Read David Wilkinson's Brentford programme notes

Good afternoon everyone and a very warm welcome to Kenilworth Road for this important home game in the Premier League.


Our visitors today are Brentford. Our first meeting was a victory for us at home in December 1920 when we were both in Division Three (South). Since then we have met 79 times winning 35, drawing 15 and losing 29. However, our recent form has not been so good, winning only once in the seven games since 2020 began running the club in 2008. So let’s hope for a reversal in fortunes today for obviously important reason. We, therefore, anticipate an exciting and inevitably competitive game.

Regardless of the obvious tension that this game creates, we look forward to entertaining Bees chair Cliff Crown and his colleagues, who have done such an excellent job since their promotion to the Premier League in 2021. We have a friendly working relationship with them, and they have been helpful and generous with their advice since we ourselves joined the higher echelons.

Our recent performances have had to contend with a depleted playing squad to the extent that at the Etihad against Manchester City we had two keepers and five teenagers on the bench and none of our seven centre halves had trained in the week before the game. It is always exciting to see young academy players make first team debuts, but these are not ideal circumstances. Congratulations though to Joe Johnson on his first Premier League appearance, and to Zack Nelson who appeared for the second time. I’m sure we all hope to see more of them in the future. I suppose most of us would have predicted the outcome, particularly after the misfortune of the first goal, which might have hit the corner flag if it hadn’t been deflected. However, what a courageous performance for 60 minutes, a couple of close calls and a super goal from Ross Barkley.

This was all after a similarly depleted squad at home to beat an in-form Bournemouth side with a spirited display and two tremendous late goals, which included Jordan Clark’s first in the Premier League and meant he has now scored in the top five divisions.

I must mention, you, the fans, who continue to show amazing support. It was incredible to see you standing as one after the final whistle at the Etihad, cheering our players and coaches after a 5-1 defeat. It was magnificent and very emotional, particularly as the 50,000 home fans had been out-sung for most of the afternoon. It’s not the first time that our travelling fans have made us so proud watching on from afar because rarely have we not been noticed even in the biggest stadia.

As Rob has said, the season now starts here with five games left to play. Very few, if any, would have expected us to be still in it with everything to play for at this stage. There were even some unmentionable members of the media who thought we’d be relegated by Christmas even though that wasn’t possible. To my mind promotion and relegation are what makes our football pyramid so enticing and we have suffered and enjoyed more than any having been all the way to the top and the bottom of the leagues three times in the last 60 years. It’s never boring supporting Luton so here we go again.

We have enjoyed so much the way we have played this season and the fact that we have made so many new friends in the game for it. In today’s world we are an unusual club, and we greatly value our differences. Thank you all for being who you are.

We continue to lose our former heroes. I went to Jimmy Husband’s funeral last week and was pleased to see Joe Royle, Jimmy Ryan and other of his former teammates from Everton and Luton.

Last week Joe Kinnear died. A talented player for Spurs in the 60s he was a fascinating character, leading Wimbledon to eighth place in Premier League and to the semi-finals of the major cup competitions. He had to stand down after health issues. After a short spell as director of football at Oxford Joe joined us when we were fighting relegation to what is now League 2.

He couldn’t save us but rebuilt the team by bringing in his own men including Kevin Nicholls, Chris Coyne and Jean-Louis Valois, storming to promotion finishing runners-up to Plymouth. Sadly, he and his assistant Mick Harford fell foul of the infamous John Gurney and were sacked in mysterious circumstances ahead of the Manager Idol appointment of Mike Newell.

Joe had been suffering with vascular dementia from 2016 and sadly passed away from complications of the disease. He will be missed greatly.

Last but by no means least I draw your attention to the NO Room For Racism video which we published last week.

Hiding behind anonymity whilst hurting the recipients, their families, friends, colleagues, and employers shows ignorance and cowardice and achieves nothing. It is moronic and says so much about their disturbing and woeful lack of self-worth.

We are Lutonians and Luton is a diverse community. We pride ourselves in welcoming everyone as equals and abhor discrimination of any kind. We will do all we can to identify perpetrators of this disgusting media abuse and will punish accordingly.

“Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.” William Shakespeare (Henry VIII).

Enjoy the game.



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