Read the chief executive's programes notes from Saturday
Good afternoon one and all to Kenilworth Road for today’s captivating encounter against the pre-season and current promotion favourites, Portsmouth. We warmly welcome Paul Cook, his players, staff, officials and – most importantly – the loyal supporters from Fratton Park. We hope you enjoy your visit and experience trouble free journeys back to the south coast.
Both our sides carried the League 2 flag admirably on Tuesday night against higher placed opposition in the Capital One Cup with both of us narrowly and disappointingly missing out on progression to the third round.
I think I speak for us all if I say that we were immensely proud of our management and players who showed the energy, desire and quality to take a tough Premier League side to sudden-death penalties. Our organised and diligent displays in both rounds of the League Cup versus the Citys of Bristol and Stoke demonstrated exactly what our new squad can do which, so far, we’ve only shown glimpses of in League 2 this campaign.
Indeed, our second half performances in our last two League matches have been nothing short of miserable. But without dwelling too much on those games, we all recognise that our application has been well below our expectations and indeed yours.
However, as the backdrop of last weekend left us disheartened, Tuesday’s event was a wonderful tonic. Having been involved in the recruitment of 12 incoming players; getting to know their characters, ambitions, strengths and weaknesses, and subsequently witnessing them being put through their paces in pre-season by John and his staff – I have no less confidence of a successful season now as I did then.
We are confident individual players will settle into their new surroundings, confident intuitive partnerships will be found, confident everyone will know their jobs and confident they will perform to the best of their ability. Even though we can witness these things happen it may take time – along with our patience – for all of the component parts to be tightly assembled together so the machine can operate like clockwork.
Patience and stability may not conjure the most exhilarating of emotions amongst supporters, and it may not sell tickets, but it’s fundamental for the Board, individually and as a group, to provide a stable foundation for the more creative and entertaining parts of our business to flourish and operate liberally.
On the subject of patience, I’d like to thank you all for being so tolerant in respect of the announcement regarding our long-awaited relocation, as alluded to in my Hartlepool programme notes towards the end of last season.
I subsequently explained in a pre-season Q&A that it may not be possible for us to release the details of the intended location of our new stadium when I had originally hoped due to circumstances beyond our control, explaining that the process that we have embarked upon is a highly complex scenario which requires meticulous planning.
As we feel the need to respect the commercial sensitivity and the position of other parties in the wider development, a specific site announcement may prove to be unbeneficial and perhaps even prohibitive at this stage. However, I can categorically reassure you that progress is encouraging, ongoing and unwavering. I can also affirm that any rescheduling of public statements will have little or no bearing on the ultimate outcome or timing of the overall scheme and, most importantly, our absolute drive to accomplish this fundamentally important task.
To validate our commitment I have the pleasure to inform you that our shareholders are in the throes of purchasing the 40-acre plot of land adjacent to the Junction 10a spur at a land cost of £10 million.
More precisely, we have held this piece of land under a registered option since 2013 and made the first sizeable payment this summer – resulting in the land now being in our control with the ownership title being be transferred next month.
Please note that whilst this site will be for the benefit of the Football Club and it is currently in the Council’s current Local Plan as the site earmarked for the future home of Luton Town Football Club and whilst, technically, it could sufficiently accommodate us, it could also serve as a valuable asset to help deliver a stadium elsewhere or nearby.
I would also like to assure you that the investment in this land will only benefit the Club, without financial encumbrance to the business and our football operations and will significantly help the Club build and own a new football stadium.
In fact, in order to ensure that we protect the Club and protect our land assets going forward – whilst allowing those assets to be utilised efficiently – we are also in the course of restructuring the business. More about this will be announced in due course.
Naturally, any strategic manoeuvre, such as buying land or restructuring the company, will always be done in consultation with Trust in Luton as a shareholder and, to a lesser extent, other supporters groups. I can also assure you that our Trust will not be isolated from any such restructure, as may have occurred in the past, and will help shape and form our approach during this next phase.
Not only does The Trust act as essential guardians of our values and ambitions it is also a supporters’ organisation any one of you can join and contribute to help shape our future, together.
Enjoy the game today safe in the knowledge that, with your patience, our Club will continue to progress on and off the pitch.
Let’s make as much noise today as we did on Tuesday and get behind the lads!