This week's Johnstone's Paint Trophy Cup ties should be welcomed with open arms by clubs in Leagues 1 and 2. For a start other than the play-off finals it is the only realistic chance any of the 48 participants have of playing at Wembley. Previous winners in recent seasons have also used the cash impetus it offers - a final appearance is conservatively worth £500k combining tickets, TV merchandise and sponsorship benefits.
Clubs like Blackpool, Swansea, most recently Southampton winners two years ago have played at a higher level within four or five years of victory. Conversley Luton were relegated out of the league (albeit wih a 30 pt deduction) despite victory four years ago, and Grimsby - winners only 12 years ago are now in the Conference but they did use victory as a springboard to a stint in the Championship before hitting financial problems.
The surprise then is that some managers and /or clubs still seem to treat the competition with indifference. The Football League have now imposed player quotas to ensure clubs play strong sides, but as MK Dons, Tranmere, Stevenage and Oldham found out on Tuesday - treat things lightly and you can be turned over by a lower league side as they all were. 'Concentrating on the league' has to me one of the most over used excuses in football!
The good news seems to be that attendances were encouraging with over 3,000 at Carlisle, a similar crowd a Port Vale and over 1,500 for the derby between Accrington and Morecambe for example.
The message is clear, there is a jackpot waiting to be won for the team that grasps the mantle.
Our colleagues at www.footyinsider.co.uk are in the mood for a punt and fancy a league 2 side at 25s to lift the title.