the finalists, rather than a neutral venue.
The first ever penalty shootout in England took place in a semi-final of the 1970 tournament between Hull City and Manchester United, and was won by Manchester United. The first footballer to take a kick was George Best, and the first to miss was Denis Law, whose attempt was saved by Hull goalkeeper Ian McKechnie. McKechnie became the first player to miss a deciding kick, when he shot wide after taking the fifth kick for Hull in the shoot-out.
List of finals
|1970||Derby County||4–1||Manchester United||Baseball Ground|
|West Bromwich Albion||The Hawthorns|
|Sheffield United||Eastville Stadium|
|1973||Stoke City||2–0||Hull City||Victoria Ground|
- Watney Cup 1972 1st rnd results at Statto
- 1971-72 First Division table at statto
- "Watney Cup 1970 to 1973". English Domestic Football. My Football Facts. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- "Quirky Facts". www.goalkeepersaredifferent.com. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Watney Cup 1970 1st rnd results at Statto
- Watney Cup 1971 1st rnd results at Statto
- Watney Cup 1973 1st rnd results at Statto