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Club News

Rest in Peace Ron Baynham

18 March 2024

Club News

Rest in Peace Ron Baynham

18 March 2024

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Ron Baynham - 10th June 1929 – 18th March 2024

The sad news has reached Kenilworth Road of the passing of Luton Town legend Ron Baynham at the age of 94.

Apart from appearing in goal 434 times for the Hatters, Ron was England’s oldest surviving international at the time of his death.

For most Luton supporters of a certain age, memories of Kenilworth Road in the 1950s conjure up the likes of Stanley Matthews, Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney bearing down on the Luton goal where a tall, strong and athletic goalkeeper was there to see off their efforts.

Ron Baynham was the goalkeeper whose name was on everyone’s lips as he formed the last line of defence behind an accomplished side that more than held its own in the top-flight of English football.

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Yet Birmingham-born Baynham may not have enjoyed his long career between the sticks if he had followed his first instincts which were to play cricket. Although cricket mad he relented when his brother organised a local football side although he was dumped in goal which was thought of as the best place for someone who had never played.

Baynham stayed in goal and while in the army on National Service was spotted by a Wolves scout who offered him a trial at Molineux – which he turned down as he did not think he was good enough for that level of football. Instead, on leaving the army, he joined Worcester City in the Southern League.

Two years later he was offered another trial, this time at Kenilworth Road, and was now more confident in his abilities and was ready for the step-up and signed on in November 1951 in exchange for £1,000.

Up until the previous summer the Hatters had the luxury of two international goalkeepers on their books in Bernard Streten, who had earned a solitary England cap in 1949, and Iorwerth Hughes who won four Welsh caps in 1950/51. As a Division Two side at the time, the Town could not hope to keep both happy so reluctantly allowed Hughes to move on.  Baynham was therefore seen as Streten’s understudy.

MAIN PHOTO. P623 Ron Baynham dives across goal.jpg

Ron was content to continue to learn his trade but within a year was contesting the number one spot with Streten, although it was not until 1957 that the pupil made the position his own.

The Hatters won promotion to the old Division One in 1955 and during the following autumn Baynham was capped for his country as England thrashed Denmark 5-1 in Copenhagen. Two more caps swiftly followed as England beat Northern Ireland 3-0 and Spain 4-1 at Wembley before he was strangely overlooked in favour of Reg Matthews of Third Division Coventry.

Asked in later life whether he considered winning an England cap or appearing for the Hatters in the 1959 FA Cup final was his biggest achievement Ron replied: “ Both were tremendous highlights but I rated Wembley for the Cup Final, even though it brought me the biggest disappointment of my career when we lost to Nottingham Forest.  Sadly, the team that day did not play like the team I knew.”

The cup final was the pinnacle of the playing careers of Ron and a great number of the 1959 squad, as they had all grown old together, and within 12 months they were part of the gradual decline of the club as it drifted down to Division Four.

P623 Ron Baynham catches the ball under pressure from David Herd.jpg

Ron stayed on but should have quit in September 1960 when he fractured his skull during a home game against Sheffield United. He came back five months later but by this time the Town had signed Jim Standen and he had to share the goalkeeping duties with the ex-Arsenal man. He even resorted to playing one game at centre-forward which was not a great success.

As the Town slipped further down the divisions, Standen was transferred to West Ham leaving the way open to Baynham once more and in 1965 he pulled on a goalkeeper’s jersey for the last time after being forced to play in a reserve game whilst injured. A piece of Ron’s pelvic structure had been pulled away by torn muscles and tendons and he was lucky not be left crippled. Needless to say he was not happy.

Ron worked as a painter and decorator as well as at Luton Airport for some years before retiring to live in Silsoe.

He was a welcome guest of the Hatters in 1999 for the FA Cup final 40th anniversary celebrations and proved the life and soul of the party. He had been back several times since where his appearances on the pitch at half-time were met with rapturous applause despite him saying that no-one would remember him.

Ron kindly agreed to a video interview with Hatters’ Heritage a couple of years ago which can be viewed on

Our condolences go out to his partner Dee and all his family and friends.

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

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