Tomorrow afternoon we will show the 1985 win over Manchester United on iFollow Hatters from 3pm. Here club historian Roger Wash sets the scene ahead of the huge game in David Pleat's side's fight against First Division relegation...
The Town’s top-flight season of 1984/85 took a turn for the better just before Christmas when new chairman David Evans loosened the purse strings and in quick succession several important signings were made to strengthen a side that looked odds-on for relegation.
Steve Foster, from Aston Villa, was the first to arrive, although he could not prevent the Town losing 1-3 at Arsenal on December 1st but the following week the first win in two months was recorded when Aston Villa were seen off 1-0 at Kenilworth Road. New signing David Preece scored the all-important goal on his Luton debut after joining the club from Walsall.
Another new face greeted the supporters by the time the next game came around, with Mick Harford being coaxed from Birmingham and matching Preece in scoring on his debut in a 2-2 draw at Leicester.
Despite all this, the Town were still in a perilous position after suffering half a season of poor results and with away defeats at Liverpool and Everton over the New Year threatening to undo the recent good work a fourth new player was added to the squad in the shape of Peter Nicholas from Crystal Palace.
Perversely, a long run in the F.A.Cup, which eventually ended in semi-final defeat against Everton at Villa Park, hindered progress in the League and by the end of March the Town were still in a relegation position.
Two home victories in successive weeks against QPR and fellow strugglers Ipswich offered some breathing space but a solitary goal defeat at Southampton opened up the gap yet again.
By the time of the visit of Manchester United on April 21st ,the Town had lifted themselves just above the relegation positions, though, following a 4-0 win at basement club Stoke and a 3-1 home victory over Norwich immediately after the FA Cup semi-final (*although wins for West Ham and Ipswich the day before the live TV match had nudged the Hatters back into the bottom three).
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