Chief executive Gary Sweet's notes from last night
A very good evening and welcome to each and every one of you to an atmospheric floodlit Kenilworth Road for our League 2 encounter versus Leyton Orient.
Please join me by giving Ian Hendon and Francesco Becchetti and their players, staff and, most importantly, supporters from East London a sample of Luton’s warm hospitality, at least until 7.45. Having been relegated into League 2, The O’s have re-grouped admirably so far this season and will be challenging opponents in what should be, a high tempo game tonight – certainly more competitive than the Johnson’s Paint Trophy tie earlier this season.
As we enter tonight’s arena it’s interesting to note that our home form and Orient’s away form is almost identical (with two wins, two draws and two losses) but with a stronger recent form and a determined desire to correct a blip in current form, our confidence should remain intact.
Falling meagrely at the hands of Crawley Town on Saturday – just as Orient did the week before – made for a miserable weekend after being delighted at 3:30 having enjoyed us take control, take a goal lead and look like we were cruising to a third successive away win. However I was as dumbfounded as anybody as we subsequently witnessed a disappointing and curious capitulation in a game which should have earnt us three points.
Speaking frankly, the second half performance was a poor reflection of our teams’ true ability. We lacked team cohesion, discipline and individual leadership as no player or players took the game by the scruff of the neck as we would expect when the opposition have their inevitable 15 minute push at the beginning of the second half.
With the individual quality in the side, and knowing how unhappy the players and our staff were with Saturday’s performance, I’m anticipating a significant step up tonight in front of a big attendance who will get behind our players from 1 to 90.
Leadership in any team is crucial to our success. I’m sure all supporters will join me in wishing Stephen McNulty the best of fortunes as he moves on to new ventures closer to his home city. As club captain, playing a part in four seasons, including helping us to the Conference title, Macca is a very special character who epitomised our team spirit.
His name will be etched into many memories, not just for his leadership in the most important season in our history, but for his sheer class as a wonderful footballer – along with those YouTube clips of his showboating and that 30-yard volley!
Stephen will be welcome back to share in our future success as an instrumental player who kick-started our rise. The board, the staff and I see him depart as good friends and we wish him and his family our immense gratitude for his services.
Now we look towards the future we have another reliable, resilient and capable leader of men in Scott Cuthbert – just as our opponents will know all too well. While Scott will be ready and eager to make his mark at Kenilworth Road, opportunity exists for other leaders to step forward and help him organise, encourage and set new standards from tonight onwards.
The transition of change with key football personnel is not something we endorse casually, especially as we enter a period at the Club where stability is of paramount importance. As one of the cornerstones of our very existence as custodians, it would not be wrong to possess faith in a stable foundation from which to grow and build – on and off the pitch.
Foundations continue to be put in place which will see the Club steadily re-establish itself in a new stadium, in a higher League, with first-class, enviable facilities.
From tomorrow for three days, Luton Town Football Club will be sharing an exhibition stand with Luton Borough Council at MIPIM UK, Olympia. MIPIM UK is the UK’s largest trade exhibition and conference for a diverse array of property professionals at which we shall not only be promoting our future contribution to our town’s ambitions but, together, we shall be proud ambassadors and advocates of Luton.
Focussing solely, at this stage, on a professionally architected scheme at the newly-acquired site at Junction 10 of the M1 motorway, we’ll be seeking to attract interest in a mixed use development that will facilitate the Club’s relocation in the not too distant future.
Not only do we have a wonderful opportunity to unlock our future over the next few days but we also have a welcome duty to be influential in changing the perception of our town with such an iconic Gateway site; a role we’re more than happy to accept.
Starting with the launch of over 500,000 square foot of offices (which will bring some 2,000 jobs to the site) our aims for the Gateway to Luton at Junction 10 will be bold, aspirational and innovative – but also realistic and deliverable.
I genuinely believe we have entered a new era for Luton and Luton Town – being ambitiously and encouragingly led by a Council who have every right to be described as progressive. For the next three days we’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Council supporting each other and promoting our shared future.
Truly exciting times!
Let’s make tonight an exciting encounter – please get behind the team and encourage them to three points and a continued climb up the table!