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Club News

Gary Sweet's Bournemouth programme notes

8 April 2024

Club News

Gary Sweet's Bournemouth programme notes

8 April 2024

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Read Gary's notes that appeared in Saturday's programme for the visit for Bournemouth.


Welcome back to you all for what is a hugely important Premier League fixture against our friends with Bournemouth.

I’d also like to welcome everyone associated with the Cherries to Kenilworth Road. We have always enjoyed a warm relationship. Perhaps originating from us both receiving a ‘harsher than modern times’ points deduction back in 2008 but certainly more so as a result of Tom Lockyer’s incident in December. This was clearly evident a month ago when we were afforded a wonderful reception at the Vitality Stadium.

Supporter relations have also strengthened, and I must thank all of those Bournemouth supporters who gave Tom a rapturous round of applause before that fixture.

Furthermore, Cherries supporters’ groups also helped raised funds for the British Heart Foundation, while our own supporters’ fund-raising efforts saw enough raised to pay for two life-saving defibrillators, which have been installed at either end of the ground. One positioned outside the Kenilworth Road stand and the other outside the ticket office in Oak Road. Both of which can be accessed by those living in the local area – and we know already that they have been of use.

The strength and unity both sets of supporters have shown is tremendous, and it is a reminder that for misgivings we may have about the state of our beautiful game, that plenty of goodwill exists – something not always shown by rival football fans!

Also, as invited special guests in the directors’ box today are the five medics who helped save Tom’s life at the Vitality Stadium. Adam Todhunter, Dean Fernee, Abbey Clark, Phil Ballett and Mufeed Niman. Thank you again, on behalf of everyone connected with Luton Town, for your immense support of our own medical staff on the day.


I would also like to welcome and thank the Cherries midfielder Philip Billing, for his role in alerting the medical staff as the incident happened. Applauding opposition players here at Kenilworth Road is rare, but I’m sure that if Philip is involved in some way today, you will give him your appreciation.

The amiable relationship between us is left behind, however, other than for a mutual respect, when our players cross the white line. The less said about our last encounter the better, other than the fact that we learn well from our mistakes. But what we would give to re-live the kind of game we experienced the last time we hosted Bournemouth here. Like many special Luton Town moments, we celebrated a 3-2 victory courtesy of a late winner from Kal Naismith. It was a hugely memorable performance and result and the atmosphere electric. It goes without saying that we’d love the same this afternoon.

Since taking the last international break, we have paid two consecutive visits to north London, visiting both the Tottenham Hotspur and the Emirates stadia, five days apart – two of the UK’s most iconic football arenas in matches where we were written off before a ball was kicked.


I’m sure our travelling support would agree that these have been interesting experiences, not least behind-the-scenes, with the vast corridors and state-of-the-art facilities leaving us with the impatient feeling of watching Luton Town play at Power Court.

But in particular, our detailed attention is now being absorbed heavily into how we transfer the atmosphere from this old girl without losing its beloved atmosphere, intimate intimidation and its quirky but beautiful idiosyncrasies.

As we excitedly gain pace in this project now, have the faith that, whilst modern-day compliance will pose challenges as to how we may accomplish this – along with the fact that we too want state-of-the-artism – we are very confident such uniqueness will be embedded within its core design that will maintain a vibrancy, even if a few have to bail out early to catch a train home.

Our new home will absolutely have supporters at the heart of its designed creation.

As Rob has alluded to many times before, please do not underestimate the power that your voice has in the stands. The noise generated inside our lovable home can intimidate the very best teams, so please get behind the players and staff this afternoon.

Whenever we have faced adversity, we have always risen to the challenge and, as we enter the business end of what has been an exhilarating season in the top-flight, we need everyone to pull positively in the same direction.

Good vibes only please!

Our relegation battles and famous last-day acts of escapology are part of our rich history. Man City, Derby – twice, and Blackburn spring to mind. It is clear to see more than ever that this group never give up and this will be the case right until the very, very end.

The united colossal efforts our tight-knit squad and team of coaching staff are giving is there for all to witness and, at one of the most challenging moments in our club’s on-field recent history, I know this will continue to the bitter end. The endeavour and spirit in the past two performances considering an injury list that is deep into double figures, gives us all great pride, as was unmistakably apparent at the end of Wednesday night’s game where a genuine mutual respect and appreciation between squad and staff and supporters was emotionally observed from our seats on the other side of the stadium.

Another sense of pride is seeing several of our academy graduates gracing the substitutes’ bench in the Premier League, further cementing the good work our academy is doing in nurturing through the next generation of Hatters. In particular, I’d like to congratulate 16-year-old Christian Chigozie for swapping his school blazer for a substitute’s shirt for Wednesday’s game at Arsenal. Such experience is huge for any young player but also gives those aspiring talents in our academy an indication that there is a pathway to the first team squad.

So, having seen little luck but plenty of encouragement from recent performances, we go into today’s game knowing just how important three points could be in ensuring we are a Premier League club next season.

Finally, we will pause before today’s game for a minute’s silence to honour four former Hatters who have sadly passed in the past month: Ron Baynham, Jimmy Husband, Mick Collins and Billy Kellock.

MAIN PHOTO P623 Ron Baynham is helpless as Vic Groves scores Arsenal`s first goal_0.jpg

All four played significant parts in our history. Some of those were larger than others, such as England international Ron and his magical exploits in goal, which included helping us reach the FA Cup final in 1959. Jimmy, meanwhile, was a skilful, silky, goal-scoring forward who made a lasting impression on me as I started my journey as a very young Hatter in the 70s.

Every player who passes through Kenilworth Road is special to us. Some stay for longer than others. Some impress more than others. But what connects them all is that they chose to come and play for OUR club and, as our 20 named lads will do today, they will all leave us with memories our future generations will never forget.

So, let’s show the respect to Ron, Jimmy, Mick and Billy before the game and then get behind the class of 2024 once that whistle goes. Go and give them reason to remember playing for us.

Enjoy the game!

Sing up!

Come on Luton!


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