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READ NICK OWEN'S BOARDROOM PROGRAMME NOTES

8 March 2015

The Chairman's notes as they appeared in the Morecambe programme

Good afternoon and welcome to Kenilworth Road for this afternoon’s Sky Bet League 2 match against Morecambe. An especially warm welcome to our visitors from the north west because of our well documented link via – in my opinion – the greatest comedian of all time, Eric Morecambe.

That said, I think it is fair to say we owe them one after the way they demolished us 3-0 at their place back in December. My only treasured memory from that day was seeing Eric’s statue on the sea front and having my photo taken with it!

It’s interesting to ponder that we never got started that day. We went in two down at half-time and with only 10 men after Steve McNulty was sent off.

That seems to be a theme, albeit a while ago, that’s developing into a habit as we enter the run in to the end of the season. Think particularly of York at home, Mansfield and Wimbledon away, Accrington at home and finally Bury on Tuesday. In all those games we’ve really struggled to get going and been on the back foot from the first minute. A bit of a mystery considering what a talented squad we have.

Luckily, against York we were able to force a draw after being two down and a week ago today score against the run of play against Accrington and go on to win the game. 

Of course, John is more aware of it than anyone and looking to have it sorted out as soon as possible. I am sure we will see a significant reaction come three o’clock today.

It is worth pointing out, by the way, that the player considered man of the match from the Bury end on Tuesday was their goalkeeper Nick Pope. He made three outstanding saves to deny us.

But bearing in mind we had five gruelling seasons in the Conference, I think we have to be very happy with lying in fourth in League 2 right now, despite the recent blip. Wouldn’t that have seemed a pretty decent prospect this time a year ago?

Our level of support continues to be astounding and the envy of most clubs in this division plus a good few in the division above. More than 300 of our brilliant fans making the long trek to Bury on a cold and damp Tuesday night is remarkable.

Meanwhile, our away following on Saturdays is going through the roof, particularly the tickets sold for our trip to Portsmouth a week today. Approaching 2,700 should raise the aforementioned roof at Fratton Park too – thank goodness they’ve got one at the away end these days!

I know we constantly bang on about the level of support, but it means such a lot to everyone involved with the club on and off the field and there’s something very special, isn’t there, about being part of a huge following away from home. And then, on top of that, the lift the players get from a rocking Kenilworth Road is incalculable. So, once again, thanks.
 
I was just thinking back this week to 10 years ago when we were striding towards winning League 1, under the management of Mike Newell, Mick Harford and Brian Stein, with the likes of Steve Howard, Rowan Vine, Sol Davis, Kevin Nicholls and a very young Curtis Davies in the side.

In our first game in March, with the title in sight, we played Bristol City at home and beat them 5-0. Our crowd that day was 8,330 and, for the next home game a week later against Swindon, slightly lower at 8,173.

When you think of the attendances we are getting now, after all the club and supporters have been through, you can only wonder at the dogged loyalty of the fans, passed down through the generations (four in my case) and the pulling power of Luton Town Football Club.

We have had three gates of 10,000 this season already and four over 9,000. We had four crowds of 9,000 or more in the whole of that season and that was our peak. Says a lot, doesn’t it?

Before I go, I’d like to mention something that will be revealed officially in a couple of weeks’ time. Pause for intake of breath – we will be making an announcement with regards to the re-naming of Kenilworth Road. It’s part of an initiative that could benefit not just the club and its supporters, but also the wider community as well. Intrigued? Watch this space!

And so back to this afternoon and our mission to win promotion. The players are totally committed, we are totally committed behind the scenes and I know you are too. It just needs a little turn of fortune our way, perhaps a genuine penalty shout that’s given for a change and off we go. 

Enjoy the game, bye for now, Nick.

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