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Club News

Read the chairman's Brighton programme notes

31 January 2024

Club News

Read the chairman's Brighton programme notes

31 January 2024

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Good evening everyone and a very warm welcome to Kenilworth Road.

Tonight, we host Brighton and Hove Albion for the first time since beating them on penalties in the JPT in 2009. It was, of course, our first season as custodians, with club legend Mick Harford as manager although for reasons now known by most followers, it was to be our last year in the Football League until the inimitable John Still took us back up five years later.

Prior to that we bumped into each other quite often with quite similar results having played each other 62 times winning 22 and losing 24. The Seagulls themselves have had their problems and almost dropped out of the League in 1998, but they survived and with a new stadium a decade ago and, playing an increasingly attractive brand of football, they have risen to finish last season sixth in the Premier League.

Our first ever visit to their Amex Stadium was our first ever game in the Premier League and was a slightly chastening experience as we were well beaten 4-1. However, since then we have continued to learn and improve and there are very few if any of the top teams, who haven’t known they’ve been in a game after they’ve played us. It has been magnificent to watch the progress being made and will be particularly interesting tonight against a side we have already faced.

I must just remind you that we were fined £120,000 for discriminatory chanting at Brighton. THAT’S NOT US. We pride ourselves in our openness and lack of prejudice alongside our love for our town and its community and feel ashamed by this kind of behaviour by anyone and particularly anyone claiming to support this football club.

As I write these notes, I see that we are drawn at home against Manchester City in the fifth round of the Cup and just missed Maidstone. Well done them for showing us all that the FA Cup still holds some surprises.

On paper the only way our tie could be a more difficult is if it were away at the Etihad, but, as Brian Clough used to say, we play on grass not paper, so who knows? It will certainly be another fantastic occasion and great opportunity for our impressive squad to test themselves against the World Club Champion again.

What a great result on Saturday at Goodison Park to earn our place against City! My earliest memory of Goodison Park was a League Cup game in 1968, which we lost 5-1 against a high-flying Everton side full of top players such as Joe Royle, Howard Kendall, Alan Ball and Ray Wilson.

It’s still a great place to visit with an old school atmosphere. I hope their new stadium retains that which so many have lost over recent years. New isn’t always better. Gary and his team designing our stadium at Power Court are more than aware of that, and they are currently busily doing their utmost to amalgamate the best of old and new.

Back to the game itself, its notable how we are much more on the front foot than we were earlier in the season and more comfortable in possession. We had more of the possession (54 per cent), more shots on target and more corners on Saturday compared to 32 per cent possession, fewer shots on target, massively fewer shots off target in our league game in September, but we had more corners and scored more goals. I appreciate that it is ‘horses for courses’, but it demonstrates our progress and ability to adapt to changing situations.

On Friday Gary, Jenn Smith, our HR manager, Chris Bell, our commercial director, and I attended the Love Luton Best of Luton Awards at Luton Hoo. It was as always an inspirational evening highlighting some of the amazing achievements of Lutonians from all parts of the community.

Hatters Heritage was up for the Leisure, Culture and Heritage Award and I’m proud to tell you that they won not only this, but also the people’s choice award.

I’ve mentioned them here before, but they deserve further publicity. Roger Wash, who has been our Club Historian for donkeys years has lead the project, which was originally supported by the Lottery Heritage Fund. Along with the committee various volunteers have digitized every bit of written memorabilia of the club since its inception back in 1885.

The website now has the full history of the club preserved for posterity and deserves all the support it can get. I recommend you join up and access the website to take a look.

The most recent project has been going through one and a half million photographic plates in the Luton Museum and picking out tens of thousands, which relate to the club and uploading them to the website. All this means that all our history is now accessible and will be available for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

Roger is also leading the plans for a museum in Power Court. So much of football is about memories and shared experiences and this does so much to add to them.

Congratulations to Roger and everyone involved for the time and massive effort put in.

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein.

Enjoy the game



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