Have a read of Stephen Browne's boardroom notes from last night's Bristol City matchday programme...
Good evening to Hatters around the world as these games come thick and fast.
Tonight, the famous floodlights welcome Bristol City, Nigel Pearson, his staff, and players. We will remember Jay DaSilva from our Academy, and of course we welcome back Chris Martin. Chris has returned to Kenilworth Road a few times since his departure, and we all remember that Wembley goal way back in 2009 that helped us to lift the JPT Trophy.
Six points out of the previous nine have bought the Robins up to the mid-table positions where every point is vital, so tonight’s points will be fought over.
Due to our enforced game postponements, we will be needing everyone in the squad to be ready to play their part. As you will have heard Nathan say in his interviews, what is fantastic is that we have a squad where ‘everyone is rowing’…there are no passengers and every single person is giving 110%. Everyone is ready to give their best as soon as they are called upon.
That makes a huge difference to how the coaches, physios, and Nathan can work with the players and ensure that we maintain maximum progress whilst protecting tired legs and aching muscles.
We have already shown this season that we can give the very best a good game and that we can surprise people. There is no doubt that Kaldini’s goal will go down in ‘Legends History’, evoking recent memories of George Moncur and Keith Keane. Even half a planet away, Kaldini had me running around my living room in unbridled joy with a cool, calm, and ‘sensational’ finish…and thanks to the Simon Oxley for a great commentary that shows just how good Simon is…and yes, we could see the ‘roof coming off’ too!
We’ve now played half the season and the table is very tight. We rue some points thrown away earlier in the season, but nevertheless, we are in a great position. We are in the mix and in the points battle; we have great team spirit; we have an amazing work ethic; everyone is developing and growing fast; and we look like a very solid team now in this league. There is a confidence amongst the players and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude.
Let’s see how far we can go this season, and the possibilities are exciting and exactly why players come to Luton Town to play their game – we never have a dull moment!
2022 has also seen the return of Big Mick to the dugout, and I know we are overjoyed to see that. Every game you have sung his name and that support is worth so much.
The New Year has also seen Alan return and take his place in the coaching set up. Again, everyone is excited at his arrival and he has huge respect from everyone.
To look at our set up now proudly raises hairs on the back of the neck. Over the years we have tried to do things the right way and make friends. Now we see Paul Benson, Wayne Turner, Big Mick, Alan, even Nathan and a few others working hard, helping out, and spreading the ‘Luton Way’ amongst all the youngsters and young pro’s….people coming back to Luton Town after their playing days are over.
This type of continuity is what we have always wanted to see at Kenilworth Road. This helps to embed the culture we want that inspires young talent to be the very best the person can be. These people have all made it to the ‘big time’ and command respect amongst those young talents that want to do the same – like JJ or Andre.
Listening to these amazing minds, and the experience that people like Paul Hart have, is a wonderful opportunity for any young player. Years ago, maybe Luton Town didn’t have so much to offer players except unproven dreams…but now it’s a key part of our recruitment programme that we only want a certain type of player – players that can understand and work hard to replicate the ‘Luton way’, like all of those Legends before them.
There is a real buzz around the training ground and the Academy at the moment, and when you arrive we have the same at Kenilworth Road too. We can all see that, slowly, we are getting stronger and stronger as we continue to build our Club up to where we want it to be. The squad we have today can go on to great things, and with our help we can show players that we might be minnows on budgets, but we are Goliath’s concerning effort and heart.
We have to use our strengths and respect our weaknesses. Every day we try and improve both and be the best we can be. We never wish to go on about our lack of financial strength but for newer fans, and for those that are not so close to Club matters, it is always worth remembering that our record-ever signing is well under £2m, and at this level you cannot compete with figures that are regularly ten times that.
Our philosophy is one of sound financial management within the means we have, and for many of us ‘old hands’ this mantra is a stuck record. But both Hatters near and far (and especially fans of other clubs around the country) are not always aware of circumstances, or do not see the reasons why we sign some players and not others, so both pundits and us alike do remind people that our success over the years is built upon a very solid foundation and culture.
After all, we want others to follow our lead – just like some are now doing on betting sponsorships and the Living Wage – and just imagine where we would be if the playing field was level!
I will always caution about getting ahead of ourselves. Our rise so far has been careful and planned, but always ambitious and stretching. Sometimes it has been two steps forward and one step back. There will never be any dice being thrown hoping for an elusive double 6. There is no failure in failure if we have given our best and try to improve at every step.
But…sometimes…just sometimes, things can take you to exciting places, so whilst we must not place pressure on ourselves or have unrealistic expectations, it is wonderful to dream! And I think taking 4 points from the promotion favourites is reason to dream!
Finally, I could not write these notes without congratulating our wonderful director Rob Stringer on his recent awards. To gain recognition from such a level is rare, and special. To gain plaudits from peers is an honour. To be acknowledged by your entire industry is extraordinary. To be given a Commander of the British Empire by the Queen is sen-sa-tion-al (to steal a word…).
Many of you will know Rob and of course his love of orange. For those that do not, Rob is humble, kind, and the friendliest person you will meet. His smile hides his immense knowledge and network in the music industry, and the long list of impressive achievements he has had over many years.
His talk of all things Luton belies his deeds on a world stage. It is not just about ‘what’ Rob has done to be recognised in such a way, but ‘how’ he has done those things. A Legend of a Hatter. On behalf of Hatters from every corner of the globe, we are so proud of you Rob, thank you for all you have done to gain these awards, it’s so fully deserved, and we luv ya!
Sing loud, and let’s see where the season takes us…!