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Club News

Read David Wilkinson's Everton programme notes

6 May 2024

Club News

Read David Wilkinson's Everton programme notes

6 May 2024

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The following Notes from the Boardroom, written by chairman David Wilkinson, appeared in the matchday programme for Friday night's fixture with Everton...

Good evening, everyone, and a very warm welcome to Kenilworth Road for this penultimate home game of our first Premier League season.  

Many so-called experts gave us little chance of still being in with a shout of staying up by this stage of the season and reckoned that we would be lucky to not break Derby’s lowest points total.

However, not only are we still here with three games left to play, but we have made friends along the way with our style of play and the entertainment we have provided. 

Whatever happens from now on we are all extremely proud of the way everyone in the Club, on and off the field, has represented our Luton Town. The Premier League is a very different animal to where we have come from in the EFL and National League, but our staff have adapted amazingly well to the increased workload and professionalism, which has been recognised by the powers that be. 

We welcome today’s visitors from Everton, who after some excellent recent results notably against local rivals Liverpool from just across Stanley Park, are now safe from relegation. As you will be very aware, we have won twice at Goodison Park this season, so we are unforgivingly hopeful of being able to repeat the result at home tonight. 

The Toffees are in the midst of a takeover, which is clearly presenting the club with an administrative challenge as the club has appointed financial advisors in relation these matters. 

All this, along with points deductions for breaches of Profit and Sustainability Rules, has meant they have had a fraught time of it lately and have done well to overcome the adversity on-field in the way they have. 

We welcome everyone associated with the Toffees to Kenilworth Road this evening and wish them a safe journey back to Merseyside after the final whistle.  

Among those making the Friday night trip is Steve McNulty, who is one of our guests tonight. Steve was a real cult hero, with his performances in central defence just one of the many wonderful contributions that led to our return to the Football League as Conference champions ten years ago. 

We also have the pleasure of welcoming the family of former Hatters and Toffees favourite, Jimmy Husband, who we sadly lost in March. As I mentioned in my notes recently, I went to Jimmy’s funeral in Milton Keynes and met his widow and other friends and relatives. We are all delighted that, as he had such a close association with both clubs, that his daughter Jilly and members of his family will be with us tonight. 

Since I wrote notes for the last home game against Brentford, I thought I’d give you a flavour of what we’ve been up to since. 

Last week, I accompanied Roger Wash and Andy King to Ron Baynham’s funeral at Bedford Crematorium. Ron was a great servant to our club playing in our only ever FA Cup Final and being the last surviving member of that team. He also gained three England caps and, it is thought, would have had many more if it hadn’t been for the then captain of England, Billy Wright. In those days the captain was also on the selectors panel and had significant influence, so the Wolves keeper Bert Williams took over and denied Baynham from being capped anymore. 

There is a magnificent statue outside the front entrance to the ground, which celebrates a man, who with his wife Joy, were the Posh and Becks of their day with him being captain of England and her being in the late 50’s girl band the Beverley Sisters. 

That segways quite nicely to our visit to Wolves. Gary and I travelled up to the team hotel on Friday, planning a Teams update with the board about the stadium progress, Premier League topics and football matters, when Rob Edwards joined to bring us all up to date on latest thinking, strategy and injuries. It was, as always, a fascinating session. 

As many will know, Gary and I always try to find an away fans’ pub enroute to the ground so we can mingle with our fellow supporters, which we did after being refused entry, it not being evident that it was home fans only at the first. There were a number of familiar faces in what appeared to be the only one in the city to be designated to Luton supporters and it was suitably rammed. We bumped into our police on the way out, who were keeping an eye on everyone but everything was quite relaxed. 

Then on to the ground. We had to be in the car park 90 minutes before kick-off because roads around Molineux are closed.  

It was a much smaller boardroom than we have experienced of late with four tables seating maybe 30 people. Nick Owen, our former chairman and friend, was a guest of the home team, which is often the case with clubs in that area as he still presents Midlands Today for the BBC. It was also a pleasure to meet Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame who told me he’d been a Wolves fan since he was five and Bev Bevan, the drummer from the Move and ELO, who had also been a lifelong fan.  

The result wasn’t what we wanted, but it was reassuring to see our recently injured players getting some minutes and a much-improved overall performance than against Brentford. The running stats made for amazing reading. We were top in every category, and as an example we covered 7,916m of high-speed running compared to 5,831m for Wolves. 

Two days later we were then together again at the Premier League Shareholders’ meeting at the Churchill Hotel in London. As we’ve mentioned before there are 20 shareholders with two representatives of each club, all seated in alphabetical order in a big circle. The Chair and CEO are at 12 o’clock and we are around 6 o’clock, sitting between Liverpool and Manchester City. The meeting was a continuation of the discussion on a new financial model for the Premier League, to establish opinions and hopefully move towards a fair and workable solution with teeth, which can be acceptable to all. 

As we’ve said before it is a tough ask for the Executive with such a disparate range of economies, motives and backgrounds, from well-established clubs at the top with European revenue and massive worldwide fan bases, to new boys like us trying to find a way of competing in the top-flight. However, we are confident that these discussions will soon bear fruit and hope that we will be able to be a party to them in the future. 

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to Joan Bartholomew whose funeral took place at St Nicholas Church in Harpenden on Tuesday this week. Mostly referred to as Eric Morecambe’s wife, Joan received an OBE in recognition of her charitable services and was the founder and President of the Lady Taverners. In 2003 she became patron of our Supporters Trust. Her son Gary credited her with being “the engine room that made the whole machine work”. 

As we near the close season and the hope of our families having more time together, it’s worth recognising the unsung partners and supporters who help supply the love and stability at home to enable them to perform at their best. 

We salute you all.     

“Where the roots are deep there’s no need to fear the wind.”- African proverb.          

Enjoy the game. 



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