The Vice-Chairman on all things Luton Town
These From The Boardroom programme notes were written by vice-chairman David Wilkinson ahead of Saturday's game against Accrington Stanley.
Good afternoon everyone and a warm welcome to Kenilworth Road.
Our visitors today are Accrington Stanley, and we welcome the officials, players and supporters from Accy. They were unfortunate not to gain promotion last season after finishing fourth in the division, but losing out to AFC Wimbledon in the play-offs. We know how they must have felt as we suffered a similar fate a few years ago. Subsequently they lost a couple of their better players, however, they are up there again only a couple of points off the play-off places and so we look forward to another exciting and competitive game.
Today we remember all those who have given their lives for us in conflicts around the world. I’m writing this on Thursday morning before joining others and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to take part in an Act of Remembrance at Luton General Cemetery on Rothesay Road. The cemetery contains 102 war graves from Luton victims of World War 1 and World War 2 and it provided an opportunity for all those present to honour those from our community who lost their lives. Seven Luton players, Ernest Dodd, Frank Gilder, Arthur Wileman, Charles Clark, Charles Ladd, James Gillespie and Joe Coen were killed in action during the two World Wars.
We will, of course, also be marking Remembrance Day before today’s game and could I say, on a personal note, how pleased I am that common sense has prevailed and the England and Scotland teams have decided to ignore the restrictions placed upon them in this regard.
“Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken” – Terry Pratchett
We are entering a busy and exciting time of year with many different competitions attracting our attention.
We are back to League Two action today and how tight it is, with a third of the season gone and only eight points between us in fourth place and Cambridge in 22nd.
We were in the hat for the FA Cup second round draw after an unusually spicy victory at Exeter made more so by some incredible decisions, with none so extraordinary as Pelly’s second yellow and subsequent red for allowing himself to be elbowed in the back of the neck and knocked to the ground.
We await with interest the outcome of the Yeovil/Solihull Moors replay. Will we be welcoming back Alex Lacey and Alex Lawless? Or a team new to most of us, who I understand are made up of a number of the Nuneaton Town and Kidderminster Harriers sides that did so well when we were in the Conference?
On Tuesday, we played Millwall in the last of the group stage games in the Checkatrade Trophy. We were both already through to the knock-out stage and despite a 3-1 defeat we saw an enjoyable performance and another opportunity for some of our talented youngsters to experience competitive first team football.
Our U18s were back in action in the FA Youth Cup against Barnet and came away with a 3-1 win after another encouraging performance. We have been drawn at home to Dagenham in the next round – a game which will be played next Thursday and for those who get the chance, I encourage you to come along and support. The football is well worth watching and you get a glimpse of some of our stars of the future out on the Kenilworth Road pitch. Admission prices are £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, with kick-off earlier than usual at 7pm, so get down if you are able.
Off the field, the new training ground at the Brache is progressing well. The grass is growing and all the facilities are being improved and updated as we speak. The environment it will provide is a significant improvement to Ely Way and our coaching team will have the quality of set-up to match their skills and our ambition.
Finally, as we remember those who gave their lives in terrible wars over the last hundred years, we can celebrate that so many lives have been saved by the Movember prostate cancer awareness campaigns. Men who were too ignorant, embarrassed or scared of their bodies are now comfortable in talking about the disease and seeking help. Football clubs across the leagues have played a huge part in encouraging men to be more aware of their bodies by wearing the Men United badge and helping to raise vast sums of money by charity walks and other events for this wonderful cause.
Another even coming up next year is the Football to Amsterdam cycle ride, details of which you’ll find on page 36 of today’s programme. As we have for several seasons, including renaming our ground the
Prostate Cancer UK Stadium for a game against Wycombe a couple of years ago, we will continue to support the EFL’s partner charity and wholeheartedly encourage our wonderful supporters to join in, too.
Enjoy the game
Come On You Hatters