Funnily enough, Impecunious and I were discussing this very thing elsewhere and my response was thus...
"The wider question here is, do the lesser Cup competitions hold much value these days?
League Cup: perhaps, but I feel most of the top two tier clubs use them to play their second, or sometimes third, strings, especially when playing against a League 2 club for example. It has lost so much of the appeal it had in the sixties, seventies, eighties and maybe even the nineties when lower league teams could look forward to watching First Division stars play at their club's home ground. Attendance figures do reveal a startling reduction over the years.
The Football League Trophy: (aka Checkatrade Trophy) rarely has any real support until maybe the Semi-Finals and, certainly, the Final. I know we won it, and that was great and we all had a wonderful day out at Wembley but, until they give it a bit of real substance, for example by exempting the winners from playing in the first two rounds of the following season's FA Cup, with a guaranteed home fixture in the Third Round to boot, then it will always be the poor relation to the League Cup which, as I have already said, is very much waning in popularity. It has also lost something since higher league U21/23 teams have been allowed to play in it. I appreciate that we had the opportunity to watch Hudson-Odoi in the Chelsea team we beat on penalties, but they shouldn't really be playing in 'our' competition. After all, they might win it which, in my humble opinion, would devalue it as a cup competition. When you look at the attendance stats of the season's competition when we won it (2017/18) we were hands-down the best supported club at our home, and many away, fixtures. That is because the fans of LCFC are not as fickle as some (who call many of them 'plastics') might opine. No, they are real fans supporting their team at every opportunity!
For next season, at least, and because of the late start we will have, we need to ditch those two competitions and see what, if any, difference that makes as to how they might be missed. Play more midweek league games instead, and switch them about by NOT playing all of the games on a Tuesday at 19.45; have different starting times and choices of days and get some of them on the tv, especially as so many fans won't be able to attend each and every game (home and away) next season due to Covid-19 restrictions. Let's celebrate the lower leagues by promoting them in this way. It does make a lot of sense in my humble opinion."
I think the problem we have is we are very traditional in our outlook on these types of things. We dont like change for change sake. The U21 thing is alright by me but let's try something else instead now. Look at the Scottish cup where they have Nth Ireland teams, Welsh teams etc etc. Not a bad idea for a few years. Why not make the preliminary group round of the Leasing cup pre season instead of meaningless friendlies. Just try something new every other year. I think Clive mentioned on here that the league cup was a big payer for us and obviously the Leasong dot com also pays well but only with the U21 in it. So we either take the money with no interest or shake it up a bit and loose some money!
My thoughts are that the league cup should be retained, but to give it some impetus, the winners and the winners of the FA Cup should get a Champions League slot behind the Champions (Funnily enough) and runners up of the Premier League. The benefit would be two fold. One, the Champions League would have more actual ‘Champions’ therein (Although not league champions, but champions nonetheless) and secondly, and more important to the likes of The Imps, that carrot being dangled would almost certainly ensure stronger sides from the bigger boys, thus giving more nights like the one against Everton to the likes of Imps et all.
The LDV/FRT/Leasing/Checkateade/Johnston’s paint pot I would get rid of. I know Imps had a glorious day at Wembley however, the negatives by far outweigh the positives. Earlier games are glorified training matches in front of low crowds with the risk of injury still existing. It also frustrates me the early rounds are played normally at a time when weather is half decent, at the exclusion of league matches that are played in the wind and rain of January and February.