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From The Boardroom | Read chairman David Wilkinson's notes from Saturday's programme

Don't forget to order your printed copy of Our Town from Hatters World for £5...

8 February 2021

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These notes from chairman David Wilkinson first appeared in Saturday's edition of Our Town for the match against Huddersfield. You can purchase a copy for £5 via the link at the foot of this page...

Good afternoon everyone and a warm welcome to the players and officials from Huddersfield Town.

These are my first notes of 2021, my last being Preston North End in early December, when we had 2,000 supporters in the ground. Sadly, this year has begun with more of the same sad uncertainty about when we can bring back you, the life-blood of the game.

It is impossible to express to you how our FA Cup draw at Chelsea was a hollow experience for the few of us who were there without the sight and sound of devoted Hatters. I hope you had the opportunity to watch live as it was unusually free to air.

It had its strange moments, with the distance to the away dressing room causing a delay to kick-off and the injustice of the two balls in play resulting in the first goal, but like us I hope you were impressed by a creditable performance against a top Premier League Club, not to mention Simon’s penalty save.

This month marks a year since the last full house here at home, when we played Stoke City on 29th February. How could anyone of us envisage how unrecognisable our lives would become? So many of you have lost loved ones, jobs or education, and have been left emotionally drained. But the resolute spirit of Luton Town fans has seen you help and support each other, by Zoom calls, food distribution and other inspirational ways.

Thank you to all those who have given their help, and for those who need it, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are united in our hearts as fans, and let’s hope that we will be reunited in the stands in the not-too distant future.

You will also have noticed, hopefully, on the website, social media and elsewhere throughout this programme that today’s match is dedicated to the EFL’s partner charity, Mind. Please contact the local office, Mind BLMK, or use their Crisis Café in the town, if you feel you need their help. And I know a few who have already bought raffle tickets to try to win the signed home shirt, so please support this replacement for a physical fundraising collection if you feel able.

We all have different views as to the handling of the pandemic, but for me it is intensely disappointing that there has been no analysis of the result of the limited crowds experiment. To our knowledge, in the two games we hosted no cases were reported as a result.

It has been said before, by us and others, that we are shocked and disappointed by the Council’s decision to refuse to grant us a lease on their land by The Brache for us to build a Dome for use by our academy and local schools. In order for the Club to progress, we believe it is vital for our academy to be in the Premier League games programme, which is only open to Clubs in EPPP categories 1 & 2. This and better protection for our youth players is vital for us if we want to progress as a locally-owned and community-based football club not relying on overseas owners to generate investment.

We notice that Peterborough United have just been granted permission for a Dome on Council land so that they can move up to Category 2. As a local team this will give them a competitive advantage over us in attracting and improving young players, like we have with young Ed McJannet, who we were delighted to have become the youngest to sign a professional contract with the club since 2020 took custodianship, as he did on his 17th birthday last week. Congratulations, Ed!

It is our ambition to reach the Premier League. Everyone can see the massive improvement we have made to The Brache since taking over, but there is no room for expansion, so we hope that we can work with the Council to find a way of enabling us to satisfy the requirements of the Premier League at the same time as improving and maintaining facilities for use by local schools and the community.

The window has now closed. They always seem to throw up a surprise or two and have those involved working right up against the deadline and this was no exception. We welcome Kal Naismith, Tom Ince and Elijah Adebayo (pictured above) and hope they all enjoy their time at the Club.

It is important that players get competitive football at the highest level possible in order to either keep them sharp or continue their development, and to that end we wish all those who have gone out on loan an enjoyable and successful end to the season, with Elliott Lee at Oxford United, Peter Kioso at Northampton Town, Gabe Osho with Rochdale, Harry Isted rejoining Wealdstone and Josh Neufville and Andrew Shinnie continuing their spells with Yeovil Town and Charlton Athletic respectively.

Keep safe and well. 

Enjoy the game.

COME ON You Hatters

David.

TO PURCHASE A PRINTED VERSION OF SATURDAY'S MATCHDAY PROGRAMME FOR £5, CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW...

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