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FROM THE BOARDROOM: DAVID WILKINSON

2 February 2017

The From the Boardroom notes from Tuesday night

These programme notes were written by vice chairman, David Wilkinson, for the Cheltenham Town edition of Talk of the Town.

Our visitors tonight are Cheltenham Town, and we welcome the officials, players and supporters from the Robins. 

Promoted last year they are having a difficult season, standing just above the relegation places, however, they are a strong team and we look forward to another competitive clash this evening. I am writing this after a couple of tremendous performances. 

What felt like a pitched battle to gain a draw (deserved better!) at Wycombe, and an impressive team performance to gain a very satisfying and deserved double over Cambridge on Saturday in front of almost 9,000 people. It’s so thrilling to have a good game in front of a big home crowd, and let’s hope the incredible rainbow we all saw during the game on Saturday is a good omen for the rest of the season. 

Unfortunately, we are not allowed to say what we really think about the officiating at games or the actions of the opposition, but even though we have seen thousands of games and I believe all our opinions are valid and constructive, we are obliged to keep them to ourselves.

As a result of his reaction after the Wycombe match, Nathan was punished with a touchline ban and was forced to sit with us in the directors’ box, which seemed to add to the entertainment of those nearby, although I’m not sure Nathan felt the same way. It was quite amusing to watch everyone watch Nathan NOT watch the penalty being taken. As I write we are still in the transfer window, which creates a lot of work, takes up a lot of time and causes considerable aggravation and I suspect Gary, Nathan and the rest of the management team will be delighted it ends at midnight tonight. 

As I’m writing this on Sunday night, who knows what might have happened by the time you read this. We are, however, delighted to welcome new recruits Lawson D’Ath and Luke Gambin to our club and wish them a happy and successful time here. The best of luck too to those who have moved on temporarily or permanently. We hope that you will have fond memories of your time here and rest assured, you will be welcome here in whatever capacity your career takes you in the future.

We now know the make-up of the last few rounds of the much reviled Checkatrade Trophy, with home games against Yeovil in the quarter-final and, if we win, Oxford or Bradford in the semi-final. Should we get past that stage we would meet Coventry or Wycombe in the final at Wembley. 

As you are aware we were against this competition from the beginning, but every cloud has a silver lining and we have been able to give our talented youngsters a chance to compete at a decent level and are in the black, despite having to pay fines for breaking the rules by not playing enough senior pros. Having got this far, of course, we would love to see it through to the end and have another day out at Wembley. Who can forget the last time in the competition’s former incarnation, the JPT, when we took 42,000 to Wembley and beat Scunthorpe in a fantastic game of football. Made even more special as it was our first positive experience as new owners and our hero Mick Harford was manager. 

It felt somewhat like Luton Town against the world, and that day we won.

Whilst on the subject on behalf of the Board can I take this opportunity to thank the Loyal Luton Supporters’ Club and the 250 individuals who gave so generously in raising £5,000 to offset against the £15,000 fine issued to the Club by the EFL for “fielding under-strength teams”. Gary will update our progress on the Planning front in future programmes, but suffice it to say that work is actively progressing, meetings being held and data exchanged on regular basis. 

It is a very major project, not without its difficulties, but the Board are comfortable that Gary and his team are doing all they can to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. You will have read in Saturday’s programme that Nathan is going to great lengths (or should that be heights?) to help the club charity of the year, Level Trust, raise funds to reopen their Uniform Exchange in the town. In April Nathan is undertaking a skydive with supporter Mark Warne, who won the bidding in an auction at the club’s Christmas party. A JustGiving page has been set up for people to be able to donate – www. justgiving.com/fundraising/LTFC

It’s a tremendous gesture by someone who struggles with heights so please support our manager and the brilliant charity, which does such sterling work to ensure that the 14,000 children living below the poverty line, in Luton, do not have their education affected by a lack of clothing and equipment. 

Our next home game in League Two against Crawley on 11th February is also the fixture for which our main sponsor SsangYong have donated the front of shirt space to the charity, so we hope that these generous gestures not only help raise much needed funds, but also generate extra publicity for Jane Malcolm and her Level Trust team. “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you” – Bedfordshire’s own John Bunyan. 

Enjoy the game. 

Come On You Hatters!


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