Our annual Christmas dinner takes place on the 7th December this year, and we're excited to welcome former captain Brian Horton back to Luton as guest speaker for the evening. Tickets are still available for this prestigious event, but are selling fast. Don't miss out - book yours today by calling the commercial team on 01582 411 622 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Horton was a key member of the squad that secured promotion to the old first division during the 1981-82 season, and will share his memories of this exciting period in the Town's history.
Club historian Roger Wash, reminds us of Horton's time at the Club...
After two near misses at promotion to the top flight, Luton supporters were hoping to make it third time lucky. Over the summer of 1981, they eagerly anticipated some high profile signings by manager David Pleat ready for the final push.
The supporters were left scratching their heads. Popular local lad and Welsh international Paul Price was sold to Tottenham for £250,000 and former skipper Alan West, certainly not over the hill, went to Millwall for £45,000. To top it all, the swap arrangement with Brighton, involving Republic of Ireland international Tony Grealish and veteran Brian Horton looked ill-conceived.
Supporters all wondered what Horton, who was by then 32 years old, and had over 450 League appearances under his belt following long spells at Port Vale and Brighton could bring to Kenilworth Road. As was always the case, Pleat knew more about football than most - and Brian Horton turned out to be the final piece in the jigsaw.
He slotted into the holding midfield role, where his abilities as skipper, forceful tackler and clever passer allowed Ricky Hill to push forward where he formed an almost telepathic relationship with ace scorer Brian Stein.
Quickly forgetting the near misses of the previous two seasons, the Town topped the Division Two (now Championship) table for virtually the whole campaign and finished as worthy champions, eight points ahead of second placed Watford.
The Hatters had now returned to the top table of English football and set about their opponents with a style of football that had the television cameras flocking to Kenilworth Road. Brian Horton was everywhere, shoring up the defence, showing strength and ability in midfield and encouraging the forwards into greater effort.
Losing Stein to a long term foot injury upset the balance of the team and by the final game the Town had to win at Manchester City to stay up. That they did with a late goal from Raddy Antic separating the sides and the oft replayed jig of joy across the pitch from David Pleat at the final whistle does not always show who he was making a bee-line for – his captain fantastic Brian Horton.
See you in December!