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13 July 2012

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Town pay tribute to recently passed duo

Joe McBride 1938-2012
Graham Horn 1954-2012


It is with sadness that the club report the deaths of former players Joe McBride and Graham Horn.


Joe was born in Govan, Glasgow in June 1938 and made his name at Kilmarnock which eventually encouraged Wolves, then one of the top teams in the land, to sign him in December 1959, but surprisingly, his style did not fit at Molineux and he was allowed to move to Kenilworth Road two months later.  

It was reported at the time that Joe was signed behind manager Syd Owen’s back but the archetypal number 9 managed six goals in 13 Division One (now Premier League) games as the struggling Hatters were eventually relegated at the season’s end.


Good in the air, strong and brave with an eye for a half-chance, Joe remained ever present in 1960/61 until new manager Sam Bartram sold winger Billy Bingham to Everton in exchange for cash plus Alec Ashworth and John Bramwell.  With Ashworth brought straight into the side to the exclusion of McBride it was not long before he put in a transfer request citing the fact that his wife was homesick.


Bartram then engineered an exchange deal with Partick Thistle which brought winger Jim Fleming to Kenilworth Road in November 1960 and the merry-go-round was complete.


A prolific goalscorer at both Partick and later Motherwell, Joe then became Jock Stein’s first signing as manager of Celtic in 1965 and then proceeded to bang in 86 goals in 94 starts for the Parkhead club as he won two League championship and two League Cup winners medals.  He missed out on becoming one of the ‘Lisbon Lions’ who beat Inter Milan in the 1967 European Cup Final because of a bad knee injury.


By the time of his return from his long lay-off from injury, Joe had difficulty in forcing his way back into the Celtic side and was eventually transferred to Hibs in November 1968 where he maintained his goalscoring touch with 58 goals in 91 games.


After spells with Dunfermline and Clyde, Joe hung up his boots in 1972.

Revered at Celtic, Joe became a matchday host at Parkhead in his later years.




Graham was a giant goalkeeper who helped the Hatters to promotion to the old Division One in 1974.

Born in Westminster, he joined Arsenal from school and after signing professional forms at Highbury was loaned out to Portsmouth in June 1972 where he soon became a crowd favourite at the tender age of 18.

Needing goalkeeping cover for Keith Barber, Luton manager Harry Haslam came in with a direct bid for Graham in February 1973, which Pompey could not match, and so it was off to Kenilworth Road and a League debut for the Hatters later that month in a 3-2 defeat at Millwall. 


After a disastrous opening day 4-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest in 1973/74, Keith Barber lost his place to Graham who went on to make 37 appearances as the Town clinched promotion to Division One (now the Premier League).


A huge and agile presence in the Luton goal, Graham started off the Division One campaign but then tended to share the goalkeeping duties with Keith Barber, who eventually made the position his own, in this ultimately unsuccessful campaign.


Back in Division Two, Graham kicked his heels in the reserves before going on loan to Brentford and then enjoying a successful spell with Los Angeles Aztecs in the growing NASL.


Graham subsequently turned out for Charlton, Kettering, Southend, Aldershot and Torquay before hanging up his gloves at Barnstaple in 1984 and settling in the West Country.


Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of both players who were held in such high regards by everyone associated with the club.

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