Luton Town Football Club
1 Maple Road
HISTORY/FACTS ABOUT THE HATTERS:
- Luton Town Football Club were formed on the 11th April 1885. Before they were formed, there were many clubs in the town of Luton, which were Luton Wanderers and Luton Excelsior. A Wanderers player, George Deacon, came up with the idea of a "Town" club which would include all the best players in Luton.
- Initially based at Excelsior's Dallow Lane ground, Luton Town began making payments to certain individual players in 1890. The following year, Luton became the first club in southern England to be fully professional.
- Luton have previously played at 2 grounds before their current home Kenilworth Road. 1st being Dallow Lane which was the former home of Luton Excelsior. The ground was situated next to the Dunstable-Luton railway line. 2nd was Dunstable Road which the Hatters then left there in 1905 to their current home now of Kenilworth Road.
- Captain and left winger Bob Hawkes became Luton's first international player when he was picked to play for England against Ireland on 16 February 1907.
- The Luton side first played in the white and black colours which it has retained for much of its history during the 1920–21 season, when the club rejoined the Football League; the players had previously worn an assortment of colour combinations, most permanently sky blue shirts with white shorts and navy socks. Such was the quality of Luton's team at this time that despite playing in the third tier, a fixture between Ireland and England at Windsor Park on 22 October 1921 saw three Luton players on the pitch—Louis Bookman and Allan Mathieson for Ireland, and the club's top goalscorer, Simms, for England.
- During the early 1950s, one of Luton's greatest sides emerged under manager Dally Duncan.The team included Gordon Turner, who went on to become Luton's all-time top goalscorer, Bob Morton, who holds the record for the most club appearances, and Syd Owen, an England international. During this period, Luton sides also featured two England international goalkeepers, Ron Baynham and Bernard Streten.
- The late 50's saw Luton reach the FA Cup final for the 1st time in the club's history. Along the way they beat Leeds United, Leicester City, Ipswich Town, Blackpool and Norwich City to get to the final. They were beaten in the Final in 1959 by Nottingham Forest, narrowly beaten by 2-1. Luton's consolation goal was scored by Dave Pacey at Wembley.
- The following season the club were relegated and by 1964-65, the club were playing football in the 4th tier of English Football.
- A team including Bruce Rioch, John Moore and Graham French won the Fourth Division championship in 1967–68 under the leadership of former player Allan Brown.
- On the last day of the 1982–83 season, the club's first back in the top tier, it narrowly escaped relegation: playing Manchester City at Maine Road, Luton needed to win to stay up, while City could escape with a draw. A late winner by Yugoslavian substitute Raddy Antić saved the team and prompted Pleat to dance across the pitch performing a "jig of joy".
- The club was relegated from the top division at the end of the 1991–92 season, and sank to the third tier four years later. Luton stayed in the third-tier Second Division until relegation at the end of the 2000–01 season. Under the management of Joe Kinnear, who had arrived halfway through the previous season, the team won promotion from the fourth tier at the first attempt. "Controversial" owner John Gurney unsettled the club in 2003, terminating Kinnear's contract on his arrival in May; Gurney replaced Kinnear with Mike Newell before leaving Luton as the club entered administration. Newell's team finished as champions of the rebranded third-tier Football League One in 2004–05.
- The club then had a total of 30 points docked from its 2008–09 record by the Football Association and the Football League for financial irregularities dating back several years. These deductions proved to be too large an obstacle to overcome, but Luton came from behind in the final of the Football League Trophy to win the competition for the first time.
- Relegation meant that 2009–10 saw Luton playing in the Conference Premier, a competition in which the club had never before participated. The club unsuccessfully contested the promotion play-offs three times in four seasons during their time as a non-League club, employing five different managers. In the 2012–13 FA Cup fourth round, Luton won their away tie against Premier League club Norwich City 1–0 and, in doing so, became the first non-League team to beat a side from England's top division since 1989. In the 2013–14 season, under the management of John Still, Luton won the Conference Premier title with three games to spare, and thereby secured a return to the Football League from 2014–15. Another promotion followed three years later, putting Luton back in League One from the start of the 2018–19 campaign.
VISIT 1: Luton Town 0-0 Gillingham 3/3/09
VISIT 2: Luton Town 2-2 Gillingham 16/3/19
My 1st visit to Kenilworth Road came in 2009, a cold wet Tuesday night night which saw 2 teams battled it out with neither side deserving the victory. For this one I went on the supporters coach, annoyingly I only got about 3 photos and my battery on my phone died so I wasn't able to get more photos. That was then behind owning a digital camera so only took photos on my phone. My 2nd visit was a recent visit back in March this year (2019) which saw a great point against the eventual League One Champions. I was able to get a lift with a couple of mates in a decent enough day at Luton.
Luton Town have been playing Kenilworth Road since 1905 after playing at previous grounds at Dallow Lane and Dunstable Road. Kenilworth Road has a total capacity of 10,356 of which away supporters are allocated just over 1,500 supporters in the Oak Stand which is behind one goal at Kenilworth Road. Luton railway station is around a 15-20 minute walk to the ground.